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National Jazz Museum in Harlem Events, March, 2010

In March 2010, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem presents public programming that brings jazz fans closer to artists—emerging to living masters—that embody the art form that defines America to itself and to the world.

Our live performance series, Harlem in the Himalayas, features three forward-thinking musical leaders grounded in the lessons of their forebears, yet who are only bound by the limits of their imaginations. Come see the boundless future their music beholds at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Come engage in conversation with Terry Teachout, author of a celebrated new bio of Louis Armstrong, at Jazz for Curious Readers, and find out details on the controversial 2009 Wall Street Journal article in which he lamented the declining audience for jazz.


Harlem Speaks, our flagship series, features recent NEA Jazz Master awardee Kenny Barron and trombonist Dick Griffin, whose career encompasses all from mainstream jazz to the avant-garde.

Art Blakey, the drum master who led one of the premier jazz ensembles of the 20th century, is the sole focus of our month long Jazz for Curious Listeners (JCL) series and a special Saturday panel discussion. Museum co-director Christian McBride will lead two of the free JCL sessions, and will spearhead a tribute to Herbie Hancock at Stanford University in California as well.

Come to listen, learn, engage and swing!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners The Big Beat: Art Blakey
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey is undoubtedly one of the most influential and beloved percussionists and band leaders in the history of the music called jazz, his signature rolls and bandstand power accentuating the bandstands of countless groups as a sideman, and as leader of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

The Jazz Messengers was a major incubator for young talent. A list of the band's alumni is a who's who of straight-ahead jazz from the '50s on – Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny Griffin, Jackie McLean, Donald Byrd, Bobby Timmons, Cedar Walton, Benny Golson, Joanne Brackeen, Billy Harper, Valery Ponomarev, Bill Pierce, Branford Marsalis, James Williams, and Chuck Mangione, to name only a few. In the '80s, precocious graduates of Blakey's School for Swing would continue to number among the movers and shakers in jazz, foremost among them trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who became the most visible symbol of the '80s jazz mainstream; through him, Blakey's swingin’ ideals came to dominate the public's perception of the music. At the time of Blakey's death in 1990, the Messenger aesthetic dominated jazz, and Blakey himself had arguably become the most influential jazz musician of the past 20 years.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jazz for Curious ReadersTerry Teachout
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Terry Teachout is a critic, biographer, blogger, and drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, the music critic of Commentary, and the author of Sightings, a column about the arts in America that appears biweekly in the Saturday Wall Street Journal.

And most significantly for tonight, Mr. Teachout is the author of the acclaimed new biography of the Father of Jazz: Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.

He blogs at About Last Night along with Chicago-based critic Laura Demanski (who writes under the name "Our Girl in Chicago"), contributes a weekly book-review column and a monthly videoblog to Contentions, the Commentary blog, and has written about the arts for many other magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and National Review.

Teachout grew up in Sikeston, Missouri. He attended St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland; William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he received his B.S. in music journalism; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lived in Kansas City from 1975 to 1983, working as a jazz bassist and a music critic for the Kansas City Star. He moved to New York City in 1985, working as an editor at Harper's Magazine (1985-87) and an editorial writer for the New York Daily News (1987-93) and as the News' classical music and dance critic (1993-2000). In 2004 he was appointed by President Bush to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory and review panel of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Teachout is the author of All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine (2004, Harcourt), A Terry Teachout Reader (2004, Yale University Press), The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken (2002, HarperCollins), and City Limits: Memories of a Small-Town Boy (1991, Poseidon Press).

He is the editor of Beyond the Boom: New Voices on American Life, Culture, and Politics (1990, Poseidon, introduction by Tom Wolfe) and Ghosts on the Roof: Selected Journalism of Whittaker Chambers, 1931-1959 (1989, Regnery Gateway). In 1992 he rediscovered the manuscript of A Second Mencken Chrestomathy among H.L. Mencken's private papers and edited it for publication by Alfred A. Knopf (1995). He wrote the forewords to Paul Taylor's Private Domain: An Autobiography (1999, University of Pittsburgh Press), Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado (2007, New York Review Books), and William Bailey's William Bailey on Canvas (2007, Betty Cuningham Gallery) and contributed to The Oxford Companion to Jazz (2000, Oxford University Press). He has written liner notes for CDs by Karrin Allyson, Gene Bertoncini, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Chanticleer, Julia Dollison, Jim Ferguson, Diana Krall, the Lascivious Biddies, Joe Mooney, Marian McPartland, Mike Metheny, Maria Schneider, Nickel Creek, Kendra Shank, Luciana Souza, and the Trio Solisti.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners The Big Beat: Art Blakey,
THE BANDLEADER
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey's first musical education came in the form of piano lessons; he was playing professionally as a seventh grader, leading his own commercial band. He switched to drums shortly thereafter, learning to play in the hard-swinging style of Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. In 1942, he played with pianist Mary Lou Williams in New York. He toured the South with Fletcher Henderson's band in 1943-1944. From there, he briefly led a Boston-based big band before joining Billy Eckstine's new group, with which he would remain from 1944-1947. Eckstine's big band was the famous "cradle of modern jazz," and included (at different times) such major figures of the forthcoming bebop revolution as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. When Eckstine's group disbanded, Blakey started a rehearsal ensemble called the Seventeen Messengers. He also recorded with an octet, the first of his bands to be called the Jazz Messengers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Harlem Speaks Kenny Barron, Pianist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

