jazz-yellow-picThe Jazz Combos of Missouri Southern State University will play at Gusano’s Pizza at the corner of 7th Street & Duquesne Road in Joplin from 6 – 8 p.m. on Friday, April 12 and Monday, April 15.

The evening will feature three MSSU Jazz combos performing jazz standards, bossa novas and contemporary jazz.

The performances will feature special guest soloist Wesley J. (Wes) Smith, an MSSU graduate and alumnus of the Southern Jazz Orchestra.

Smith will perform on Days of Wine & Roses, Tenor Madness, Corcovado, How High the Moon and others.

Wes Smith, a native of  Joplin, graduated from MSSU with a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance. While at MSSU, he toured and recorded several albums as a member of the Southern Jazz Orchestra.  As a student he was invited to perform with the MSSU Faculty Jazz Combo on their tour of Tortola, British Virgin Islands. He was also selected to play lead tenor in the first ever Missouri Music Educators All-Collegiate Jazz Ensemble held at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference in 1998.

Upon graduation, he obtain an M.M. in music performance from Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield. At MSU he served as the saxophone studio graduate assistant to Director of Jazz Studies. Randy Hamm.  Wes also has studied with Dr. Charles Thelen, Dr. Phillip C. Wise, Bobby Watson and Wes Anderson.

In demand as performer and educator,  Smith held the position of Music Department Chair at Messenger College in Joplin.

As a performer he has shared the stage with artists such as Shoji Tabuchi, Debbie Boone, Jay Daversa, Randy Brecker, Dick Oatts, Conrad Herwig, Darryl Ecsedy, Dwight Davis, Archie Wheeler, Bill Reeder, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ben E. King, Grammy Award winners Billy Hunt and Manhattan Transfer.

He currently performs as a woodwind player on the Branson Belle in Branson. He has many performing credits to his name including the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, performing for President George Bush, Marvin Hamlisch Presents the Sounds of the 70’s, The Way We Were PBS Special, The Lawrence Welk Show and Carnival Cruise Lines.

The concert is free and open to the public.  Seating will be limited.

To reserve seats, call Gusano’s at (417) 623.9090.  Ask to be seated by the MSSU Jazz Combos