Art of Jazz Series Returns to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum: A New Season of Captivating Jazz Experiences

2023-2024 Art of Jazz Series Season To Spotlight Four Unique Jazz Projects and Unforgettable Experiences

Get ready for an electrifying season of jazz as the highly anticipated Art of Jazz series returns to the newly transformed Buffalo AKG Art Museum for the 2023–2024 season. Prepare to be captivated by a stellar lineup of emerging talents and iconic jazz musicians, organized and produced by Tony Zambito.

For more than two decades, the Art of Jazz series has been recognized as one of the premier jazz events in North America. Now, guests are invited to join the museum as this series makes its long-awaited return to the Buffalo AKG. Experience the awe-inspiring musical projects presented by Grammy® Award–winners and nominees, competition winners, and some of the most talented artists, composers, and arrangers in jazz.

In the upcoming season, the Art of Jazz series will showcase four exceptional “art of the project” concepts, promising unforgettable and unique experiences. The audience will be captivated by four carefully chosen projects, each showcasing the jazz artists’ unique vision of jazz. With an incredible lineup featuring the likes of Gary Smulyan, Anaïs Reno, Rodney Whitaker, Diego Rivera, Etienne Charles, Dan Wilson, Glen Zaleski, Pete Malinverni, Bruce Barth, Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Rudy Royston, Art Hirahara, Boris Koslov, and many more, this series will leave you spellbound, creating lasting memories.

Don’t miss out on securing your season subscription and be sure to mark your calendars for these four extraordinary concerts in the Art of Jazz series. Get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of jazz at its finest at the Buffalo AKG.


Season subscription: $150

AKG member season subscription: $130

General admission (single concert): $40

AKG member general admission (single concert): $35

Visit the Art of Jazz 2023-2024 Season to purchase your subscription and tickets.


Gary Smulyan, “Tadd’s All, Folks” featuring Anaïs Reno

November 10, 2023, 7 pm

Experience a fresh and captivating approach to the timeless music of the legendary jazz composer Tadd Dameron with this extraordinary quintet! Dameron’s compositions will be brought to life through mesmerizing vocal performances—an often-overlooked facet of his brilliant legacy. While Dameron himself was not widely recognized as a lyricist, this collection showcases a captivating mix of lyrics by Irving Reid, Bernie Hanighen, and Jack Reynolds that beautifully captures the essence of his modern musical language.

Enveloped by the skillful artistry of a core combo, featuring the formidable baritone sax solos of multiple award–winner Gary Smulyan, the exquisite piano stylings of Pete Malinverni, the solid bass foundation of David Wong, and the dynamic drumming of Matt Wilson, these vocal renditions truly shine and are only specially presented through this quintet. Anaïs Reno takes the spotlight, effortlessly delivering each song’s emotional depth and nuance.

Immerse yourself in the lush melodies of “Sweet Life,” the heartfelt confession of “Never Been in Love,” the enchanting allure of “Whatever Possessed Me,” and the irresistible groove of “Weekend.” Discover the charm of “Lovely One in the Window” and bask in the joyous spirit of “You’re a Joy.” Each song arranged in this heartfelt project is a testament to the enduring power of Dameron’s music, the remarkable versatility of his compositions, and the artistry of Gary Smulyan’s quintet.

Don’t miss this exceptional presentation of Tadd Dameron’s repertoire, where the worlds of jazz and vocals intertwine to create a one-of-a-kind musical experience. Prepare to be captivated by the enchanting sounds of this extraordinary ensemble as they breathe new life into Dameron’s compositions.

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Diego Rivera Quintet, “Bridges”

February 4, 2024, 3 pm

“Nothing that Rivera plays sounds formulaic or pre-formed, and the band he has assembled is absolutely with him: disciplined, fiery, logical and freewheeling by turns… – DownBeat Magazine

Embark on a musical journey that celebrates a rich tapestry of multicultural influences and the seamless blending of Mexican roots with the vibrant jazz world. Join the Buffalo AKG for a concert featuring the Diego Rivera Quintet, led by the internationally acclaimed saxophonist Diego Rivera. Rivera has quickly risen to become one of the most prominent jazz composers and saxophonists today.

Drawing inspiration from his Mexican heritage, Rivera’s unique music transcends borders and genres, combining Latin America’s traditional and folkloric rhythmic flavors with jazz’s improvisational brilliance. With his virtuosic saxophone skills and deep musical intuition, Rivera effortlessly bridges the gap between cultures, creating a harmonious fusion that is both captivating and soul-stirring. Their performance will transport you to a world where cultural boundaries dissolve and the universal language of music reigns supreme.

Funded by an award from Chamber Music of America, Rivera is commissioned to compose new jazz works to follow three groundbreaking and chart-topping albums: Indigenous, Mestizo, and Love and Peace. Experience the magic as the Diego Rivera Quintet takes the stage in a debut performance at the Art of Jazz series with new compositions that will thrill audiences with infectious rhythms, emotive melodies, and masterful improvisations.

