Famed Jazz Composer to Premiere 2 Pieces for Oswego Concert

OSWEGO — Composer, pianist and professor Robert Washut will bring his acclaimed brand of big band and Latin jazz — and instrumentalists Jose Encarnacion and Freddy Colon — to SUNY Oswego for an April 7 concert including world premieres of two pieces personalized for his audience.

Washut, who founded Orquesta Alto Maiz in 1986 and has recorded 11 CDs, will direct “Oswego Swagger” and “Nieve de Lago” at the show titled “Big Bands and Latin Nights,” which begins with a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. in Sheldon Hall ballroom.

SUNY Oswego assistant professor Eric Schmitz, host of the Ke-Nekt series concert, noted “Nieve de Lago” “means ‘snow of the lake’ or, essentially, ‘lake-effect snow.’ He’s a clever guy.”

Washut and guests’ appearance with the Oswego State Jazz and Latin Jazz ensembles marks a series of reunions for Schmitz, one of the composer/arranger’s former undergraduate students.

“There is a personal connection with all of these guys,” said Schmitz, who also will play a variety of percussion instruments at the concert.

Schmitz studied under Washut, a music professor at the University of Northern Iowa, earned his master’s degree while attending Eastman School of Music with Encarnacion and met Colon last year while studying Latin jazz percussion with him.

“Washut was my primary mentor at Northern Iowa,” Schmitz said. “This is sort of an important concert for me to bring him in.”

Schmitz called Encarnacion “one of the best-known saxophonists in Latin jazz.” He has performed with Natalie Cole, the Temptations and Lou Rawls, and with salsa, jazz and Latin music artists such as Gilberto Santarosa, Bobby Valentin and Tito Puente.

Colon, percussionist with Rochester’s regionally known the Mambo Kings, has played extensively with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and others in Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore and San Antonio. He has appeared with Aretha Franklin, Tito Rojas, Ray Sepulveda and many others.

Schmitz, recipient of Downbeat awards for a studio orchestra jazz arrangement in 2003 and an original song for big band in 2004, currently pursues an interest in the music of Cuba, Brazil and New Orleans.

Washut’s appearance includes a College Hour discussion at 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in Room 41 of SUNY Oswego’s Tyler Hall.

Visit tickets.oswego.edu or call Tyler box office at 312-2141 to purchase tickets for the concert, at $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and children and $5 for SUNY Oswego students.