Chris Washburne & SYOTOS on stage at Bard

Chris Washburne & the SYSTOS band

Even for a Valentine’s Day special concert, don’t expect something unchallenging or conventionally crowdpleasing at Bard. It’s a different crowd. On Friday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m., the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts welcomes Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS jazz band, a long-running New York City institution that renders Latin jazz as 20th-century chamber music, exploring advanced harmony, polyrhythm and adventurous ensemble counterpoint in ways that you might fail to notice due to the unfailingly burning grooves. In a concession to lovers on their special day, Washburne and SYOTOS will be joined on this date by vocalist Claudette Sierra.

SYOTOS’ name is an acronym for “See you on the other side.” It refers to a time in 1992 when Washburne was diagnosed with severe nerve cancer and told that he had only a 50/50 chance of surviving an operation, but no chance whatsoever of playing the trombone again. He insisted that before going into the hospital he play one more gig. After the show, he turned to his bandmates and said, “See you on the other side.” Washburne survived the operation, but was left with severe nerve loss and damage to one side of his face. Proving the experts wrong, he managed to remaster his instrument.

The concert takes place at the Fisher Center’s Theater Two. Tickets cost $20 and are available at the Fisher Center box office at or by calling (845) 758-7900.

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