According to writer Arwulf Arwulf (from whom this bio is adapted), a thorough examination of Kenny Barron's musical accomplishments over a span of 50 years requires a discography of more than 200 pages. That's because in addition to a distinguished career as soloist and leader he has served as one of the most dependable sidemen in all of post-bop mainstream modern jazz. More than 40 albums have appeared under his name, and his presence on literally hundreds of recordings by other musicians paints a panoramic picture of Kenny Barron's lifelong devotion to the music.

Born in Philadelphia, PA, on June 9, 1943, he took on the piano at the age of 12, with a little help from Ray Bryant's sister, known today as the mother of guitarist Kevin Eubanks. Three years later, on the recommendation of his own big brother, saxophonist Bill Barron (1927-1989), he joined Mel Melvin's rhythm & blues band. The aspiring pianist gained more experience while working with drummer Philly Joe Jones, saxophonist Jimmy Heath and multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef in Detroit. Lateef's album The Centaur and the Phoenix (1960) was Kenny Barron's first modern jazz recording project, though not as a performer (Joe Zawinul was the pianist on this date) but as composer and arranger.

His recording debut as an improvising artist took place shortly after he moved to New York in 1961 and cut the first of many albums with his brother, who often aligned himself with two graduates of the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop, trumpeter Ted Curson and saxophonist Booker Ervin. A session in 1962 found Barron working with trumpeter Dave Burns, one-time member of sax and flute man James Moody's exciting bop orchestra. Moody himself played an important role in Barron's career, first hiring him to perform at the Village Vanguard, then bringing him into Dizzy Gillespie's band. Barron stuck with Diz and Moody until 1966, performing at clubs and festivals on both coasts and touring through France and England.

Kenny Barron's first great year of independent recording activity was 1967. In addition to co-leading a band with trumpeter Jimmy Owens, the pianist made records with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and saxophonists Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Booker Ervin, and Eric Kloss. Barron seldom recorded with anyone just once. Examples of artists who made many records with Barron during the 1970s are  Moody and Lateef, and bassists Ron Carter and Buster Williams, and others such as Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson. Barron also worked regularly with saxophonists Chico and Von Freeman, John Stubblefield, Nick Brignola, and Stan Getz (with whom he toured extensively during Getz's twilight years). The stylistic range continued to widen as Barron sat in with violinists Michal Urbaniak and John Blake, drummer Elvin Jones, and singing trombonist Ray Anderson.

During the '80s, Kenny Barron played piano in the score for Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing, appeared on multi-performer tribute albums honoring composers Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk, and became a founding member (with Charlie Rouse, Buster Williams, and Ben Riley) of the definitive Monk legacy band, known as Sphere.

A respected educator who has taught at Rutgers, Juilliard, and the Manhattan School of Music, Kenny Barron continues to create music of exceptionally high quality and substantial depth, something he has done for half a century, whether using the Fender Rhodes electromechanical keyboard, a plugged-in harpsichord, a synthesizer, or his lifelong companion, that fundamental jazz instrument, the piano.

In January 2010 Barron was one of the esteemed recipients of the NEA Jazz Master’s honor, conferring an official recognition of what Barron’s fans have already known for 40 years. Come hear an musical master speak of his life and times in the art of jazz.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas Jaleel Shaw
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone
Dwayne Burno, acoustic bass
Otis Brown III, drums

One of the most thrilling young alto saxophonists on the jazz scene, Jaleel Shaw holds down the alto chair in the small ensemble of none other than the great Roy Haynes. Tonight see and hear him as he fronts his own band!

Jaleel Shaw grew up in Philadelphia, PA, where he studied with saxophone instructors Rayburn Wright and Robert Landham. As a teen, Jaleel performed, jammed and sat in at the many clubs in Philadelphia, honing his chops and developing strong relationships with the many great musicians there as well as the musicians that came to Philly from New York City.

