Arts briefs

SNL band leader plays Monday at Bunnell

Lenny Pickett, Saturday Night Live band director for the past 22 years, does a solo performance at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Bunnell Street Arts Center on June 5. Pickett is the artist-in-residence for the 10th annual Spenard JazzFest and the festival shares his talents with the people of Homer.

Saxophonist Pickett was the former leader of soul band Tower of Power’s horn section. He has appeared on recordings by David Bowie, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Mick Jagger, Katy Perry and many more. He also is a professor of jazz saxophone at New York University. Most recently, Pickett wrote the music for a ballet based on the 1967 documentary “Titicut Follies,” which exposed the harrowing conditions at a state prison for the criminally insane.

“Lenny Pickett is one of the most successful musicians working in the U.S. today. Moreover, he balances his commercial success with an artistic temperament and calling which drives him to experiment, innovate and share his discoveries with students,” said Yngvil Vatn Guttu, musician and Spenard JazzFest director. “The show at Bunnell Street Gallery will be a rare opportunity to see this brilliant musician up close and personal.”

Vatn Guttu met Pickett when she was a student at NYU and was fortunate enough to play in a band with him.

“Walking down the hallway on a particularly gray day in my first semester, my disillusionment with life and studies evaporated in an instant with the gutsy, uplifting sounds of Lenny’s band practicing in the big band room,” she said. “ He is a great role model and I am thrilled to share him with my fellow Alaskan Lenny fans.”

Spenard JazzFest is a multidisciplinary arts festival that celebrates music across all genres, with an emphasis on jazz. The festival, now in its tenth year, features accomplished musicians from Outside, emerging local music stars and established Anchorage greats. For more information, visit

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and can be purchased at Bunnell Street Arts Center or online at

HCOA celebrates Mary Epperson Day

Homer Council on the Arts celebrates Mary Epperson Day from noon-6 p.m. Tuesday with live entertainment, refreshments and a hula hoop-athon. Donate $25 or more to support the Yurt Expansion Project and be entered in a drawing to win a gift basket worth more than $300. Share stories about Mary Epperson and how art makes life better. Stop by and fill out a postcard to send to local legislators to encourage them to support the arts. The event also will be live-streamed on Facebook.

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