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University of Iowa News Release


March 23, 2007

Percussionist Michael Spiro And UI Jazz Ensembles Play April 6

Two jazz ensembles from the University of Iowa School of Music will present "Latin Meets Jazz," a free concert with renowned Latin-jazz percussionist Michael Spiro, at 8 p.m. Friday, April 6 in the auditorium at West High School, 2901 Melrose Ave. in Iowa City.

Spiro, the UI Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by James Dreier, and the Jazz Repertoire Ensemble, directed by Brent Sandy, will perform classic and contemporary Latin jazz for both combo and big band. The concert is part of a four-day residency at the UI by Spiro, an internationally recognized percussionist, recording artist and educator.

Local jazz educator Rich Medd from the West High band department will be a special guest at the concert, along with percussion students from West High School.

Drummer David Garibaldi, who has worked professionally with Spiro, said "Michael . . . knows how to teach it . . . giving the reasons for things and the history. He can teach any aspect of Brazilian or Afro-Cuban music that you want. He's one of the most talented guys I've ever met."

During his residency, Spiro will teach private lessons and hold workshops, clinics and rehearsals with UI students. In addition to the Friday concert, the public events are:

-- 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, a master class at West Music Co., 1212 Fifth St. in Coralville

-- 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in the Old Gym of Halsey Hall on the UI campus, a workshop with the UI Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble

-- 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. Friday, April 6, rehearsal with UI Latin Jazz Ensemble in Dixon Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building

Spiro is known particularly for his work in the Latin music field. He has performed on many recordings, co-produced and played on several instructional videos including "Talking Drums" "Giovanni Hidalgo," and produced seminal Latin music recordings, including "Orquesta Batachanga," "Grupo Bata-Ketu," "Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge" and "Grupo Ilu-Aña." He has just published his highly anticipated book "The Conga Drummer's Guidebook" to strong critical acclaim.

He has recorded and performed with a wide array of diverse artists, including David Byrne, Cachao, the Caribbean Jazz Project, Dori Caymmi, Changuito, Richard Egues, Frank Emilio Flynn, Ella Fitzgerald, David Garibaldi, Gilberto Gil, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Holman and many more. For more information, see Spiro's Web page:

Spiro's residency is sponsored by the UI Jazz Studies Department in conjunction with the UI Caribbean, Diaspora and Atlantic Studies Program, International Programs, Euforquestra Productions, West Music Inc., Iowa City West High School and LP Musical Instruments.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble is a top tier combo in the UI jazz department. The group has recorded two CDs, and performs throughout Iowa. The Jazz Repertoire Ensemble is one of three big bands in the jazz area that focuses on the classic/foundation literature of big band jazz. This group presents a major concert at Clapp every semester and performs numerous outreach and educational events as well.

Dreier is a drumset, Latin percussion and jazz educator, clinician and performer. He teaches in the jazz area at the University of Iowa School of Music, where he co-leads the UI Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble and directs the Latin Jazz Ensemble. For more:

Sandy, who joined the jazz faculty in 2000, is a jazz trumpet and flugelhorn performer, teacher and clinician. Sandy performs regularly with local and regional jazz groups including the OddBar Trio, the Grismore Scea Group and Equilateral. For more, see:

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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; cell: 319-541-2846;