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Letter of Support

“Dear Jeff,

I just wanted to write you in appreciation for the wonderful Excellence Concert Series.

Ever since I took a few music classes at the University of Utah I have been an active fan of both classical and jazz music.  I even recorded and broadcast a few jazz concerts at KUER at the ripe age of 19.  After graduation I moved on to Europe and the east coast, remaining outside the west until one year ago.

I was fortunate enough to live for many years in Manhattan a few blocks from the Lincoln center, where I was a contributing member of the Metropolitan Opera and was able to take in myriads of jazz concerts all over New York.

In New York I frequented concerts from Clark Terry and the Jazz Allstars, Gerry Mulligan, Wynton Marsalis, Nicolas Payton, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder just to name a few, often in such intimate settings as the Rainbow Room or the Blue Note.  I was a regular attendee at the Sunday brunch gigs led by the jazz great Doc Cheatham at Sweet Basils, where legendary artists and singers would just show up in the audience and occasionally be called to the stage for one or two numbers.

For years I had a vacation home on a lake in the hills near the big apple, equipped with a large stage where visiting musicians (mostly from Brazil) would often play.

While living for several decades in Munich I made a habit of visiting London and Paris for the jazz gigs, it was there I learned that accomplished jazz musicians were one of America’s great export products. Musicians in Europe enjoy better pay and benefits than in the states, where even great musicians must juggle between studio gigs, concerts, recording and teaching just to get by.

Recently we moved to Salt Lake from Munich, and I was so surprised and overwhelmed with the outstanding level of musicianship, professionalism and enthusiasm on display with the Excellence Concert Series.

Based on 40 years of attending jazz gigs and concerts, in my opinion I have never heard better music anywhere.  I find the high level of competence astounding, and the flexibility to very successfully feature such a wide range of different styles and historical eras – from Latin to swing, to bossa-nova to avant-garde, from Mexican to Dixieland and fusion.

Also amazing is that this concert series is free to the public, with generous sponsors who obviously believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the finest in music.  This level of performance is normally only available for a price, in fact a relatively steep ticket price, in New York, London or Paris, with the exception of a few free outdoor concerts paid for by local governments.

I was disappointed to observe that the local tourist board, the local hotels and tourist industry somehow seem relatively unaware of this concert series, which is also relatively little known among the general public and the education system.  Utah as a major tourist magnet ought to feature this concert series more prominently, and also spread the word among the citizens and the universities, who would certainly be quite enthusiastic about it once they experience it.”

THANK YOU for doing such an “excellent” job with the Excellence Series!

B.H. – 2019