LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Music and Department of Dance will combine their talents for the world premiere of “Palos Nuevos: The Jazz Flamenco Project” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 at the Lied Center of Kansas. Admission is free.
The performance will feature the award-winning KU Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Dan Gailey, director of the KU Jazz Studies Program.
“Palos Nuevos” builds on the foundation established by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia in exploring two traditions that began as the voices of the oppressed and re-centered how classicism was perceived.
Composed by Gailey, “Palos Nuevos” emulates the flamenco tradition of dialogue between dancer and musician and the practice of trading fours in jazz improvisations. Acclaimed solo trumpeter Steve Leisring, formerly of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and associate professor of trumpet, will play the ‘cante’ or voice, flamenco guitarist Beau Bledsoe the “toque” or guitar, Brandon Draper on percussion, and Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the KU Department of Dance, will perform the “baile” or dance.
Along with “Palos Nuevos,” the performance will include the works “Something Fast,” by KU senior Kai Ono; “Danca Illusoria” from “Three Romances,” by Maria Schneider; and “Everything I Love,” by Cole Porter featuring KU faculty Matt Otto on tenor saxophone and Jeff Harshbarger on bass.
Co-presenters of the performance are Reach Out Kansas, Inc.; The Lied Center of Kansas; Smithyman and Zakoura, Chartered; The Zakoura Family Fund, a fund of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation; KU Dance Department and the KU School of Music.
“Palos Nuevos” is a featured legacy project of Reach Out Kansas, Inc. and is one of 13 major works commissioned by the organization since 2011.