Casey Crosby in Concert at Jazz Central
Thursday October 24th Casey will be playing at Jazz Central in the heart of Syracuse. Jazz Central is a 2’300 square feet space housing CNY Jazz’s offices, a box office, a music library and a 99-seat theatre. Jazz Central has become a regional cultural hub and hosts concerts, theatre, film, comedy and other events throughout the year. The facility provides a professional rehearsal space for the CNY Jazz Orchestra and the CNY Jazz’s unique youth orchestra, the Stan Colella Parks and Rec All-Star Big Band (a partnership with the City of Syracuse). The existence of Jazz Central is due to the vision and commitment of CNY Jazz Executive Director Larry Luttinger and former New York State Sen. John A. DeFrancisco. Sen. DeFrancisco, a strong patron of the arts, and especially jazz, provided a $250,000 grant from the Strategic Investment Program for the purchase and renovation of 441 E. Washington St. There is no city in the country that can boast a facility dedicated entirely to the pursuit of jazz performance and education aside from Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The CNY Jazz Arts Foundation was established in 1998 and is the primary year-round provider of scholastic and public jazz programs for Upstate New York. The foundation serves a total public audience of 80’000 each year and trains more than 4000 students annually. In 1995, musician and educator Larry Luttinger proposed a non-profit regional jazz foundation and orchestra to serve the Central New York community, about ten years before Jazz Central was opened. Back then, Casey was a student at Onondaga Community College where he met Larry Luttinger. Larry Luttinger was one of Casey’s lecturers. Casey says about Larry and playing at Jazz Central:
“I am very excited to be able to do a concert at the famed Syracuse venue, Jazz Central, in October. Though I have never seen the venue, I have a strong connection to the place. The founder and director of the central New York jazz arts foundation, Larry Luttinger, was a lecturer of Music as a Business at Onondaga College when I was a student there. He was just starting a jazz orchestra with all the best local talent and was seeking funding from the States Arts Budgets etc. to fund different events throughout the city-concerts-workshops-educational events-jazz for youth events etc. and I volunteered to help with setting up for these events. Basically I would carry musical equipment here and there, set up Larry’s drum kit, drive the van, and help with tickets and lighting and sound. Even though I was a full time musician and student at the time, I was not, and still am not, a professional jazz player. But the cool factor that existed between getting to know some local and international stars was huge. I got to know some really great guys who never treated me as a “Schlepper” or “roadie” but treated me with respect as one would a fellow artist from a different genre who was working for free out of respect to THEIR genre. Some great memories include the time the great Eric Cohen, music director of radio station WAER’s jazz programming, standing next to me backstage at the Syracuse Civic Center mumbling in my ear how I “should be on that great stage playing and blowing people’s minds away”. The fact that the great Bob Mintzer and Jeff Jarvis were on the stage at that moment doing precisely THAT, did not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. Another time at Pascals Wine Bar and Restaurant Sunday concert series hanging out again with jazz radio legend Eric Cohen and local legend, guitarist Mark Copani, both of whom were fighting off some very “enthusiastic” youngish ladies who were keen to meet them, by extolling MY virtues as pianist. I ended up dating TWO of them. The people I met as an employee of the CNY Jazz Orchestra and the behind the scenes experience with advertising/management and artist needs is valuable to this day and I congratulate Larry Luttinger and his enormous contribution to jazz as an art form to Central New York. It will be a great honor to play at Jazz Central and I will be sure to include a couple old school jazz numbers in addition to my regular set list. Reviewers have said my music has jazz influences, and if this is indeed the case, it is because of the wonderful influence i had from the Central New York jazz arts foundation.”
Sources: CNY Jazz