Blue Heron Sextet to appear in the next Music Matinees

Harry Miedema spent 23 years touring with the O’Jays and has performed in the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, Africa and throughout the United States. Miedema was featured soloist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

The Sarasota Concert Association’s free Music Matinees program continues its 2020 season with the Blue Heron Sextet, at noon Feb. 11, in David Cohen Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The group, headed by saxophonist Harry Miedema, features David DeWitt, trombone; Keith Carman, piano; Don Parker, trombone; Todd Jefferis, bass and Gregory Caputo, drums. The program features songs by Ray Henderson, A.C. Jobim, Cedar Walton, Billy Strayhorn, by J. J. Johnson and Quincey Jones.

Harry Miedema received a master’s degree in classical saxophone, studying with Dr. Eugene Rousseau. After college, Miedema worked at Motown, touring with most of the groups of their stable of artists. He spent 23 years touring with the O’Jays and has performed in the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, Africa and throughout the United States. Miedema was featured soloist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He taught at the University of Indianapolis as director of jazz studies and retired from college teaching in 2014, with the title Professor Emeritus in Jazz Studies.

David DeWitt holds a master’s degree in trombone performance and has studied with celebrated classical and jazz trombonists. He was director of bands at East High School for the Rochester City School District and at the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts for the Buffalo City Schools. He was also a busy performing musician in the upstate New York area, performing with The Legendary Dukes for 16 years. Upon leaving the Legendary Dukes in 2011, DeWitt was in demand performing with Bobby Vinton, Gino Vanelli, Urbie Green, Frankie Valli and many others. When he retired from teaching in 2016, he and his wife moved to Sarasota. He has been performing extensively on the Sun Coast with a variety of groups, including the Blue Heron Sextet.

Donald Parker, born and raised in Sarasota, began his musical career on trombone in the Sarasota County school system, studying with Bobby Barnhart and Andy Wright. He developed a love for the trombone and attended the Swinney Conservatory of Music, part of Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. After earning a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance, Parker joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band and remained there for 25 years.

Keith Carman studied music at both Michigan State University and Western Michigan University. His early club performances were on the upright bass, piano and organ. Following his college years, Carman became a musical director in Las Vegas and toured the country. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, he wrote computer software for machine control, robotics and material handling systems at numerous international sites. Carman continued to play piano and organ with various bands in his free time. Retirement in 2003 created opportunities to return to his musical roots — always his first love. Carman enjoys playing keyboard with a variety of combos in Florida.

Todd Jefferis is a performer, composer and music educator. He most recently taught for the Hillsborough County public schools district. A jazz and classically trained bassist, Jefferis remains active as a performer in a variety of musical contexts. He performs with several groups locally. He holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in composition/theory from Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from West Virginia University.

Greg Caputo has been a full-time professional drummer for 50 years. His professional credits include tours and or recordings with such artists as Neenah Freelon, Sammy Davis Jr., Phil Woods, Billy Taylor, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Nelson Riddle, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Cab Calloway, Sammy Kay, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and The Count Basie Orchestra. Caputo has been the house drummer at the Copacabana and the El Morocco Clubs in New York City, with multiple performances at the Kennedy and Lincoln Centers for Billy Taylor’s Jazz History concerts. He is the recipient of the 2010 Jazz Ambassador Award, recipient of the IAJE award for his contributions to jazz education and performances, and author of the acclaimed drum book, “Classic Swing Drumming.”

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