NJO to feature 5 guest artists in 2012

By JEFF KORBELIK / Lincoln Journal Star | Aug 23, 2012

Dean Haist attended a birthday party and came away with a guest artist for Nebraska Jazz Orchestra’s new season. Drummer Bernie Dresel celebrated his 50th birthday performing a concert at a small Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. In attendance was Haist, the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra executive director.

“(Dresel) played a tribute to Buddy Rich,” Haist said. “I was sitting down front and was able to enjoy all those fun charts.”

Haist chatted with Dresel during the event and asked about his availability to play with NJO. The drummer will help the orchestra open its 2012-13 season in September.

Dresel is one of five guest artists playing with NJO this season. The others include trumpet player Willie Murillo, vocalists Becky Martin and Jackie Allen, and alto saxophonist Bobby Watson.

“We have a great season, with outstanding guest artists who really know their music,” Haist said. “We’re delighted to be working with them. We’re hoping it will be a positive thing with our audiences.”

And with corporate sponsors, too, he said.

NJO hasn’t yet landed all the help it needs to finance its season.

“Things are difficult out there,” he said. “We’re working to find sponsors for our concerts and guest artists. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that things are going to work out.”