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Two guest artists sign on for William Russo tribute

Howard Reich

3:14 PM CDT, August 4, 2013

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Saxophonist Lee Konitz and harmonica ace Corky Siegel have signed on as guest artists for “Celebrating William Russo: Artist and Educator,” a major tribute to the great Chicago composer-bandleader, who died Jan. 11, 2003, at age 74.

Konitz and Siegel will perform with the Columbia College Jazz Ensemble, led by Scott Hall, the evening of Dec. 7 at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.

Konitz, a pioneering alto saxophonist, excelled in the scores Russo wrote for Stan Kenton & His Orchestra in the 1950s. Siegel played harmonica in Russo’s “Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra” and “Street Music, A Blues Concerto,” both performed around the world and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.

“They are my ‘dream team,’” said Albert Williams, senior lecturer in the theater department of Columbia College Chicago and an organizer of the Russo tribute, in an email.

During the first week in December, Konitz also will be artist-in-residence at Columbia College’s music department, which Russo founded.

And panel discussions on Russo’s life and work in jazz, classical, theater and other artistic realms will run from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at Columbia College’s Concert Hall, 1014 S. Michigan Ave.

The proceeds from these events will benefit the William Russo Endowed Scholarship at Columbia College Chicago.

For details on “Celebrating William Russo,” visit colum.edu/russo.