Faculty concert is all jazzed up

March 23, 2013 3:23:40 PM



Jazz compositions by Mississippi University for Women professor Richard Montalto will be the centerpiece of a Tuesday concert at the university. 


The free 7:30 p.m. event in the Connie Sills Kossen Auditorium of Poindexter Hall is titled "It's Not What You Think: Jazz Compositions of Richard Montalto." 


Montalto, who will play bass, will be joined by tenor saxophonist Doug Thomas, trombonist Clifton Taylor, keyboardist David Reese and drummer Robert Damm.  


Montalto, who has performed with jazz groups across the United States, South America and Europe, said the concert will represent "the first jazz works I have written in more than 20 years." 


A native of New Orleans, he holds degrees in composition from the University of New Orleans, Tulane University and the University of North Texas. He joined the MUW faculty in 1988 and currently serves as principal bass for the Starkville/MSU Symphony. 


As a composer, he has earned many awards, including an ASCAP Grants to Young Composers Award for his "Symphony for Wind Ensemble," yearly ASCAP awards since 1982 and a Mississippi Artist Fellowship for his "Symphony #2." 


His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Montreaux International Jazz Festival, Symphony Space in New York, the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center and others.  


Thomas, a former member of the Marine Band at Pearl Harbor, has toured with the popular groove band Vinyl before moving back to Mississippi in 2006. He is assistant band director at Starkville High School. 


Taylor is associate director of bands at Mississippi State, where he co-directs the Famous Maroon Band and conducts the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensembles.  


Reese, a music graduate of Millsaps College, has played keyboards professionally for 38 years. 


Damm, who has taught at Mississippi State since 1995, has presented hundreds of workshops for area children on topics such as African heritage, American Indian music, African drumming and storytelling and Caribbean music.