Upon graduating from high school, Jaleel received a full tuition scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass, where he attended for four years and earned a dual degree in Music Education and Performance (in 2000). While attending Berklee, Jaleel studied privately with saxophonists Andy Mcghee, Billy Pierce, George Garzone, and Shanon LeClaire.

After graduating from Berklee, Jaleel attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he received his Masters in Jazz Performance in May 2002. During his time at the MSM, Jaleel was recruited by both the Mingus Big Band and Count Basie Orchestra. Jaleel appears on two Grammy Nominated CDs by the Mingus Big Band - "Tonight at Noon" and "I Am Three."

A year after finishing his graduate studies, Jaleel joined Temple University as a part-time private lesson and ensemble instructor, and soon thereafter began giving private saxophone lessons at The New School.

After being in New York for five years, Jaleel's debut CD "Perspective" was released in June 2005 to rave reviews. It was named one of the top 5 debut CDs of 2005 by All About Jazz and the Jazz Journalists Association. In the fall of 2005, Jaleel joined world renown drummer Roy Haynes' Quartet and recorded the Grammy nominated CD "Whereas" with the group for the Dreyfus Label.

In the beginning of 2008, Jaleel launched his own record label (Changu Records), on which he released his second CD – "Optimism." Today Jaleel continues to perform primarily in three groups - The Roy Haynes Quartet, the Mingus Big Band, and his own quartet and quintet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Panels
Orgy in Rhythm: An In-Depth Look and Listen to Art Blakey
7:30 – 9:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers served as a traveling finishing school for countless jazz musicians who later led their own groups and became composers and arrangers of note. Today, meet some of the alumni of the Messengers, and see film footage of Blakey in action as a drummer, band leader, and teacher.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Big Beat: Art Blakey
ALUMNI REUNION 7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

With Christian McBride

Christian McBride, co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, will host alumni of the Blakey band in an evening not to be missed. The spirit of Blakey will be summoned!   

Friday, March 19, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Ambrose Akinmusire
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Ambrose’s conceptual extension into a new musical language never excludes beauty. As one who listens intently, he values the fertility of a pause, of communication, of tension. Ambrose began conceptualizing early as a musician, theorizing and experimenting as a catalyst for development. He seeks other genres of music to analyze and expose, drawing inspiration from musicians ranging from Bjork to Chopin.

Before he was eighteen, Ambrose had already performed with such famed musicians as Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, Steve Coleman, and Billy Higgins. After graduating Berkeley High School, he moved to New York to begin a scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Vincent Pinzerella from the New York Philharmonic, Dick Oatts, Lew Soloff, and Laurie Frink.

Ambrose is a recent graduate of the Masters program at USC, and also the Monk Institute, where Ambrose’s instructors included Terence Blanchard, Billy Childs and Gary Grant. In the past several years, he has worked with such artists as Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Hal Crook, Bob Hurst, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ron Carter, and Wallace Roney, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. So it should come as little or no surprise that Ambrose was the winner of both the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners                               
The Big Beat: Art Blakey                                                                                 THE EARLY YEARS: with Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk and Billy Eckstine

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Art Blakey's first musical education came in the form of piano lessons; he was playing professionally as a seventh grader, leading his own commercial band. He switched to drums shortly thereafter, learning to play in the hard-swinging style of Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. In 1942, he played with pianist Mary Lou Williams in New York. He toured the South with Fletcher Henderson's band in 1943-1944. From there, he briefly led a Boston-based big band before joining Billy Eckstine's new group, with which he would remain from 1944-1947. Eckstine's big band was the famous "cradle of modern jazz," and included (at different times) such major figures of the forthcoming bebop revolution as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. When Eckstine's group disbanded, Blakey started a rehearsal ensemble called the Seventeen Messengers. He also recorded with an octet, the first of his bands to be called the Jazz Messengers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Harlem Speaks
Dick Griffin, Trombonist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

In a career spanning over 30 years, Dick Griffin has performed with some of the biggest names in Jazz and Soul, and has appeared with several symphony orchestras as well. A short list of the luminaries Mr. Griffin has worked with includes: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Tito Puente, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Isaac Hayes, Dionne Warwick, and Lionel Hampton.

Griffin has developed a highly personalized playing style which he calls "circularphonics," a technique that combines the playing of chords on trombone with circular breathing. The expanded range of sounds Griffin creates through his multiphonic technique at times evokes the spirit of such experimental artists as John Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Sun Ra. Never a follower, however, Griffin has developed a unique style on and for the trombone that goes beyond the influence of even those great musicians.

