The ArtsCenter and the Triangle Jazz Orchestra will host a big band concert to celebrate the life of Phil Bushnell, a musician and founding member of the band, on Oct. 10.
Bushnell, who died in July, was the band’s lead saxophonist. “Big Band Night: A Celebration of Phil Bushnell” gathers friends, family and music enthusiasts to honor Bushnell and the music he loved.
The Big Band Night is free and open to the public and will take place at The ArtsCenter from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. All donations will go to the Triangle Land Conservancy.
The Triangle Jazz Orchestra has been bringing big band jazz to the local community for 15 years. The band is driven and directed by all the participating musicians and doesn't have just one sole director.
Stan Levy, a tenor saxophonist, has been with the band since it started in 2003 – when they were still rehearsing in a fellow member’s living room. Levy said Bushnell was a true source of energy behind the band, and this energy will be upheld at the lively and positive event.
“The goal is to remember him in a positive way,” Levy said. “This is not a mourner’s gathering.”
Levy said the band will perform a diverse set list, complete with Elvis, 1970s music and some of Bushnell's favorite big band tunes.
A vocalist and 20 musicians will perform classic American jazz music in traditional big band style. John Curry, an alto saxophone player in the group, said dancing is encouraged. He said the goal of the concert is to celebrate Bushnell's life and bring together the people who knew him.
“It’s a good way to pay tribute to him because music was one of his main interests,” Curry said. “It was a source of a lot of joy for him over the years.”
Bushnell was involved in more than just the Triangle Jazz Orchestra. Curry said he was the president of The Village Band and was actively involved with the Triangle Land Conservancy. He said Bushnell spent a lot of time helping people get involved in music.
Tom Dalsimer, a trombone player in the Triangle Jazz Orchestra, said he fondly remembers getting beers after gigs with Bushnell and the band. This night aims to celebrate Bushnell in the way he and the band knew best.
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