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Suffolk Theater Kicks Off Jazz Appreciation Concerts Sunday

Month-long slate of swinging acts starts with Count Basie Orchestra this weekend.

The region's newest music and arts venue, The Suffok Theater, plans to play homage to all things swinging in April as it celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month with a slate of toe-tapping acts.

On Sunday, the theater will present the Count Basie Orchestra, the modern incarnation of one of the most iconic and recognizable big bands in jazz. Tickets to the show, which starts at 2 p.m., cost $35.

According to the theater, the Basie band will be making its Long Island debut with this concert, playing the music of the late composer, pianist and bandleader, William "Count" Basie.

Then, on April 15, the theater presents another big-band powerhouse, the Stan Kenton Alumni Band, at 8 p.m. Like the Basie band, this group consists of past players in the late bandleaders group, as well and other musicians looking to keep the legacy of Kenton alive. For those not familiar, Kenton's band usually highlights thick arrangements, a style traditionally dubbed the "wall of sound." Tickets cost $35.

On April 20, the theater will present "Flyin’ Home: A Lionel Hampton Birthday Tribute," led by percussionist Tito Puento Jr. The concert honors Hampton, who was one of the first prominent vibraphonists in jazz history. The concert starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $35.

Theater's jazz appreciation month wraps with a performance by the Vinnie Cutro Quartet playing the music of Duke Ellington on April 28 at 2 p.m. Those tickets cost $18.

The Suffolk Theater, long a landmark in Riverhead, opened in March after undergoing a complete renovation by new owners, Bob and Dianne Castaldi, who purchased it in 2005.

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