James Richard Griffin was born and reared in Jackson, Mississippi. His first musical influence was a neighbor known simply as Mr. Jesse. At evening time, all the neighborhood children would stop by to hear Mr. Jesse's impromptu blues guitar compositions with lyrics describing the day's events in rhyme. Griffin began studying piano at age 11 and upon entering high school two years later joined the school's marching band where he learned trombone. His professional career began as a teenager, playing piano and trombone in clubs with drummer classmate Freddie Waits. While in high school he also sang in a doo-wop group which was invited to go on the road and perform with Sam Cooke. In junior college, Griffin won several awards for his arranging skills. In 1963, Griffin graduated from Jackson State University and then pursued graduate studies at Indiana University where he received a Masters Degree in Music Education and Trombone.

It was in Chicago, though, where Griffin met avant-garde jazz giant Sun Ra, that his professional career seriously took off. He spent several summers in the mid-1960s playing with Sun Ra's Arkestra. It was during this period that Griffin first met Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who became a close friend. After moving to New York City in 1967, Griffin made his recording debut with Kirk on the album "The Inflated Tear." As a member of the "Vibration Society," Griffin notated and transcribed music for the sightless Kirk. He went on to record several albums with Kirk, including "Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle," "Rahsaan, Rahsaan," "Left & Right," and "Volunteered Slavery." In the early 1970s, Griffin also played in a big band fronted by the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus. During this year-long association, Mingus provided priceless support by encouraging the young trombonist's writing endeavors. Griffin also spent three years in the house band of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, playing for nearly all the Motown greats, including The Temptations, James Brown and Nancy Wilson.

In 1974, Griffin released his debut album as a leader, "The Eighth Wonder," for Strata-East Records, one of the most successful independent jazz labels of that period. Later, he released "Now Is The Time: The Multiphonic Tribe" for Trident Records. During this period, he also taught music theory and the history of Jazz at Wesleyan University (1975-77) and later at SUNY-Old Westbury (1981-83). In the 1980s, Griffin's career encompassed performances in a wide variety of settings with his own group and with others. As a sideman, Griffin performed with some of the best big band musicians of the time—Benny Bailey, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, and Slide Hampton—at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Later in the decade, Griffin toured and recorded with the internationally-renowned ensemble "Ekaya," led by South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (f/k/a Dollar Brand).

As a composer, Griffin completed the "World Vibration Suite," a work for symphony orchestra premiered by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. In 1986, his third album "A Dream For Rahsaan," was released by Ruby Records to critical acclaim. This inspired him to adapt the album for a symphony orchestra and three saxophones, which was the format he had previously employed for the "World Vibration Suite." During the 1990s, he performed in over a dozen international Jazz festivals, both as a leader and in the bands of such diverse talents as Illinois Jacquet, Sun Ra, Charles Gayle, Hilton Ruiz, and Lionel Hampton. Along with such notable artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins, Griffin appeared in the Heineken Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and, in 1991, he traveled to Canada to headline Ottawa's International Jazz Festival. The German label, Konnex Records, re-released Griffin's first and third albums in 1994 with additional tracks. Griffin then released "All Blues," his fourth album (on Amasaya Records), which features he novel lineup of trombone, organ, guitar, and drums. In addition to the title track by Miles Davis, Griffin performs five originals plus tunes by Ellington, Horace Silver, and Hampton Hawes, paying tribute to the blues environment in which he was nurtured.

One of the most versatile and inventive musicians of today, Griffin has played with symphony orchestras such as The Harlem Philharmonic and The Symphony Of The New World, and has performed in several Broadway shows including "The Wiz," "Me & Bessie," "Raisin," and "Lena" (starring Lena Horne), as well as in the Paris production of "Black & Blue" (starring Linda Hopkins). He has made many television appearances in the U.S. on shows such as "The Today Show", "Soul", "Faces", "The Ed Sullivan Show", and "Like It Is". He also has appeared in the UK on the BBC and on TV programs in Germany, France, and Italy. Finally, he also appeared in the film "The Cotton Club" and performed on the soundtrack for the movie "Gordon's War".

During the past few years, Griffin has performed more extensively with his own group, the Dick Griffin Organ Ensemble, and he also played at the Uncool Jazz Festival in Switzerland with Charles Gayle in 2001. Griffin has also continued to devote his time to his artwork. His abstract paintings and works on paper have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, private and corporate collections in both the U.S. and Europe. Some of his early pieces grace the covers of each of his four CDs.

Tonight you can witness an artist not beholden to genre labels and engage in discussion with him during the audience Q&A portion of the evening.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Luis Bonilla
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

If ever an artist could be called an octopus, Luis Bonilla is it. The California raised, Costa Rican trombonist, composer and arranger has sought out, taken in and mastered an incredible array of musical styles. His success as a sideman with such greats as McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Astrud Gilberto, Willie Colon and Toshiko Akiyoshi attests not only to the skill and variety of Bonilla’s talent, but also to a mind restlessly committed to exploring some of the most complex and demanding music of our time.

