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Jazz quartet SPOKE to perform at UMPI

The University of Maine at Presque Isle presents a night of improvisational jazz by the Brooklyn, New York based quartet SPOKE at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30 in Wieden Auditorium.

SPOKE – featuring Justin Wood (originally from Presque Isle) on saxophone, Andy Hunter on trombone, Danny Fischer on drums, and Dan Loomis on bass — has performed in some of NYC’s top jazz venues such as the Cornelia Street CafĂ© and Brooklyn’s Tea Lounge. Individually, Spoke’s members have performed around the world at clubs, concert halls, and festivals, including Radio City Music Hall, the Jazz Standard, the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Playboy Jazz Festival.

The members of Spoke hail from across the globe and united in Brooklyn. Andy Hunter, originally from northern Michigan, won first prize in the 2002 International Jazz Trombone Association Jazz Competition, first prize in the 2005 Antti Rissanen International Jazz Competition in Helsinki Finland and was a popular finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz competition of 2003. He is a prolific composer and versatile soloist who performs regularly with the Charles Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Dynasty, the Dave Binney Big Band, and has appeared on Saturday Night Live.

Australian Danny Fischer left a huge gap in the music scene of his native Melbourne, Australia, when he relocated to New York in 2004. “Danny is possibly the most in-demand jazz drummer in Melbourne, having worked with a long list of Australian and international musicians including Barney McAll, Gary Bartz, James Williams, Paul Bollenbeck…” said Irena Begelfor of Sorrelli Productions in 2002. Since arriving in the US, Fischer has been in demand as a sideman, performing at Radio City Music Hall alongside Patty LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Diana Ross, and returning to Australia to tour with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Barney McAll.

Bassist Dan Loomis moved to New York from St. Louis via Eastman School of Music. An exceptionally adaptable bass and cello player, Loomis has already appeared on over 20 recordings ranging from indie-pop to jazz including two CD’s under his own name and one from the highly acclaimed collaborative group, The Wee Trio, all featuring original compositions.

Originally hailing from Presque Isle, woodwind player Justin Wood attended Harvard University and then relocated to New York where he has established a presence as a versatile, creative instrumentalist working in styles as diverse as free-improvisation, folkloric Columbian, conduction, and straight-ahead jazz. In addition to performing, Wood works tirelessly to promote and encourage performance opportunities for numerous ensembles in vital, underground venues in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan.

SPOKE will perform selections from its debut, self-titled album during its Oct. 30 performance.

Concert tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free to UMPI, NMCC and SAGE students with ID. For more information, call 768-9462.