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Composer's influences remain apparent

June 24, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and The Harpers Ferry Historical Association will host the third annual Don Redman Heritage Awards and Concert at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 26, in the West Virginia town.

The event will be on the grounds of the Mather Training Center, formerly Storer College, one of the first schools founded to educate freed slaves after the Civil War. It flourished for almost 90 years, and its campus is preserved as part of the park.

Redman, a 1920 graduate of Storer College, often was called the "Little Giant of Jazz" because of his small stature - he was 5 feet 4 inches tall - and his huge contribution to the genre. He is known as the first great arranger in jazz history.

The evening will feature jazz trumpeter Clark Terry, bassist Cleveland Eaton and the Howard Burns Quartet.

On the musical program is Redman's "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You," a tune performed by artists from Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole to Eva Cassidy and Diana Krall.

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"It's crossed so many genres," said Todd Bolton, event coordinator and branch chief of visitor services at the park.

Although he's kind of gotten lost to history with the public, Bolton said, Redman's musical impact was huge. He still influences the way things are today.

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