Yet there is nothing rarefied about the Bonilla experience. He has worked as a studio musician with Tony Bennett, Marc Anthony, La India and Mary J. Blige and understands and exploits the liveliness of pop as well as the rhythmic sway and punch of Latin Jazz. Currently a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra under Arturo O’Farrill’s direction  (both 2009 Grammy winners) and Dave Douglas’s latest group (Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy), Bonilla is one of those rare artists whose work is always expanding, taking in more and more while remaining singular and focused: “Bonilla may be a trombonist used to handling that big long sliding thing, but when it comes to execution of his ideas, he lets nothing slide” (All About Jazz).

Critics praised his first two albums on the Candid label, Pasos Gigantes (1998) and iEscucha! (2000), acknowledging Bonilla’s ability to give voice to radically different musical sensibilities with an ease and seamlessness that belies the rigor and sophistication of the music. Pasos Gigantes made Jazziz’s top ten Latin list of 1998. Even as early as these first two albums, critics noted Bonilla’s leadership and sophisticated use of tonal colors. As a faculty member at both Temple University and Manhattan School of Music, Bonilla has an intuitive sense in how to bring out the best in those working with him. Listen to any of his albums and you will hear an extraordinary level of trust and inspiration in each band member’s playing. As the critic for All About Jazz noticed, “Bonilla gives his colleagues ample space to breathe, adding momentum to the flow of his compositional ideas.”

His next album, 2007’s Terminal Clarity was a celebration, reflection and aesthetic extension of his years working with Lester Bowie. While retaining the brash harmonic structures of his mentor’s work from Brass Fantasy to his earlier and justly famous work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Bonilla adds a “contagious exuberance” (Jazzwise magazine) that is at the heart of his artistic vision. Without in any way diminishing Bowie’s audacity, Bonilla manages to balance “the cerebral and the down-and-dirty (Jazz Times), taking “bold steps to merge Latin genres, free jazz and a variety of other influences" (Latin Jazz Corner).

In Bonilla’s latest album, I Talking Now! (2009), he pushes these disjunctions even harder, politely demanding that we feel connections between wildly disparate styles of music. A heady mix of swing, rock, free jazz, funk, movie soundtracks, avant-garde noise and ballads, I Talking Now, for all its musical diversity, speaks with one voice. It is a distinctly American vision, a gentle craziness that suggests that every one and every sound can co-exist if we just keep on taking in more and more. Luis Bonilla is moving in directions that are expanding our notions of jazz and leading us into startling new realms with “remarkable creativity and versatility” (Newsday).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Christian McBride/Loren Schoenberg Duo/Informance
at Stanford University's Community School for Music and Arts, Mountain View

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | 6:00 pm

Community School for Music and Arts, Mountain View

The annual duo concert/lecture by the NJMH’s dynamic directors!
ALSO – SAME NIGHT: Jazz for Curious Listeners
The Big Beat:
Art Blakey  FILM NIGHT

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Don’t miss this free session with one of the world’s best bass instrumentalists sharing his views on, and selections by, Art Blakey, in this last of a month-long series of events focused on the man affectionately called “Buhaina.”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A TRIBUTE TO HERBIE HANCOCK: CHRISTIAN McBRIDE AND FRIENDS

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | 8:00 pm
Stanford University's Dinkelspiel Auditorium

$34–38 (Adult) | $10 (Stanford Student)
$31–35 (Other Student)
$17–19 (Youth Under 18)
In a concert curated by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH), museum co-director and bass phenom Christian McBride leads a tribute to the legacy of pioneering jazz composer/keyboardist Herbie Hancock. McBride has long embraced electric jazz, funk, and soul music as a vibrant part of the jazz mainstream. Here, he leads his versatile band through Hancock’s incredible body of work, from his years as a Miles Davis sideman and Blue Note Records solo artist in the 1960s, through his groundbreaking Headhunters fusion project in the ’70s, to his work with pop vocalists and producers in the ’80s and ’90s, and his current interest in young hip hop and techno artists. The concert is the culmination of a season of free public programs on jazz and technology, and a continuation of Lively Arts’ collaboration with NJMH and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, revisiting classic jazz repertoire from a fresh perspective.

***note: the JAZZ AT THE DWYER with Etienne Charles and his Trinidadian Jazz Band will occur on APRIL 23rd, not MARCH 23 as listed on our mailing card.

