Date:   5/27/2016

Blues, classical, jazz and world music with Corky Siegel and Ernie Watts

Blues legend Corky Siegel and his stellar Chamber Blues, jazz saxophonist Ernie Watts, and jazz violinist Randy Sabien – all rockin’ out on stage at the same time? That’s right! All together for a two- night combo package of blues, classical, jazz and world music on Friday and Saturday, May 27 & 28 at the historic Thrasher Opera House in beautiful downtown Green Lake.

Few can claim to have forged an entirely original genre of music. in 1966, Corky Siegel (of the legendary Siegel-Schwall Blues Band of the 60s) did just that with the help of world renown Classical Maestro Seiji Ozawa who came into a famed Chicago Blues club discovered the blues harmonica virtuoso and suggested a collaboration. Guiding the blues of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters out of the smoky cavern of Big John’s and onto the stages of the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic and beyond, the harmonica-playing mad scientist had the tuxedo-and-gown crowd on its feet, clamoring for more of this blues-classical alchemy. These days, the harmonica virtuoso and composer is continent-hopping with Indian percussion and string quartet in Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, continuing to bring classical and blues fans shoulder-to-shoulder, and obliterating musical categorization in the process.

Two-time Grammy Award winner Ernie Watts is one of the most versatile and prolific saxophone players in music. Watts has been featured on over 500 recordings by artists ranging from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa, always exhibiting his unforgettable trademark sound. Over Watts’ illustrious career, he has worked with: Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan, and Aretha Franklin. He was also a member of the band for the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for 20 years, until Carson's retirement in 1991.

Tours in the late 80’s with Pat Metheny lead to inaugurating legendary Jazz double bassist Charlie Haden's critically-acclaimed Quartet West where Watts was a charter member, touring and recording with it for twenty-five years until Haden's death in 2014. Watts' eclectic mix of career activities has also included recent work with vocalist Kurt Elling on Dedicated To You, recorded live at Lincoln Center, which won Elling his first Grammy Award.

Corky Siegel met Ernie Watts in 2010 while touring throughout India with a collection of international music masters that comprised Global Fusion, led by one of the world's preeminent violinists, Dr. L Subramanian. Watts and Siegel formed a fast friendship during that tour, and this season marks a first for a collaboration with the eclectic ensemble of virtuosos of Chamber Blues.

Randy Sabien is a bluesy, rockin', swingin', funky, jazz violinist. With an intensely rhythmic, vibrant and inventive style, he has captivated audiences worldwide, playing with scores of bands and musicians of all stripes. At age 21, he founded and chaired the string department at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since then, he has gone on to teach internationally and is co-author of the acclaimed Jazz Philharmonic Series by Alfred Music Publishing -- his teaching method for alternative strings.

Tickets are $30 and available at the Thrasher office, Horicon Bank (Green Lake); Ripon Drug, Pick ‘N Save (Ripon); Twister (Princeton); or by calling the Thrasher office at (920)294-4279.  Online tickets available at www.thrasheroperahouse.com. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Accommodations by the Heidel House Resort & Spa. 

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