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Joe Riposo's new jazz tune recalls Three Rivers Inn

Downtown After Dark

“Those new charts were a challenge,” he said. “They kept us fresh. It was fun.”

Sal Nistico remembered

“Sal Nistico and I traveled to many jobs together, and we’d get talking about improvisation,” Riposo remembered. The two Syracuse saxmen had noticed that when kids first start to play, they improvised naturally. “But then after they started talking lessons, their teachers would lay down all the rules and before long their playing became too structured, too mechanical. So Sal and I would say that to improvise you had to do it through a child’s eyes.”

Or ears, as the case may be.

And that’s how the title to Riposo’s new composition pays tribute to the old Three Rivers Inn, which brought so much great music to CNY while stirring the creative juices of blossoming jazz giants including Riposo himself, who’s now director of jazz studies at Syracuse University.

Two big bands Sunday

“Through a Child’s Eyes” will be performed by the Morton Schiff Syracuse University Jazz Ensemble at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at Sheraton Syracuse University, 801 University Ave. The students’ set will be followed by the CNY Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Bret Zvacek, playing music from its CD, “Then, Now and Again.”

The SU Jazz Ensemble, under Riposo’s direction, will play three new works for college jazz orchestras commissioned by CNY Jazz and funded by Gregg Lambert, founding director of the SU Humanities Center; Rob Enslin of SU’s College of Arts & Sciences; and Paul Merrill of Cornell University.

Admission to Sunday’s double-bill cost $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Students get in for $15; 479-JAZZ.

During the intermission, saxophonist Joe Carello will be presented with the Jazz Educator of the Year Award. A Syracuse native, Carello has fronted the Syracuse Department of Parks and Recreation’s Stan Colella All Star Band since 2003.

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