The Message

Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 7:30PM
Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge Hall


The Message is truly an all-star band. Its six members, Donald Harrison (alto saxophone), Billy Pierce, (tenor and soprano saxophones) Brian Lynch (trumpet), Zaccai Curtis (piano), Carl Allen (drums), and Avery Sharpe (bass), collectively have decades’ worth of experience delivering top-tier jazz performances live and on recordings. Four of the six members of The Message are alumni of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the iconic jazz band that played in various iterations from the fifties to 1990. All come together to revisit the Messengers’ swingin’, hard-bop tradition, with a focus on arrangements of Jazz Messenger pieces by such esteemed composers as Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Benny Golson, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard, but also always playing original compositions that respect the band’s roots. Taken altogether, The Message’s musical message is one that only gets better with age.

Pre-show talk in Bowker Auditorium at 6:30pm

Ticket Prices
$35, $25; Five College Students & Youth 17 and Under $10
Please call the Box Office to see if you or someone in your party is eligible for a discount.
Accessible Seating Available by calling the Box Office at 413-545-2511


“The Jazz Messengers” was the banner under which Art Blakey organized some of the most iconic bands in jazz history. Over the past 25 years, the ultra-busy jazz frontiersmen of The Message have gone on tour on occasion to revisit their hard-bop roots.
All the members of this edition of The Message are band leaders with long, robust, deeply individual careers, including countless world tours, Grammy awards, and professorships. They come together for one very special night in Amherst during Black History Month to celebrate the music of Blakey and the various aggregations he assembled under the Jazz Messenger rubric from 1954 to 1990. The band's musical director is alto-saxophonist Donald “Big Chief” Harrison, a New Orleans native. He is joined by Brian Lynch, a 2016 Grammy nominee, and Billy Pierce, a leading tenor saxophonist of his generation and a long-time professor at Berklee College, all Blakey alums from the 1980s, as well as Carl Allen, a drummer for all seasons and a Blakey protégé, and UMass alum Avery Sharpe on bass and Zaccai Curtis on piano. 
Coming soon
Performance Videos Coming Soon!


Florence Bank New England Public Radio