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St. Lawrence News

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St. Lawrence University Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics Dan Gagliardi has teamed up with Bill Vitek, professor of philosophy at Clarkson University to release an album of jazz standards and originals, titled A Fine Line. Gagliardi plays bass; Vitek, piano.

Gagliardi joined the faculty after receiving his Ph. D. from North Carolina State University in 2003. His work in mathematics is focused on graph theory and Lie algebra, and he will host an international math conference at St. Lawrence this fall. Gagliardi started out as a musician and won a scholarship to study double-bass at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He has played professionally for many years with some big names in jazz, including Tom Harrell, Bruce Barth and Steve Hobbs. His music career was put on hold after sustaining an injury which prevented him from playing bass for over a year. Gagliardi then turned his attention to math, and after college he worked at IBM for 10 years as a software engineer. He earned his master's degree from New Mexico State University in 1993 and taught at Manhattan College in New York City from 1993 to 1997.

Vitek has been playing music since his undergraduate days at Union College. After graduating in 1979, he studied jazz piano with Crane School of Music alum Frank Stagnitta, and worked as a musician for many years in the Albany area, going on to record three albums of jazz nursery rhymes with Albany musician Josh Greenberg. Their recordings have won a number of awards, including the Family Life's Critic's Choice Award, an American Library Association "Notable Children's Recording" citation and The Oppenheim Gold Seal Best Audio Award. Vitek has played professionally around the North Country since his arrival in 1987.

"It’s such a pleasure to share our love of the great American songbook with our audiences," Vitek says, "and to demonstrate the musical forms and structures specific to jazz."

Vitek and Gagliardi have been playing together for two years. Since their first gig together, they have worked to create melodies that celebrate the duo rather than music that vaunts the soloist. The twosome’s tunes move easily from hard, driving swing to open ballads, and the players are always listening and responding to each other. The duo also regularly plays with young musicians from Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, and share the experience of their three decades in the music business with the performers, offering a kind of "on-the-bandstand education" that can’t be found in music school.

"The jobs of musician and professor both have an element of performance," says Vitek. "Whether in front of a lecture hall of students, one’s peers or on a coffee house stage, Dan and I enjoy the challenge of engaging an audience."

"We’re so very fortunate," says Gagliardi, "to be intellectually challenged and rewarded in our day jobs as teachers and academics, and to be able to have so much fun playing the music we love after hours."

To purchase a copy of A Fine Line or to learn more about their performance schedule, contact Vitek@clarkson.edu.

Buy a copy of A Fine Line and listen to mp3 samples at Northcountrydigital.com

Listen to an interview with Gagliardi and Vitek on North Country Public Radio

Posted: August 25, 2005

 


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