Center for the Arts Welcomes the Swinging Sounds of the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra

Posted: February 2, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of George Mason’s own Director of Jazz Studies, Jim Carroll, has been shaking houses and attracting audiences at the Center for the Arts for the last several seasons. With a repertoire ranging from the crown prince of swing, Duke Ellington, to the recent homage to salsa king Tito Puente, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra is a crowd-pleasing ensemble of diverse and talented area musicians. The orchestra returns to the Concert Hall stage on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m.

For this engagement, the orchestra welcomes distinguished bassist William Thomas “Keter” Betts to its ranks. Betts has played professionally for six decades, including a stint with Duke Ellington. He is recognized and appreciated by musicians and jazz aficionados for his contributions to many bands and top musicians in the genre, including Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderly, Charlie Byrd, and Ella Fitzgerald, with whom he worked for 24 years.

Betts lives in the Washington, D.C., area and is a music lecturer at Howard University. He has also designed educational programs for young adults for local organizations. He has been a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band and a contributor to its jazz programs. Betts was inducted into the Washington Area Music Association Hall of Fame.

Orchestra director Carroll earned his BM in saxophone performance and MM in woodwinds and jazz from Indiana University. His career has included performances at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the White House, Yokohama Stadium, the Kennedy Center, Royal Albert Hall, and the Apollo Theatre. Carroll has worked with Michael Jackson, Clark Terry, Nancy Wilson, Maynard Ferguson, Billy Taylor, Woody Herman and His Thundering Herd, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and others. He also teaches at the Jamey Abersold jazz clinics.

An artistic discussion, free to ticket holders, is held 45 minutes prior to the performance on the hall’s Grand Tier. Tickets are $36, $28, and $18, and tickets for children 12 and under are half price. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit www.tickets.com.

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