Take The “A” Train


It was Monday, and we had reserved our tickets. It was at the San Antonio Museum of Art on Jones Avenue (and also adjacent to the River Walk). Celebrating the 100th anniversary of composer Billy Strayhorn, it was an intimate performance by an ensemble of fantastic musicians.

Barbara Jean and I got there early and enjoyed the weather along the River Walk prior to the performance. Getting in when the doors opened we got front row seats. Wine was complimentary, and there were some nice snacks during the intermission. I had the chocolate cake.

With sufficient applause at the conclusion, the group played Take the “A” Train.

Reflections on Billy Strayhorn, My Favorite Composer | The New ... www.newrepublic.com500 × 500Search by image By David Hajdu

From Google Images – Reflections on Billy Strayhorn, My Favorite Composer | The New …
By David Hajdu

Here’s a copy of the program for the evening:


String Circle – Kenji Bunch
Shuffle Step

Sophisticated Lady – Duke Ellington/ Tidaback

Three Preludes – George Gershwin/Tidaback
Prelude I
Prelude 3

Lush Life – Billy Strayhorn/Dunne

A Flower is Lovesome Thing – Billy Strayhorn/Dunne

Upper Manhattan Medical Group – Billy Strayhorn/Dunne

Bill’s Shadow – James Scott Balentine

Isfahan – Billy Strayhorn/Dunne

The Star Crossed Lovers – Billy Strayhorn/Dunne

Johnny Come Lately – Billy Strayhorn/Dunne


Welcome to the 23rd presentation of Jazz Meets Classical- a unique collaboration between jazz and classical musicians in San Antonio- produced by Musical Offerings. Our goal is to
present compositions that combine jazz and classical elements, showcase the work of local composers and arrangers, and create a memorable experience for musicians and audiences.


Joan Christenson, Laura Scalzo, violin: Marisa Bushman, viola; Ryan Murphy, cello; Zlatan Redzic, bass; Aaron Prado, piano; James Balentine, clarinet/sax; Curtis Calderon, trumpet; Matthew Dunne, guitar; Kyle Keener, drums; Joan Carroll, jazz vocalist

Musician fees, arrangements by Matthew Dunne, and the original composition by James Balentine underwritten by a generous grant from the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts. Additional support from Quintanilla Schmidt Consulting. Thank You!

James Scott Balentine, sax/clarinet, Professor of Music at the University of Texas at
San Antonio, is a composer, arranger, performer and conductor, and is currently
serving as Associate Chair of the Department of Music. His music has been
performed at numerous international conferences, including Clarinetfest 1996
(Paris), 1999 (Ostende, Belgium), the International Double Reed Convention (1999)
in Madison, Wisconsin, the International Flute Society convention in Columbus, Ohio
(2000), and recently completed a Barlow Endowment commission for clarinetist
[aren Hinckley of Brigham Young University. His music is published by Southern
Music, Ballerbach Music, Cimarron Music Productions, and Iaymark Press. Jim is a
winner of a 2006 Artist Foundation grant in the Performing Arts.

A native New Yorker, violist Marisa Bushman’s musical career has reached all
corners of the world. Ms. Bushman is currently a member of the San Antonio
Symphony’s viola section. From 2008 to 2010 she was a fellow at the New World
Symphony in Miami Beach where she frequently sat principal under Michael Tilson
Thomas and was a prominent fixture in the New World Symphony’s Chamber Music
Series. An avid collaborator, Ms. Bushman’s career has taken her across the United
States, Europe, South and Central America, South Africa and China. Marisa received
her Bachelor’S Degree in Viola Performance from the University of California, Los
Angeles and her Masters in Viola Performance at Indiana University. Her principal
teachers have included Atar Arad, and Paul Coletti.

Curtis Calderon, trumpet, was born and raised in San Antonio and started playing
nightclubs and various gigs in high school. After graduation, he went on to tour with
big bands such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra and was on several touring shows with
the Hoagy Carmichael100th anniversary celebration tour and with Maureen
McGovern’s special big band tour. He plays trumpet, piano and sings. He is currently
touring with the Four Freshmen vocal group, singing the 2nd voice and playing
trumpet. He joined them in 2001 and you can see his touring schedule on either
www.CalderonMusic.com or www.FourFreshmen.com

Joan Carroll, jazz vocalist, is a well-loved performer throughout San Antonio, and
announces for KRTU.

