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Sammys tap Spadafore

— The Jazz Ensemble played several years in a row at the Syracuse Jazz Festival, and Spadafore formed the Liverpool B3 Combo which competed at the Next Generation Festival in Monterey, Calif., earning a second-place finish.

Thanks to the annual Jumpin’ Jazz Jams, which Spadafore helped establish in 1996, the Jazz Ensemble has performed with artists such as The New York Voices, guitarist John Pizzarelli, organist Joey DeFrancesco, vocalist Jane Monheit and trumpeter Terrance Blanchard.

As a freelance saxophonist, Spadafore often performs in pit bands for stage shows, and he presently plays in two big bands, The Salt City Jazz Collective and the Stan Colella Orchestra.

While Spadafore’s improvisational reed work is featured on several recordings, Jim remains most proud of his students, many of whom now play professionally. Those young musicians include drummer Greg Evans, guitarist J.P. Midgely, trombonist Melissa Gardiner, guitarist Tom Bronzetti, vocalist Nick Blaney and saxophonist David Carpenter.

Regardless of the level of their talents, Jim’s students all earned his praise. “I consider each of these students outstanding,” Spadafore said once at a student concert. “All of the kids have grown, and that’s how I measure success, not in how many trophies they’ve won.”

At Thursday’s ceremony, Spadafore will be sure to thank his three children, Joel, Crista and Samantha, and his significant other, Betsey, for all of their support. “They all inspire me each and every day,” he said.

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