02.25.09

SCHUMER CONGRATULATES LOCAL JAZZ BAND ALBUM & PRODUCER AFTER BIG GRAMMY WIN - AWARD TO BRING RECOGNITION AND FUNDING TO LOCAL BANDS AND PROMOTE ARTISTS IN THE AREA

Catskill-Based Record Label Honored at 2009 Grammy Awards for Vanguard Jazz Band Live Recording AlbumAlbum Producer Hopes Win Will Help Fund Local Bands and Arts Programs Struggling from Decreased State FundingIn Personal Letter, Schumer Congratulates Band and Vows to Continue to Promote the Arts

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today congratulated the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and its producer in a personal letter for their Grammy Award win for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. The Catskillbased label won the award for their live rendition of "Monday Night at the Village Vanguard," recorded by the New York City based band. The studio hopes the recognition that comes with winning the award will help the company move forward with its current projects.
 
To recognize and honor the band for its accomplishments, Senator Schumer wrote a letter to the band congratulating them on their recent Grammy win and pledging to continue to support the arts.
 
"A Grammy is the crèmedelacrème of musical awards and the entire Vanguard Jazz ensemble should be extremely proud of their accomplishments," said Schumer. "I am so glad that these two New York based groups were able to come together to make such a fantastic album. This honor will help bring recognition to our great state and help promote local artists in New York City and the HudsonCatskill area."
 
Established by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis in 1975, the Vanguard Orchestra has been entertaining audiences every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York City for over three decades. 
 
At the 51 st annual Grammy Awards this month, the Vanguard Orchestra won a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz ensemble album for their live recording of "Monday Night at the Village Vanguard." The album was produced by Athens resident Tom Bellino and his Catskillbased recorded label, Planet Arts.
 
Bellino hopes his album's Grammy will help his company advance current projects and bring recognition to other local artists that he works with. Arts programs and companies have recently seen dramatic decreases in federal funding and Bellino's win could help attract more artists who create a wide variety of music to the Catskill region. Throughout his career, Bellino has built successful partnerships with many of the best Jazz artists in New York.
 
Senator Schumer has historically promoted the arts across New York State. In his congratulatory letter to Bellino and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Schumer vowed to continue to endorse the arts in the future.
 
In the letter he wrote, "This is another great example of the results that can be achieved when Upstate and Downstate New York work together. These are the types of relationships that I have tried to promote throughout my career in the U.S. Senate and the importance of supporting the arts is something that I will continue to work for in the future." 
 
A full copy of the letter is below
 
 
 
Mr. Thomas Bellino
Planet Arts
POB 387
Catskill, NY 12414
 
 
Dear Tom, the Vanguard Orchestra, and all the people at Plant Arts,
 
            Please accept my enthusiastic congratulations as you celebrate your special win at the 51st Annual Grammys.  On that day Plant Arts and the Vanguard Orchestra received worldwide recognition by receiving the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble.  This award is an accomplishment you now share with the best of Jazz including legends such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Count Basie.
 
            Let me share why this Grammy is truly special.  Established by the great Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, for 33 years the Vanguard Orchestra has amazed audiences every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York City.  Away from the highpressure world of major labels, since 2002 Tom Bellino and Plant Arts Recordings located Catskill, NY have built incredible partnership with many of the best Jazz artists in New York.  The fruits of this special partnership continue to deliver and now in the form of worldclass recognition for their 2008 release "Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard."  This relationship perfectly exemplifies the results that can be achieved when Upstate and Downstate New York work together.
 
            These are the types of relationships that I have tried to promote throughout my career in the U.S. Senate and the importance of supporting the arts is something that I will continue to work for in the future.  Whether it was naming the U.S. Post Office on 124th Street in New York City in honor Latinjazz great Tito Puente in 2006 or my strong support of the National Endowment for the Arts, I've always remembered we can't forget the universal need for art in everyday life.
 
To Tom, the members the Vanguard Orchestra, and the hard working people of Plant Arts, on behalf of all New Yorkers congratulations on your win at the 51st Annual Grammys.  I wish you the best of luck in the future.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
 
Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator



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