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Release: Immediate

Jazz vocalist Carmen Bradford will perform with Johnson County Landmark April 16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Grammy-award winning jazz vocalist Carmen Bradford will perform with the University of Iowa Johnson County Landmark jazz band for a dance and concert from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday, April 16 in the Ballroom, Room 2-243 on the second floor of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The dance and concert will benefit the jazz program at the UI School of Music. Doors to the Ballroom will open at 7 p.m.

Johnson County Landmark (JCL) is the top big-band jazz ensemble at the UI School of Music. The group is directed by John Rapson, who is head of the jazz program.

In addition to the April 16 benefit performance, Bradford and JCL will stage an open rehearsal, which the public may attend, at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 15 in the Opera Rehearsal Room in the Voxman Music Building.

Bradford has performed extensively with the Count Basie Orchestra, including tours and recordings with the group. She has earned three Grammy Awards, two of them for recordings with the Count Basie Orchestra. Her third Grammy was for the song "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" which she performed in duet with George Benson.

In addition to working as a vocalist in Count Basie's orchestra, Bradford has worked on performance and recording projects with James Brown, Lou Rawls, Willie Nelson, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson and Herbie Hancock, among others.

Bradford began her solo career six years ago with her first album, "Finally Yours." In 1995 she recorded her second album, "With Respect." She recently has teamed up with singer Kenny Rankin on the song "All That Jazz." She also is a featured vocalist on the song "Key Largo" for the Grammy-nominated album by the legendary composer-saxophonist Benny Carter on his recent album "The Benny Carter Song Book."

Bradford is trained in classical music as well as jazz and has worked as a vocal coach in addition to performance.

A major ensemble in the UI School of Music jazz program, Johnson County Landmark (JCL) is a repertory ensemble devoted to the performance of original compositions by jazz masters. JCL has the standard big-band instrumentation, with full sections of reed, brass and rhythm instruments. It is made up largely of students in the UI School of Music majoring in performance or in the jazz area.

JCL's current repertory includes the music of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Tadd Dameron, Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson and Benny Golson, along with new works by students in the jazz studies area at the UI.

The ensemble has been performing at the UI since the 1960s. The group has traveled to jazz festivals in the United States and Europe, picking up awards on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1981 Johnson County Landmark won the Silver Tulip award at the International Tulip Time Music Festival in the Netherlands, and it was one of the few student bands ever invited to the appear at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. More recently, the group was selected the best band in its class at the 25th annual Wichita Jazz Festival in 1991.

Individual members of JCL continue to win major awards and contests. In 1994 members of the group took top awards in the International Trumpet Guild's Jazz Competition and the Jazz Composition Competition sponsored by California State University at San Diego.

The group's most recent recording, "A Mingus Among Us," was described as "over 70 minutes of sweet, sophisticated jazz classics" in ICON magazine, and River Cities Reader commented that "JCL, the top big band for the University of Iowa School of Music, captures the power of Mingus' music wonderfully."

JCL tours throughout the Midwest. In addition to its free concerts on the UI campus, JCL makes frequent appearances at clubs in Iowa City. It is one of 11 ensembles in the jazz program of the UI School of Music. Among them, these diverse ensembles range from combos to big bands and differs in stylistic formats from experimental compositions to traditional repertoires.

Rapson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as director of jazz studies in August 1993. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. His recent experimental jazz recording "Dances and Orations" has been hailed as "one of the most vital CDs to come around in a long time" in Jazziz and as "a conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent.

Previous albums under Rapson's direction are "Bing" for Sound Aspects, and "Buwah" and "Deeba dah bwee" for Nine Winds. He has also recorded "A Mingus Among Us" and "Been There, Done That" with Johnson County Landmark.

The April 16 dance and concert by JCL and Carmen Bradford is sponsored in part by SCOPE Productions, the UI College of Liberal Arts and the Office of the Vice President for Student Services. It will be a smoke- and alcohol-free event.

Tickets for the dance and concert are $10 ($5 for UI students) and are available from the University Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Group rates area available through the University Box Office.

University Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to

9 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may be reserved by calling (319) 335-3041, or toll-free in Iowa,

1-800-346-4401. VISA, MasterCard, Discover cards and American Express cards are accepted. Proceeds go to scholarship funds in the School of Music and the Department of Theatre Arts.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. Persons with a disability who require an accommodation in order to attend the Johnson County Landmark dance and concert with Carmen Bradford should contact SCOPE Productions in advance at (319) 335-3395.