Jazzed about the Grammys

BOWLING GREEN, O.—A Bowling Green State University music faculty member has a hand in a 2012 Grammy-nominated album.

David Bixler, an assistant professor of jazz studies, arranged one of the songs on the album “40 Acres and a Burro” by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The album is a contender in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.

Bixler’s contribution to the album is an arrangement of the traditional Irish song “She Moves Through the Fair.” On the album jacket Bixler is called an “amazing composer, saxophonist. … It is not a stretch that this arrangement of a traditional Irish air is on our record. We believe the music we call jazz belongs to the planet and that beauty knows no borders or genres.” Additionally, Bixler’s arrangement, which starts with a violin solo by his wife, Heather Martin Bixler, is described as “achingly beautiful.”  It is the tale of a man whose wife tragically dies and he is constantly seeing her ghost, Bixler explained.

He has been a part of this musical genre for many years, performing with Arturo O’Farrill’s bands and with O’Farrill’s father, the legendary composer and musician Chico O’Farrill. 

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” Bixler said about the album and the Grammy nomination. This is the first year Latin jazz is not a separate category at the Grammy Awards; however, Bixler said the upside is that for the first time this genre of music moves into a mainstream category that is announced during the actual ceremony.

Bixler has also been part of another Grammy nomination. He played saxophone on Bobby Sanabria’s “Big Band Urban Folktales” album, which was up for Best Latin Jazz Recording in 2007.

Bixler joined the BGSU jazz studies faculty in 2008. He graduated from Indiana University in music performance, and after deciding he wanted to teach, he went on to receive a master’s degree in composition from Montclair (N.J.) State University.

 The telecast of the Grammy Awards ceremony is at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 on CBS.

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(Posted January 27, 2012 )