Jazz Duo Entertains At Church Hall On Sunday

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The Payson Friends of Jazz and the Community Presbyterian Church present Mike Crotty and Deater O'Neill in concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 13.

The program is at the Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St., Payson.

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Mike Crotty and Deater O'Neill will perform in concert at the Community Presbyterian Church.

After graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Mike Crotty joined the Airmen of Note, the U.S. Air Force's premier jazz ensemble.

Serving as their writer and arranger, Crotty became widely recognized as one of the top professionals in the jazz field. He's arranged music for hundreds of albums and CDs, as well as for live performances by artists such as Clark Terry, Billy Taylor, Mel Lewis, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Ernie Watts, Randy Brecker and many other well known jazz musicians. A multi-instrumentalist, Crotty plays trumpet, flugelhorn, saxophones, woodwinds and keyboards.

He has also performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughn, Diana Ross and many other vocalists, including Deater O'Neill.

O'Neill began making her mark as a well-respected musician and jazz singer in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s. Her CD, "Turning Point," was described in The Washington Post as "elegant and eloquent," and her voice as "sensuous, sultry and sensitive."

O'Neill currently performs pops concerts with symphony orchestras, jazz trios and with Mike Crotty around the country.

O'Neill's big band guest appearances include the U.S. Air Force's Airmen of Note, The U.S. Navy Commodores, Larry Elgart, Charlie Spivak, Billy Butterfield, The Dorsey Brothers Band, Benny Goodman Band and four presidential Inaugural Balls.

Joining Crotty and O'Neill in their Payson performance is Beth Lederman, who is one of the most in-demand pianists in Arizona. Her fluid style of traditional and Latin jazz, coupled with her enthusiasm and extensive repertoire makes her a Valley favorite.

Bass player John Sims will also be joining the group. He was a member of the 2006 Arizona high school All-State jazz band and a member of the Young Sounds of Arizona big band as a student. He is currently attending Arizona State University on a full-ride scholarship, and performing in many university ensembles.

Local drummer Gerry Reynolds will round out the program. A well-respected big band and jazz combo musician, he works now with many of the top musicians in Arizona on a regular basis after leaving a career gig in higher education seven years ago.

The performance is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation at the door will help in subsidizing the costs of bringing high caliber musicians to Payson.

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