Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


September 7, 2004
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.


Fairfax, Virginia, September 10, 2004—This tribute to Latin jazz great Tito Puente is part of the university’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The program proves the DC area jazz scene’s newest member, the Metropolitan Jazz OrchestraM, is at ease with traditional jazz, Latin rhythms, salsa pieces and much more. The orchestra, under the direction of Jim Carroll, performs on Saturday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m., at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. This performance features local guitar legend and orchestra – and audience – favorite guest, Rick Whitehead. A pre-performance discussion – free to ticketholders – begins at 7:15 p.m. on the hall’s Grand Tier.
Tito Puente, the "King of Latin Music," won six GRAMMY awards in his lifetime, and his hit records and arrangements have become classics in Latin music as well as popular rock. Carlos Santana has recorded his music, and Puente's range extended to big band jazz and in the `60s, bossa nova tunes, Broadway hits, boogaloos, and pop music. In later years he tended to stick with older Latin jazz styles that became popularly known as salsa. The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra is quickly making a name for itself with tradtional jazz and big band interpretations, certainly of the kind made popular by the "King of Latin Music."

Rick Whitehead was the featured guitar soloist for the USAF Band's Airmen of Note Jazz Ensemble for 22 years and toured throughout the world with the group. Heard on more than 30 recordings, Whitehead has performed with notables in jazz like vocalists Joe Williams and Sarah Vaughan and guitarists Mundell Lowe, Johnny Smith, and Roy Clark. He also worked with Dianne Schuur, Billy Taylor and Charlie Byrd. Whitehead performs often In the Washington Metro area, at venues like Blues Alley, the Smithsonian's IMAX Jazz Café, the IOTA Club, and as a regular in the Basin Street Lounge at the 219 Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. This past year Whitehead has been a featured soloist with the Georgetown University Jazz Ensemble, and in July appeared with his trio in concert at the Washington National Cathedral. His first CD "Live in Captivity" with members of his trio, John Previti on bass and drummer, Barry Hart, won the Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Award in 1998 for best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra director Jim Carroll’s career has included performances at Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, the White House, the Kennedy Center and the Royal Albert Hall, among others. Carroll has worked with Michael Jackson, Nancy Wilson, Maynard Ferguson, Billy Taylor, Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterwork Orchestra and others. He teaches at the Jamey Abersold jazz clinics and is Director of Jazz Studies at George Mason University.

Tickets for the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra’s Tribute to Tito Puente on Saturday, October 2, ARE $36, $28, $18. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.