Concert today at downtown gazebo

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The phrase, all that jazz, will take on added meaning for those who attend the New Harmonies Concert at 5:15 p.m. today at the Stephens Gazebo on the square in downtown Troy.

Alabama jazz musician Thomas Stewart comes to the “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” concert series high recommended, said Eloise Kirk, a volunteer with the sponsoring Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center.

“When we were considering a jazz concert, Jim Bell suggested Thomas Stewart so we are confident that Thomas Stewart’s concert will be a great one,” Kirk said.

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Stewart was born in Gadsden and started his musical career on the tuba at Gadsden High School. But he could really tinkle the ivories. By the time he completed high school, his musical resume included the trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and the tech horn.

Stewart paid his way through Alabama State College with wages he earned playing with the Bama State Collegians dance band.

He studied arranging under John Dickens, a classical composer, taught high school, traveled with bands during summer vacations and did band arrangements.

During the 1970s, Stewart worked at the Gold Lounge accompanying music notables including Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Tams.

He went on the road with several bands and was chief arranger for a popular television show, “Nightlife South.”

He taught jazz and did band arrangement at Morehouse College for 11 years and has recorded albums and played with symphony orchestras.

Thomas Stewart is a multi-talented musician and there is no doubt that his concert today will live up to its billing, Kirk said.

“We are expecting another good crowd for the Thomas Stewart concert,” she said.

“This is the third in the series and attendance was very good a both the Lenny Trawick and Jim Bell Trio concerts. We invite everybody to join us for a great hour and a half of music.”

The concerts at the Stephens Gazebo are held in conjunction with the New Harmonies Smithsonian traveling exhibit at The Cultural Arts Studio on East Walnut Street, which is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. There is no admission fee and the public is invited.