APEX Ensemble, a sizable jazz-funk ensemble of noteworthy Vermont musicians – known for its compelling interpretations of Stevie Wonder’s classic 1976 album, “Songs in the Key of Life” – serves up a program of all-Vermont music Feb. 24 at the intimate Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe. Led by woodwind musician and Moreton native Dan Liptak, 31, a rising star on the Vermont jazz scene, the 11-piece group will be blending, bending and blurring such genres as jazz, big band, rock and world music. They’ll perform compositions by the likes of Brian Boyes of Plainfield, Erik Nielsen of Brookfield, Patricia Julien of Burlington, Ira Friedman of Montpelier, Bruce Sklar of West Windsor, Kyle Saulnier of Burlington/New York City, and Rob Morse of East Montpelier. Sklar, Julien, Friedman, Nielsen and Boyes will all be in attendance or performing in the concert, and will participate in a meet-and-greet in the lobby after the show. Composers performing in the show include Boyes on trumpet and Friedman on piano and keyboards. The rest of the band includes Liptak on tenor and soprano sax, Evan Crandell on alto sax and flute, Jessica Friedman on baritone sax and bass clarinet, Nate Reit on trombone, Matt Harpster on guitar, Pat Markley on bass, Nic Cannizzaro and Andy Gagnon on percussion, and vocalist Stefanie Weigand. In addition to teaching instrumental music at Crossett Brook Middle School in Duxbury, Liptak – who moved back to Moretown after graduating from the prestigious Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn. – plays in the new music ensemble TURNmusic and the eclectic world music-driven collective Big Bang Bhangra Brass Band, led by Boyes. Liptak formed APEX Ensemble – which “features Vermont’s best non-traditional musicians,” according to a press release – five years ago as a 10-piece instrumental group that fuses jazz, rock and funk and performs music by a variety of composers. Band members also perform in such freewheeling big bands as Saturn People’s Sound Collective, Movement of the People and the Renegade Groove, in addition to Too Hot to Handle, Afinque, Kat Wright, the Vermont Jazz Ensemble and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. “I’m super excited about this concert,” says Liptak about the Spruce Peak show, “as it’s giving a voice to a few Vermont composers who don’t have a group like this to showcase their music.”   Spruce Peak Performing Arts APEX Ensemble performs Works by Vermont Composers at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe. Tickers are $20 advance, $25 day of show; call 802-760-4634, or go online to www.sprucepeakarts.org.

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