Joan Christenson, violin, is a graduate of the University of Michigan and served as
Associate Concertmaster of the Shreveport Symphony before joining the first violin
section of the San Antonio Symphony in 1983. Joan has performed with many
summer music festivals of distinction including the Aspen Music Festival, the
Tanglewood Festival, the Colorado Music Festival and The Grand Teton Festival.
Christenson became Artistic Director of Musical Offerings in 1989 and is the founder
of the Jazz Meets Classical series. Joan is a recipient of the 2004 Arts and Letters
Award by the Friends of The San Antonio Public Library for her contributions to the
cultural life of SA.

Matthew Dunne, guitarist and composer, was last year’s winner of the Tobin Grand
Prize for Artistic Excellence from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. The San
Antonio Express News has called his playing “beautiful…elegant, well crafted and
sophisticated” He received the DMA degree in guitar performance, jazz emphasis,
from The University of Texas at Austin, the first guitarist to receive this degree, Since 1992, he has been on the faculty of the University ofTexas at San Antonio. He is a frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, having composed

music for three consecutive LAGQ Cds on Telarc, including the GRAMMY winning
Guitar Heroes. He has recorded three compact discs: one of which won an award in
Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s “Homegrown CD” contest for self produced CDs of any
style featuring acoustic guitar.

Kyle Keener, drums, has been performing in the San Antonio area for 26 years. He
is a founding member of the ensemble Small World, and has participated in the
Jazz’s Alive festival and the San Antonio pops. Keener studied at San Antonio College
and also holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word. A self-
taught drummer, his styles range from country to rock and jazz.

A native of St Louis, Ryan Murphy, cello, is currently in his third season with the
San Antonio Symphony. He was previously the OTPAAM fellow with the Pittsburgh
Symphony Orchestra. He received his masters degree from the [uilliard School with
Bonnie Hampton and while still a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music with
Stephen Geber, Mr. Murphy made his solo debut with the Detroit Symphony
followed by an additional appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra. Both
performances came as the result of placing second in the Sphinx Competition in
2003. His radio appearances have included the From the Top radio show at the
Kennedy Center where he won the audience choice award and two appearances on
Classic 99’s Young Heroes in Music in St. Louis.

Dr. Aaron Prado is a pianist, composer, arranger, educator, and radio personality
based in San Antonio, Texas. Prado received a DMA in piano performance at the
University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music in 2014. Prior to his doctoral
study, Prado attended Columbia University for undergraduate study and New York
University for a Master’s Degree. From 2003-2009, Prado was Music Director and
announcer at Trinity University’s jazz radio station – KRTU 91.7FM – and is
currently the host of “Aaron Prado Presents” – heard Sundays 2-4 p.m. In 2011,
Prado debuted his “San Antonio Jazz Suite” – a large-scale composition scored for
big band, string quartet, and narration that tells the story of San Antonio. Prado
teaches at Northwest Vista College and is currently working on a book of
transcriptions of solo recordings by jazz pianist Bill Evans.

Zlatan Redzic, bass, joined the San Antonio Symphony in 1999. He served as Acting
Assistant Principle Bass for the 2002/03 season. During the 2003/04 season Zlatan
performed with the Atlanta Symphony, the Atlanta Opera and the Jacksonville
Symphony. Mr. Redzic attended the Aspen Music Festival for three summers and
holds a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University, where he studied with Bruce

Laura Scalzo, violin, recently joined the San Antonio Symphony. Prior to coming to
San Antonio she was a member of the Delaware and Allentown Symphonies. She
holds degrees from Temple and the University of Delaware and had attended
numerous festivals including Aspen, Kent Blossom and Tanglewood.





About John Blanton

I'm a retired engineer living in San Antonio, Texas. I have served in the Navy, raced motorcycles, taken scads of photos and am usually a nice guy. I have political and religious opinions, and these opinions tend to be driven by an excess of observed stupidity. Gross stupidity is the supposed target of many of my posts.
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