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Published: Thursday, 4/14/2011 - Updated: 5 years ago

Toledo jazz legend to be honored

Toledo Jazz Orchestra co-founder Jimmy Cook died in ’08. Toledo Jazz Orchestra co-founder Jimmy Cook died in ’08.

It's appropriate that the Toledo Jazz Orchestra is paying tribute to Jimmy Cook in a Valentine Theatre concert Saturday night.

The Toledo jazz legend and trumpeter was a co-founder of the orchestra and a fixture in the band's concerts over the years, but he didn't receive a send-off by the group when he died in 2008 at the age of 78 because the orchestra was on hiatus.

"Everyone loved Jimmy and unfortunately when he passed, the next year we didn't have a season and he's a founding member of the band and he's touched everybody," said Scott Potter who played with Cook for 18 years in the orchestra. "He was just gifted beyond belief. He had such an ear and a love for playing."

Ron Kischuk, the orchestra's new musical director, said the show's program will highlight the 18-piece band's trumpet section to honor Cook. Singer Nate Gurley also will be part of the performance, and Johnny Trudell and Gene Parker will be featured.

Kischuk, is a performing artist and clinician for the Yamaha Corporation. He is on the faculty of Wayne State University teaching classical and jazz trombone and is a member of a number of different bands. He has worked with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra for years and recently took over as musical director.

He said his goal is to challenge the musicians with creative arrangements of music that also appeals to a relatively broad audience.

"I've subbed with the orchestra almost since it started and I've always felt like the band could be a lot better than it ever was," he said in a phone interview from Detroit, where he lives. "I want to see it more as a fine jazz orchestra no matter what instead of 'the Toledo Jazz Orchestra.' "

Tickets for Saturday's 8 p.m. concert are $15, $20, and $25. There is a $5 discount at any level for students. The Valentine is at 410 Adams St. in downtown Toledo.

Contact Rod Lockwood at rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.

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