SUMTER, S.C. – Heritage Blues Orchestra, a Grammy-nominated group that mingles several genres of music, will swing into the Sumter Opera House on Saturday (April 18) to close out the 2014-2015 concert series, ending the first such yearlong series for the storied venue in nearly 25 years. This will be the New York City-based ensemble's first performance in South Carolina, and its final performance in the United States before heading overseas for a busy European tour schedule.
Seth Reimer, the cultural manager for the city of Sumter, wanted a national cultural act to wrap up the live entertainment for the year. He said the timing was perfect, and comes on the heels of other acts that have normally shied away from venues seeking to break into the music scene.
"This group is driven. This group is serious. This group defines modern-era blues," Reimer said. "When I’ve listened to the album, the room is filled with that atmosphere. Feeling it live in the intimacy of the Sumter Opera House will be surreal. And, when you hear it, you quickly understand why America's music critics are in love with Heritage Blues Orchestra."
The debut album by the group, And Still I Rise, received the award for Best Debut Album by the Living Blues Critics Poll Awards and the Grammys. At the heart of the group is a broad spectrum of the blues and the longstanding musical mingling between America and Europe that brings together African-American music, Modern Jazz and Western European harmony.
The group is driven by the powerful rhythms of Grammy-awarding winning blues drummer Kenny Smith. Add in the precise and percussive rhythms of harmonica virtuoso, Frenchman Vincent Bucher, contributions from Bruno Wilhelm, the group’s highly esteemed tenor saxophonist and horn arranger, as well as some of New York City’s heaviest horn players who have worked with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Sting and Springsteen. This powerful instrumentation combined with Bill Simms, Jr., Chaney Sims, and Junior Mack’s collective history in jazz, R&B and gospel, helps articulate and underscore the Heritage Blues Orchestra’s striking voice.
The Sumter Opera House is located in downtown Sumter, just 40 miles east of Columbia. It was rebuilt in 1895 after a fire destroyed it. In 1973, it was officially listed on the National Register of Historical Places but closed a decade later. Capitalizing on the national growing movement toward downtown revitalization and historic preservation, the city reopened the Sumter Opera House in 1987 in its present form.
IF YOU GO:
What: Sumter Opera House presents Heritage Blues Orchestra
When: 7:30 pm April 18 (Saturday)
Where: Sumter Opera House, 21 North Main Street, Sumter, SC 29150
Cost: $28 Floor & Box; $24 Balcony
Info: 803-436-2616, http://www.sumtersc.gov/heritage-blues-orchestra.aspx