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Jazz "Crusader" Merrilee Trost Feted in Music

Jazz "crusader" Merrilee Trost will be celebrated with jazz at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on Tuesday, Nov. 1

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The Jazzschool is proud to present "A Tribute to Bay Area Jazz Crusader Merrilee Trost," a special concert honoring Merrilee with music by some of her favorite performers and friends.

The event will take place at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on Tuesday, November 1, at 8:00 pm.

"Merrilee is beloved by the entire Bay Area jazz community," says Susan Muscarella, Executive Director of Jazzschool, Inc. "She has worked tirelessly and unconditionally to promote jazz for most of her adult life — simply because she loves the music. She has served as both mentor and mother to so many of us in the field. We at The Jazzschool would like to show our love and appreciation for all that she has done to bring our Bay Area jazz community together by paying this tribute to her on November 1."

Featured artists include the Marcos Silva Quartet (with Mary Fettig, reeds; Scott Thompson, bass; Phil Thompson, drums); the Mimi Fox Trio (with Bill Douglass, bass; Akira Tana, drums); vocalist Dee Bell; the All-Star Group (with Wayne Wallace, trombone; Anton Schwartz, tenor saxophone; Mike Olmos, trumpet; David Mathews, piano; Marcus Shelby, bass; Akira Tana, drums); Clairdee with the Ken French Trio (Ruth Davies, bass; Jim Zimmerman, drums); and vocalist Denise Perrier (with David Mathews, Marcus Shelby, Akira Tana). Special surprise guest artists will be featured as well.

Wayne Saroyan, founder/editor of JazzWest.com, will emcee.

Merrilee was born in Stillwater, OK in 1929 and raised in Kansas City, MO. She married in 1950 and raised seven daughters all over the U.S. While living in Birmingham, MI, in 1969, she began a big band jazz series in the local high school's brand-new auditorium — and her jazz career was born. The first artist she presented was Buddy Rich, followed over the next five years by George Shearing, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others.

In 1969, at the age of 40, Trost recalls, "I fell down the rabbit hole into the magical world of jazz. I had no idea that it would take over my life. I'm so lucky to have been involved in something I love for more than 40 years, and to have met the most interesting, creative, and exciting people in the whole universe — those who inhabit the jazz world."

In 1979, a few years after relocating to the Bay Area, Merrilee was introduced by Brubeck to Carl Jefferson, owner of Concord Jazz Records. Initially she was hired part-time to do "whatever no one else wanted to do." In the 12 years she worked at the label, "I learned every phase of the record business — working with art directors and liner note writers, A&R, booking, publishing. In our spare time we put on the annual Concord Jazz Festival!"

At the time she left Concord in 1992, she was Vice President of Publicity and Promotions. Subsequently she served as road manager for pianist Judy Carmichael, worked for manager/agent Lupe DeLeon, helped establish Monarch Records, and spent seven years as The Jazzschool's publicist.

In the early 2000s, Trost and Bud Spangler began co-producing the popular Jazz at Filoli concert series in the beautiful garden setting of the Filoli Mansion in Woodside. She has been a paid staffer at the Monterey Jazz Festival since 1984, working in the production office in communications — for the Next Generation Festival each spring and the jazz festival itself each September. An ageless octogenarian, Trost is a frequent international traveler and the proud grandmother of seven boys and six girls.

"The Merrilee Trost Tribute Concert" promises to be a memorable evening of music and jazz community. Tickets are $24.50 in advance, $26.50 at the door, and may be purchased online at www.thefreight.orgor by calling 510.644.2020.

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