Rivera will be joined by an extraordinary ensemble of jazz virtuosos, including Etienne Charles on trumpet, Art Hirahara on piano, Boris Koslov on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. Each of these remarkable artists is a prominent award-winning musician and composer, contributing significantly to the jazz scene today.

“But it’s the ensemble that matters, driven by Hirahara’s comping, Kozlov’s mobile, elastic bass, and Royston’s crisp, emphatic beats…” – DownBeat Magazine

Whether you’re a jazz enthusiast or simply curious about the power of music to bridge cultures, this concert promises an unforgettable experience that celebrates diversity, unity, and the beauty of artistic expression.

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Dan Wilson, “Things Eternal”

March 10, 2024, 3 pm

“A guitarist with jaw-dropping single-note facility rivaling six-string greats George Benson and Pat Martino…” – DownBeat Magazine

Prepare to embark on a musical odyssey like no other as the guitarist/composer Dan Wilson, winner of the prestigious 2022 RISING STARS Jazz Award, takes the stage with his awe-inspiring project, “Things Eternal.” Brace yourself as the tune “Sticology” sets the tone with a recorded voicemail from the legendary organist, personal mentor, and dear friend Joey DeFrancesco, serving as a poignant tribute and guiding light.

Within this meticulously curated collection of songs, Wilson draws hope and inspiration from ancestral wisdom, crafting a heartfelt dedication to the unwavering spirit of humanity. With his masterful touch, he breathes new life into beloved classics by iconic artists such as The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Stevie Wonder’s “Smile, Please,” and Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me A Bedtime Story,” infusing each composition with his unique artistic vision. Alongside these timeless tunes, Wilson showcases his own original compositions, weaving a tapestry of musical brilliance that demands the world’s attention.

Wilson’s profound understanding of Brazilian music shines through in this remarkable project. Inspired by the brilliant arrangements and featuring three-voice harmonizing invented by Brazilian composers like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sergio Mendes, Wilson seamlessly blends their influence with his own creative genius. Wilson brings together his quartet and a captivating three-voice ensemble, resulting in a mesmerizing fusion of sound that breathes new life into timeless classics. The harmonies intertwine effortlessly, creating a rich and captivating tapestry of sound. The combination of Wilson’s quartet and the enchanting three-voice ensemble generates a dynamic and vibrant energy that will leave audiences spellbound.

Joining Wilson for this special Art of Jazz series performance are rising star pianist/keyboardist Glen Zaleski, rising star bassist Brandon Rose, award-winning drummer David Throckmorton, vocalist Jessica Yafanaro, vocalist Tommy Lehman, and vocalist Durell Griar. 

Get ready for an unforgettable concert experience filled with soul-stirring melodies, impeccable musicianship, and a profound connection to the very heart of music itself. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to witness a true maestro at work.

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Rodney Whitaker—”Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill”

April 12, 2024, 7 pm

Prepare to be captivated by the musical talents of multiple Grammy® Award–nominated bassist Rodney Whitaker and his quintet of jazz superstars as they present the music of jazz composer Gregg Hill. This stellar ensemble features the renowned Terell Stafford on trumpet and flugelhorn, the exceptional Tim Warfield on tenor and soprano saxophones, the brilliant Bruce Barth on piano, and the dynamic Dana Hall on drums. Adding to the allure of this specially commissioned performance, the captivating vocalist Rockelle Fortin will grace the stage for select songs.

Whitaker’s extraordinary musical journey spans far and wide, from his exceptional performances with esteemed ensembles like the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Roy Hargrove Quintet to his influential role as an esteemed educator. His unwavering dedication to this timeless art form is evident in every note he plays and every lesson he imparts.

Gregg Hill’s musical genius takes center stage in Whitaker’s latest project, Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill. This remarkable concert showcases Hill’s masterful compositions alongside compositions by the talented Rodney Whitaker.

Get ready to groove to infectious melodies that pay homage to the beloved hard bop era. This formidable group ignites the stage with its dynamic two-horn frontline and propulsive rhythm section. Rodney Whitaker’s deep connection with drummer Dana Hall creates a captivating swing that permeates the ensemble’s performances. With its delightful twists and turns, the Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill project showcases the ensemble’s award-winning artistry at the highest level in jazz.

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The Art of Jazz Series is proudly sponsored and presented by Hunt Real Estate.


Get Your Subscription Soon! Fewer Seats Available!

We are thrilled to return to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum auditorium with exciting upgrades in both audio and visual elements, along with newly reupholstered seats and fresh carpeting. While the room now accommodates fewer seats compared to the Kleinhans Music Hall – Mary Seaton Room, which generously hosted the Art of Jazz Series for the past two years, we are confident that this intimate setting will provide a unique and unforgettable experience.

To ensure you don’t miss out on the incredible season ahead, we encourage you to secure a full subscription due to the fewer seats – soon. Join us for a season filled with exceptional performances and musical wonders that will leave you inspired and delighted.

Please visit the Art of Jazz 2023-2024 Season to purchase your subscription and tickets soon!

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