Young jazz musicians selected for summer concert series

The Nash announces its “Catch A Rising Star” summer concert series featuring performances by young Arizona jazz artists.  The musicians range from high school to recent college graduates between ages of 18-24, who either are based or were raised in Arizona.

Curated by The Nash, this series provides a platform for these emerging artists to gain prominence in the jazz community. All “Catch a Rising Star” musicians are offered a clinic by an experienced local jazz educator in advance of their performance at The Nash.

This concert series melds the educational mission of The Nash and its non-profit parent organization, Jazz in AZ to develop jazz musicians for the future along with providing an entertaining concert series for the summer, according to a press release.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $8 for students. All concerts will be at The Nash, 110 E. Roosevelt in Phoenix. More information is available at

Alan Acosta: 7:30-10 p.m. on Friday, July 9

Alto saxophonist Alan Acosta is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree from Arizona State University, where he studies with Bryon Ruth, Mike Kocour, and Jeff Libman, according to the release.

Alan Acosta (Submitted photo)

Alan Acosta (Submitted photo)

While attending Sunnyside High School in Tucson, Mr. Acosta was twice an All State jazz musician. From seventh to 12th grade, he was member of the Tucson Jazz Institute under the tutelage of Brice Winston, Scott Black, and Doug Tidaback. He performed with the TJI’s top ensemble, the Ellington Big Band, which took first place in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival in both 2013 and 2014.

With ensembles from the Tucson Jazz Institute, Mr. Acosta has twice toured Europe and also twice performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, according to the release. Already a busy freelance musician, he can be frequently seen performing in the greater Phoenix metro area and beyond.

Nathan Bitter: 7:30-10 p.m. on Friday, July 24

17-year-old Nathan Bitter is a rising senior at Highland High School in Gilbert.

0701TPV Entertainment (The NASH Bitter)He is a member of the concert band, jazz band, symphony, and marching band. Mr. Bitter has been in the top All-State Jazz Band twice, and has also been a member of the All-State Band and All-State Orchestra, according to the release.

In addition to trombone, he also plays piano and is the drum major for the Highland High School marching band. He hopes to continue playing trombone throughout his life.

Ira Hill: 7:30-10 p.m. on Friday, July 31

Ira Hill is a young jazz vocalist whose influences include everyone from Jon Hendricks to Frank Sinatra, Mark Murphy to Mel Torme, according to the release.

0701TPV Entertainment (The NASH Hill)He has performed in jazz venues such as Catalina’s in Hollywood, Upstairs at Vitello’s in Los Angeles, The Lighthouse in Redondo Beach and The Garage in New York. Being from Phoenix, his mentors include Grammy nominated pianist and vocalist Judy Roberts and Grammy nominated Count Basie vocalist Dennis Rowland, according to the release.

His first studio album, produced by Cheryl Bentyne of The Manhattan Transfer is set for release in the future.

Alex Young: 7:30-10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13

Alto saxophonist Alex Young is a recent graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies, according to the release.

0701TPV Entertainment (The NASH Young)Mr. Young has studied with Bryon Ruth, Mike Kocour, Ralph Lalama, and Dave Pietro. He has performed at The Nash, the Lost Leaf, Winfields, Club Congress, and the Vig. He has shared the stage with musicians such as Gabe Hall Rodriguez, Jacob Eary, and Aleks Izotov, and he has performed with the Arizona Jazz Masterworks Orchestra under the direction of Fred Forney.

Mr. Young cites alto saxophonists Cannonball Adderley and Dave Binney as influences, according to the release.

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