All-star concert marks release of Salerno’s ZIJI disc

Faculty and alumni of UW-Green Bay’s music program will be out in force for a concert at 7 p.m. Sunday night, Sept. 26, marking the release of a new CD by instructor Christine Salerno and her band, ZIJI.

Christine Salerno

Christine Salerno

The show takes place at the historic Meyer Theatre on Washington Street in downtown Green Bay. Admission is $10 for the general public, $5 for students.

The CD release concert is in celebration of the collection “711,” with the band and guest artists performing selections from the disc.

“I’ve been working on this for 12 years!” Salerno says. “It began with a couple of tracks in Tamarac, Florida, traveled to Boulder, Colorado, and then finished up in Green Bay at Made Ya Look studios. It’s a CD of mostly originals, with many family dedications.”

Salerno directs UW-Green Bay’s vocal jazz program. With ZIJI, she provides songwriting, keyboard and vocals to the group which blends Brazilian and contemporary jazz influences. Core members of the ensemble also include Danny Lueck on drums, John Gibson on bass and John Croarkin on flute.

Supporting the group at the Meyer Theatre concert will be UW-Green Bay faculty members including Profs. Adam Gaines (trumpet), Stefan Hall (guitar) and John Salerno (saxophone and flute). John is Christine’s husband and director of the jazz studies program. Additional players with UW-Green Bay ties will be alumni Jennifer Scovell-Parker and Woody Mankowski on vocals, and current student Ben Hogan on percussion.

Cover of ZIJI new CD 711

Christine Salerno says the CD title, “711,” represents a lucky number for her family and happens to be their current address. She wrote most of the songs herself, and nearly every one has a family tie.

“One song, ‘Broken Heart,’ was written by my father, Harley Paquin, who died in 1983. I found it in a box a couple of years ago,” she said. “I also re-worked a song that my mother-in-law, Angie Salerno (now 93), wrote when she was in her 20s.

“I have songs dedicated to my husband — ‘Stars That Shine (711)’ — and a song for my son Frankie, ‘You Are Here,’ that I wrote shortly after he was born, a song for my son Antonio, ‘Diddles,’ which used to be his nickname, for my mom, Jeanie Paquin, called ‘Crooked Lake,’ which is where I grew up near Kalamazoo, Mich., and a song ‘Kathy De S’Antonio’ dedicated to my late cousin, Kathy Mason-Hodges, a wonderful pianist who died in 1998 from breast cancer.”

Among musicians who contributed to the CD were award-winning flute and sax player Nelson Rangell, a nationally known artist who headlined UW-Green Bay’s annual Jazz Fest a few years back. Gospel singer Ken Daniel from Milwaukee provided vocals on one track, as did vocalist Gerry Ellis, a former Green Bay Packers running back (“He has an awesome voice,” says Salerno). Alumni of the UW-Green Bay music program heard on “711” are ZIJI member Lueck on percussion, Scovell-Parker, Mankowski, Kip Kuepper and Leala Cyr-Vogt on vocals, and Ricardo Vogt on guitar and vocals.

The UW-Green Bay collaborations extend to the CD cover. Prof. Sarah Detweiller of Arts and Visual Design was the photographer and student Jason Houge was the graphic designer. (The cover art is a pastel drawing by local artist Terry Stanley of ZIJI’s concert last July at Whitney Park in Green Bay.)

Tickets for the Sept. 26 Meyer Theatre concert are available at the door.

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