AM Taxi Announces Debut Album & Spring Tour Dates

AM Taxi— so-called because they’re all about moving across the U.S. towards their destination—gets ready to hit the road…hard. The guys will be touring in support of Spill Canvas late Spring with
additional dates for this Summer’s Warped Tour, starting June 24 through August 15. AM Taxi are one of the few groups booked for the entire prestigious concert series prior to releasing an album. They’ve already been out on the road with the likes of Sum 41 and The Ataris, while opening for The Offspring at Summerfest in Milwaukee, so they’re more than up for the task.
“Our goal is to take that 45 or 60 minutes and let people get away for a little bit,” says lead singer and guitarist Adam Krier, “maybe even convert some of ‘em to AM Taxi fans. And, if they dig what we’re doing, maybe they’ll check out some of the stuff that influenced us.”
Take one listen to AM Taxi’s Virgin records debut, We Don’t Stand A Chance to be released June 8, 2010 and you can hear reverence for the past and hope for the future, a band that can cut across any age or genre demographics. The band just wrapped their video for the single ‘The Mistake.' With a blend of old-school punk, world beat and modern pop influences, the Chicago-based band combines experience with exuberance.
“I try to write songs about things people can relate to,” nods Adam. “For me, the best music, at the end of the day, is therapeutic. That’s always in the back of my mind a little when I’m sitting down to write.”
Recorded in Austin, TX, with renowned producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Patty Griffin,...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), AM Taxi’s major label bow, offers a variety of different styles, from old-school punk to world beat and modern pop. “The Mistake” is a heart-on-the-sleeve confessional that recalls the Replacements, while “Fed Up” is a Springsteen-by-way-of-The Hold Steady classic rock raver, “Dead Street” sports a Police-styled world beat and “Charissa” a Clash-esque reggae rhythm.

TOUR DATES
April 21 - The Hub Cedar - Falls, IA
April 23 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
April 24 - Murray Theater - Salt Lake City, UT
April 25 - The Venue - Boise, ID
April 26 - El Corazon - Seattle, WA
April 27 - Hawthorne Theatre - Portland, OR
April 29 - Slim’s - San Francisco, CA
April 30 - The Roxy Theatre - West Hollywood, CA
May 1 - The Boardwalk - Orangevale, CA
May 3 - The Rock - Tucson, AZ
May 5 - The Loft - Dallas, TX
May 6 - Meridian - Houston, TX
May 7 - The White Rabbit - San Antonio, TX
May 8 - Emo’s - Austin, TX
May 10 - The State Theatre - St. Petersburg, FL
May 11 - The Social - Orlando, FL
May 12 - Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
May 14 - The Recher Theatre - Towson, MD
May 15 - Stone Pony - Asbury, NJ
May 17 - First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA
May 18  - The Middle East- Downstairs - Cambridge, MA
May 20 - The Basement - Columbus, OH
May 21 - St. Andrews Hall - Detroit, MI
May 22 - Metro - Chicago, IL

2010 University Of Michigan Jazz Festival "Charles Mingus Day"

The 2010 University Of Michigan Jazz Festival  "Charles Mingus Day" will take place February 13th at 7:30p.m. at the Power Center for the Performing Arts in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The festival announced today that Congressman John Conyers Jr. would receive the first, "University of Michigan John Conyers Jr. Jazz Advocacy Award". This award is named in his honor and serves as recognition of extraordinary achievement in the world of Jazz by an advocate or patron.

In recognition of Black History Month and the Jazz Festival tribute to Charles Mingus, three virtuoso bassists, Christian McBride, Robert Hurst and Rodney Whitaker, will take the stage together in an historic improvised performance.

The festival feature concert will also include the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble, The Christian McBride Band and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra under the direction of Dennis Wilson. The DJFO will feature a new composition by Christian McBride entitled "The Movement Revisited". This composition is an important expression of the Black experience through the language of Jazz and will also be performed on February 14th at 7:30pm at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.

The University of Michigan Jazz Festival is a noncompetitive event providing collegiate, high school and middle school students an opportunity to interact with the music faculty of the University of Michigan as well as other distinguished educators.  The Festival is open to students, educators, and music lovers of all ages and is presented by the School Of Music Theatre & Dance through the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation with additional support from numerous academic units within the University Of Michigan.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem February Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem's February 2010 schedule of events are chock full of choices for all from newcomers to the music to seasoned fans of music.

Three of the brightest emerging stars in jazz will be performing live—pianist Jonathan Batiste in a trio setting for the museum's latest public program, Jazz at the Players; and, on separate evenings, drummer Sunny Jain and bassist Ben Williams at Harlem in the Himalayas. These performances will display three approaches to modern jazz that may portend the future directions of the music!

Todd Bryant Weeks will discuss his work as a writer and author of a well-regarded bio of trumpeter/KC legend Oran "Hot Lips" Page for Jazz for Curious Readers. Veteran trumpeter Lew Soloff is the first guest of the flagship Harlem Speaks series this month, following by Harlem-based dancer and choreographer George Faison.

