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The Nu Band

May 7 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

The Nu Band is a dynamic jazz ensemble from New York City, featuring some of the most unique, compelling and in-demand voices in creative music today. The band was formed in 1999, and since then has released 10 recordings, completed 9 European and several US tours, bringing forward-leaning, provocative and evocative music to the world.

The Nu Band is Joe Fonda on bass, Lou Grassi on drums (both founding members of the group), Thomas Heberer on trumpet, and Kenny Wessel on guitar. Each member of the ensemble composes and brings a fresh and individual take on dealing with improvised music, combining structure and freedom. The artists, all of whom lead their own groups, play and record with a variety of world-class musicians. The ensemble has found a voice together, collectively, reflecting years of experience and collaboration.

The band has an illustrious musical lineage and history. Past members of the Nu Band include saxophonist Mark Whitecage and trumpet player Roy Campbell Jr. The current edition of the Nu Band retains the core of the group’s concept, while forging ahead musically into the future.

Lou Grassi is internationally known for his work in both the traditional and avant-garde jazz worlds. From the 1970s to the present, Lou has performed and/or recorded with a great variety of outstanding artists, including Marshall Allen, Borah Bergman, Rob Brown, Charles Gayle, Urbie Green, Gunter Hampel, Johnny Hartman, Sheila Jordan, William Parker, Perry Robinson, Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai and many others. Lou is the leader of the Lou Grassi PoBand which has released five CDs and received critical acclaim worldwide.

“Lou Grassi is one of those few jazz players who is as comfortable with straight ahead bop as he is with ventures into the realm of the totally free. The creativity and energy are boundless.” – Steven A. Loewy, All Music Guide to Jazz

Joe Fonda is an accomplished international artist who has performed and recorded as a leader in his own ensembles, most notably The Fonda/Stevens Group, throughout the United States and Europe, and as a sideman with Bill & Kenny Barron, Anthony Braxton, Lou Donaldson, Curtis Fuller, Charles “Majeed” Greenlee, Kunle Mwanga, Bobby Naughton, Charlie Persip, Archie Shepp, Wadada Leo Smith, Mark Whitecage and many others.

“The music of Joe Fonda is part of a living tradition of belief and dedication. Future historians will be surprised at the breadth of Mr. Fonda’s offerings. This is a real virtuoso and composer of the highest order.” – Anthony Braxton

Kenny Wessel, a versatile, sensitive and soulful guitarist and composer, toured with revolutionary jazz artist Ornette Coleman for 12 years as a member of Prime Time, Ornette’s groundbreaking ensemble. Kenny can be heard on Coleman’s CD, “Tone Dialing.” Performing Ornette’s “Skies of America,” Wessel appeared with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. A vital and personal voice on the jazz guitar, he has also worked with John Abercrombie, Laurie Anderson, Karl Berger, Donald Fagen (featured guitar soloist on Fagen’s album “Morph the Cat”), Debbie Harry, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Gloria Lynne, Adam Rudolph and others from the jazz, pop and world music spectrum, across 28 countries.

Thomas Heberer, born in 1965 in Germany, has been living in New York City since 2008. Before moving, he was a lecturer at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, and the recipient of both the prestigious “SWR Jazzpreis” and the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.” Thomas has been a member of the Dutch Instant Composers Pool (aka ICP) since 1993. In 2002, ICP was ranked No. 1 in the “Large Ensemble” category in the Down Beat Critics TDWR Poll. Besides recording around 100 albums as a sideman, he has released 20 CDs under his own leadership. Collaborators past and present include: Karl Berger, Anthony Braxton, Peter Brötzmann, Eugene Chadbourne, Chico Freeman, Maria Joao, Joachim Kühn, Steve Lacy, Oliver Lake, Dieter Manderscheid, David Murray, Evan Parker, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Elliot Sharp, Steve Swell and Aki Takase.

This tour/performance/show/event is made possible with the support of Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


May 7
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts Center
605 Main Street
Middletown, CT
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(860) 347-4957

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