Nationally-recognized saxophonist Mary Fettig will be the first artist in the new “Women in Jazz” concert series presented by the Fresno State Jazz Bands on Wednesday, May 4, at California State University, Fresno.
Fettig will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Department Concert Hall (2380 E. Keats Ave.). The Fresno State Jazz Bands “A” and “B” and Jazz Combo, directed by Fresno State music professor Dr. Michael Caldwell, will perform with Fettig.
Fettig also will conduct a free jazz performance workshop from 5 to 5:45 p.m. in the Concert Hall prior to the concert.
The concert series is sponsored by the Fresno State chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, a national band sorority, and the Fresno State Associated Students.
Fettig is the first female instrumentalist to perform as a member of the famed Stan Kenton Orchestra. Kenton’s orchestras produced a string of alumni who influenced the evolution of jazz such as Gerry Mulligan, Kai Winding, Stan Getz and many other famous musicians.
Fettig’s debut in the Stan Kenton Orchestra as a teenager catapulted her into national prominence and spurred her successful career as a musician.
The ‘Women in Jazz’ series will showcase some of the top women performers in jazz today, said Caldwell, who is coordinating the series and hopes it will help reverse the trend of male-domination in the field.
“Women are somewhat under-represented in the world of jazz and it has been difficult for women to emerge and gain respect as instrumental artists,” Caldwell said. “These artists are not gaining distinction because they are great musicians in a field dominated by men. They are gaining attention purely because they are great musicians, period.”
Fettig’s earliest musical training was on marimba, and she moved on to clarinet, sax and flute in her school bands. After two years of study at UCLA, Fettig joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra.
Fettig has also toured with Flora Purim and Airto, Marian McPartland, Tito Puente, Toninho Horta and Joe Henderson and has been on numerous short tours with celebrity acts.
She has performed at many jazz festivals including Concord, San Francisco, Monterey, Playboy, Hollywood Bowl, Mt. Hood, Chicago, Detroit, Mobile, and the world’s first Women’s Jazz Festival in Kansas City.
Fettig resides in the San Francisco area, and maintains a busy teaching, recording and performing schedule.
Tickets are $6 for general admission and free to Fresno State students who pick up a ticket from the Music Department prior to the day of the concert. Tickets are available between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Concert Hall is located in the main corridor of the east wing of the new Music Building For more information, call the Music Department at (559) 278-2654.
Copy prepared by University Communications student-intern Jennifer Stapp