According to museum board member Dr. Billy Taylor, jazz is America's classical music. So it's no surprise that the jazz idiom touches other art forms such as dance and cinema. This month brings a particular focus on film, as Jazz for Curious Listeners features rarely seen footage and classic instances of Ornette Coleman, Sidney Bechet, Charles Mingus and Billie Holiday. Our monthly Saturday Panel focuses exclusively on the jazz/cinema dynamic. There's also a Special Event in which the Academy Award-nominated documentary, A Great Day in Harlem, will be screened, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jean Bach.

There's something for everyone, so mark your calendars!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jazz for Curious Readers
Todd Bryant Weeks
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Writer, educator and jazz historian Todd Bryant Weeks has taught Jazz History and Introduction to Music at Rutgers University-Newark and with the acclaimed Bard Prison Initiative. He has lectured at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey and at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, New York. His writing has appeared in The Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Allegro, Uptown Magazine and in liner notes for Rhino/Warner Bros. Weeks also wrote the chapter on jazz in Harlem for the book Forever Harlem: Celebrating America's Most Diverse Community (2007). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

But he may become best known for his first book, Luck's In My Corner: The Life and Music of Hot Lips Page, a comprehensive biography of one of the most compelling jazz musicians of the Swing Era, Oran “Hot Lips” Page, perhaps the greatest of the Kansas City trumpeters. Page blew a powerful, growling horn that made him the go-to man on that instrument during Count Basie's earliest days as a leader. Page went on to be a featured soloist with Artie Shaw, a star of New York's 52nd Street, and a pioneer of the burgeoning R&B scene of the 1950s.

Despite his many successes, Page's personal life was fraught with troubles. His father died when his son was eight, and the boy was forced to leave school and go to work to help support his family. Page's second wife, Myrtle, who by all accounts was the love of his life, died suddenly in New York in 1946 at the age of twenty-eight, leaving Hot Lips as the sole parent of their young son, Oran Jr. Throughout the 1940s, he struggled to maintain his audience as the popular style of music changed from Swing to Bebop to Rhythm and Blues. He died suddenly after a mysterious incident in 1954, at age forty-six.

Through interviews, anecdotes and oral histories, author Todd Bryant Weeks pieced together Page's personal story. He contacted dozens of people (many in their eighties and nineties) who knew Page personally, and spent many hours interviewing several of Page's family members, including his son, Oran Page, Jr., who is now a Municipal Judge in Jackson, Mississippi. Weeks was granted access to files, photographs and personal scrapbooks belonging to Page at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey. The book includes dozens of unpublished photographs, musical transcriptions and analysis and a complete new discography of Hot Lips Page, who, as a result of Weeks' excellent investigative and journalistic efforts, should no longer be considered unsung.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz on Film: Ornette Coleman/Sidney Bechet
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Bechet was the first great saxophonist in jazz, Coleman a saxophone revolutionary in the second half of the history of jazz. From New Orleans to free jazz stylings, tonight's event covers a full range of the idiom.

Ornette Coleman --  Rarely does one person change the way we listen to music, but such a man is Ornette Coleman. Since the late 1950s, when he burst on the New York jazz scene with his legendary engagement at the Five Spot, Coleman has been teaching the world new ways of listening to music. His revolutionary musical ideas have been controversial, but today his enormous contribution to modern music is recognized throughout the world.

Coleman was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1930 and taught himself to play the saxophone and read music by the age of 14. One year later he formed his own band. Finding a troublesome existence in Fort Worth surrounded by racial segregation and poverty, he took to the road at age 19. During the 1950s while in Los Angeles, Ornette's musical ideas were too controversial to find frequent public performance possibilities. He did, however, find a core of musicians who took to his musical concepts: trumpeters Don Cherry and Bobby Bradford, drummers Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins, and bassist Charlie Haden.

In 1958, with the release of his debut album Something Else, it was immediately clear that Coleman had ushered in a new era in jazz history. This music, freed from the prevailing conventions of harmony, rhythm, and melody, often called 'free jazz', transformed the art form. Coleman called this concept Harmolodics. From 1959 through the rest of the 60s, Coleman released more than fifteen critically acclaimed albums on the Atlantic and Blue Note labels, most of which are now recognized as jazz classics. He also began writing string quartets, woodwind quintets, and symphonies based on Harmolodic theory.

In the early 1970s, Ornette traveled throughout Morocco and Nigeria playing with local musicians and interpreting the melodic and rhythmic complexities of their music into this Harmolodic approach. In 1975, seeking the fuller sound of an orchestra for his writing, Coleman constructed a new ensemble entitled Prime Time, which included the doubling of guitars, drums, and bass. Combining elements of ethnic and danceable sounds, this approach is now identified with a full genre of music and musicians. In the next decade, more surprises included trend-setting albums such as Song X with guitarist Pat Metheny, and Virgin Beauty featuring Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia.

