PORTLAND – The Portland Symphony Pops will swing into spring with the Count Basie Big Band Bash at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3, Merrill Auditorium.

Music Director Toshiyuki Shimada conducts the PSO Pops, joined by Five Cylinder Jazz, a quintet made up of PSO musicians and their colleagues who have been playing together for more than 20 years.

Count Basie’s band was considered the model for ensemble rhythm and tonal balance in Big Band style. Celebrating the 100th birthday of the legendary bandleader, the PSO has commissioned five arrangements of classic Basie favorites from Richard DeRosa, director of jazz composition and arranging at William Paterson University. These arrangements, written for the PSO and Five Cylinder Jazz to play together, showcase the versatility and energy of Count Basie’s most memorable tunes: “April in Paris,” “Shiny Stockings” and “Moten Swing” and more. The program will also include individual performances by both the orchestra and Five Cylinder Jazz.

Five Cylinder Jazz is an ensemble of friends. In 1983, PSO trombonist Mark Manduca realized that his busy playing and teaching schedules were preventing him from getting together with some of his closest colleagues in the music business.

So he formed a new ensemble which brought these people together as often as possible. Made up of Manduca, saxophonist David Demsey and drummer Ron Bouffard, bassist John Hunter, and pianist and singer Janet Reeves, Five Cylinder Jazz exhibits musicianship and sheer enjoyment at each performance.

Tickets may be purchased through PortTix, (207) 842-0800, or at the PortTix box office at 20 Myrtle St., Portland, ME, between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tickets: $15 to $53 for adults with discounts for students, seniors, children and groups. Tickets may also be purchased online, www.porttix.com. For group sales, contact PSO (207) 773-6128.

For more information about the Portland Symphony Orchestra, its events and activities, visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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