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Celeste Shearer and Dena Kay Jones celebrate their new CD with two concerts

Sep 14, 2021

The first thing one sees on the website of composer James Grant is his invitation to “connect and collaborate.” And that’s exactly what he and local musicians Celeste Shearer (horn, Dena Kay Jones (piano) and Jim Shearer (tuba) did to create their new album, “Sultry and Eccentric: The Music of James Grant.”

The two Jims (Grant and Shearer) have known each other for more than 25 years; eventually they and their wives spent several working vacations together at the Grants’ lakeside home in Canada. Out of those visits came the idea for this new cd, with many works originally written for tuba now re-written for horn for Celeste Shearer. Most of the cd features the horn and piano; one work includes the tuba. The musicians will perform several of the works at two cd release concerts on Friday, Sept. 17 and Saturday, Sept. 18 (details below).

“What I’m really excited about is that we’re going to be playing a lot of really pretty music,” said Celeste Shearer in this Zoom interview with Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin and the other musicians. “The collaboration part of it is almost like magic when I sit down with Dena,” Celeste said. “Dena and Jim are just outstanding musicians that it all just falls into place.”

Jim Shearer said the project started from “a place of friendship as well as great musicianship.” All of them were particularly drawn to Grant’s music. “It feels really great in my soul when I play music with Jim and Celeste, of course, but from this composer in particular,” said Dena Kay Jones.

The concerts are Friday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall on the NMSU campus; the following night, Saturday, Sept. 18, they’ll perform at 7:30 at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall. In addition to making sultry and eccentric music together, Celeste Shearer is the band teacher at Mesa Middle School, Jones is a music professor at UTEP, and Jim Shearer is a music professor at NMSU. You can hear the whole interview here:

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