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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 22, 2004

Dan Knight Offers Tribute To MJQ, Nov. 5 In Museum Of Art

Dan Knight, the well-known Iowa City jazz pianist, will continue his series of performances at the UI Museum of Art (UIMA) with a performance featuring a tribute to the influential Modern Jazz Quartet at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, in the museum's Nancy and Craig Willis Atrium.

Knight will open the performance with flutist M.J. Haworth, playing Claude Boling's "Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano." With a mostly written score for the flute and a piano part that has little bits of improvisation, the suite is a kind of "chamber music in jazz," Knight said.

For the remainder of the program, Knight will expand his usual Dan Knight Trio into a quartet that replicates the instrumentation and sound of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), whose unusual instrumentation of piano, percussion, bass and vibraphone was an unmistakable part of the "cool jazz" scene in the 1950s and '60s. Combining Baroque techniques with blues style, the MJQ was known for helping create "chamber jazz."

Joining Knight will be long-time trio members Dick Kriz on bass and Nick George on percussion, as well as Bob Wesner on vibes. Together this quartet will play a number of jazz standards in the style of the MJQ, including "In a Sentimental Mood" and "Body and Soul."

The program will also include "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" as a tribute to George Shearing.

"I've heard it said that chamber music is two or more musicians performing with no conductor," Knight said. "If that is the case, then this evening will truly be chamber music from beginning to end. I can think of no better format for chamber music than jazz standards, performed in a conversational mood. And what better place is there to have a conversation than the atrium of the UIMA?"

This is the last in a series of four jazz performances, presented at the UIMA on first Fridays during the fall semester. Knight, who has a longstanding relationship with the Museum of Art, will resume playing in the UIMA during the spring semester. In the meantime, a student ensemble from the UI School of Music will perform jazz in the UIMA Friday, Dec. 3.

"I'm happy to be making the first Fridays of each month the only place where I'll be doing regular public performances in the Iowa City area," Knight said. "With the support of the public, this will be my musical 'home' for a long time to come."

Knight has often played in the museum. In 1999 he recorded and released a CD of music inspired by nine paintings in the museum's permanent collection, "Pictures at an Exhibition," and he played in the UIMA twice during the spring semester of 2004.

A Steinway Artist as well as a composer, educator and a respected improviser, Knight has built a worldwide reputation. He has made several CD recordings for After Hours Recordings, including "Dan Knight and the La Fosse Jazz Trio: Live from Studio III," recorded with the late UI violin faculty member Leopold La Fosse; "Dan Knight Duo: Live at Riverside Theatre"; and "Dan Knight Quartet: Live at the Cottonwood Club."

More information on Knight is available at his web page,

Admission to UIMA is free. Admission to the performance -- $5 for museum members and $10 for non-members -- will be collected at the door of the Nancy and Craig Willis Atrium. There will be light refreshments and a cash bar available in the atrium during the performance.

Museum memberships are available for contributions of $25 or more. Contributions support exhibitions, programs and acquisitions by the museum. For further information, contact the museum's membership coordinator, Buffie Tucker, at 319-353-2847 or by email at

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 9 p.m. Fridays. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web. Information on other UI arts events is available at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,