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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Jazz CD by Knox Cherry Street Combo

Combine four skilled student musicians -- who are also composers and award-winning performers -- with a director and legendary arranger whose credits include working with Ray Charles, and you've got "A Dedication," the new CD from Knox College's Cherry Street Combo.

All four members of the combo -- drummer Josh Calef '14, bassist Jake Hawrylak '13, pianist Kyle Kunkler '13 and trumpeter Nate Beck '13 -- contributed songs to the 10-track recording.

"When I heard the combo was writing, I said it would be good to get it recorded," said Hoffman, adjunct music faculty at Knox who worked for more than a decade as the trumpet/flugelhorn soloist and composer/arranger with the Ray Charles Orchestra. "We brought in some remote equipment and recorded right on campus."

"With everybody in the combo writing, and our excitement about everybody's writing, it wasn't hard to find material -- a few tunes from each one of us," said Kunkler. 

"Dave is so experienced, he knows just what the music needs," said Calef. Hoffman's CD, "Calmness of Spirit," won a Best New Age Album award from Independent Music Awards

Combo members worked together for several years while at Knox. "Our repertoire has grown and expanded," Calef said. "A lot happened organically. As more originals were being written, we also started doing pop and rock covers. I've targeted that as one of the areas where I want to grow."

An excerpt from A Dedication is available at the Knox YouTube site, and A Dedication is available from Amazon and iTunes.

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Printed on Sunday, October 1, 2023