The 1990s included other large works such as the premier of Architecture in Motion, Ornette's first Harmolodic ballet, as well as work on the soundtracks for the films Naked Lunch and Philadelphia.  With the dawning of the Harmolodic record label under Polygram, Ornette became heavily involved in new recordings including Tone Dialing, Sound Museum, and Colors. In 1997, New York City's Lincoln Center Festival featured the music and the various guises of Ornette over four days, including performances with the New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur of his symphonic work, Skies of America.

There has been a tremendous outpouring of recognition bestowed upon Coleman for his work, including honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, California Institute of the Arts, and Boston Conservatory, and an honorary doctorate from the New School for Social Research. In 1994, he was a recipient of the distinguished MacArthur Fellowship award, and in 1997, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2001, Ornette Coleman received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale award from the Japanese government. Ornette won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2006 album, "Sound Grammar", the first jazz work to be bestowed with the honor. In 2008, he was inducted into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. The NEJHF honors legendary musicians whose singular dedication and outstanding contribution to this art shaped the landscape of jazz.

Sidney Bechet -- In 1919 Bechet was discovered by Will Marion Cook, who was about to take his large concert band, the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, to Europe. The orchestra played mainly concert music in fixed arrangements with little improvising, but featured Bechet (who could not read music) in blues specialties. In London the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet heard the band, and in an article that has been widely reprinted referred to Bechet as "an extraordinary clarinet virtuoso" and an "artist of genius."

Bechet first discovered the curved soprano saxophone in Chicago; while in London he purchased a straight model and taught himself to play it. It became his primary instrument for the rest of his life, though he continued to play clarinet frequently. The soprano, although difficult to play in tune, has a powerful, commanding voice, and with it Bechet was able to dominate jazz ensembles.

In 1919 Bechet broke away from the Southern Syncopated Orchestra to work in England and France with a small ragtime band led by Benny Peyton; throughout the 1920s he traveled constantly between Europe and the USA, even touring Russia with a jazz band. Crucially, in 1924, he worked for two or three months in New York with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In 1923 the band had acquired the trumpeter Bubber Miley, a growl specialist under the influence of King Oliver. Miley had awakened Ellington's musicians to the new jazz music, but the band was in a transitional period, still playing much ordinary jazz-flavored popular music. Bechet had by this time acquired a capacity to swing that was matched only by that of Louis Armstrong, and his example led the band further towards jazz. Not long afterwards Bechet opened his own club, the Club Basha, in Harlem, and engaged Johnny Hodges from Boston to play in his band. Hodges was profoundly influenced by Bechet, and from his commanding position in the Ellington orchestra from 1928 he extended this influence widely and deeply.

In 1924 and 1925 Bechet made a group of recordings with Armstrong which were variously issued under the names Clarence Williams's Blue Five and the Red Onion Jazz Babies. These constitute one of the most important bodies of New Orleans jazz, and were influential with musicians of the time. Through the next few years Bechet continued to wander, traveling in Europe and the USA. In the 1930s, as hot dance music lost its popularity to more sentimental styles, Bechet dropped into obscurity, playing when he could find work. He organized the New Orleans Feetwarmers in 1932 with Tommy Ladnier, but largely owing to the group's musical style it was short-lived, and the following year the two men briefly managed a tailor's shop. However, with the New Orleans revival, from about 1939 Bechet was extolled by critics as one of the greatest jazz pioneers and his fortunes improved. He made several recordings, notably several fine titles with the Big Four and a series with Mezz Mezzrow for King Jazz. In 1949 he returned to Europe for the first time in almost 20 years. He was received there with adulation and reverence, and in 1951 he settled permanently in France, where he lived out his final years as a show business star.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: Charles Mingus/Billie Holiday
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Hearing is one thing – seeing is another. What better to spend an evening that watching these two iconic figures in all of their originality and genius?

Charles Mingus -- One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church—choir and group singing—and from "hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when I was eight years old." He studied double bass and composition in a formally while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand. His early professional experience, in the 40's, found him touring with bands like Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Lionel Hampton.

Eventually he settled in New York where he played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950's—Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself. One of the few bassists to do so, Mingus quickly developed as a leader of musicians. He was also an accomplished pianist who could have made a career playing that instrument. By the mid-50's he had formed his own publishing and recording companies to protect and document his growing repertoire of original music. He also founded the "Jazz Workshop," a group which enabled young composers to have their new works performed in concert and on recordings.

Mingus soon found himself at the forefront of the avant-garde. His recordings bear witness to the extraordinarily creative body of work that followed. They include: Pithecanthropus Erectus, The Clown, Tijuana Moods, Mingus Dynasty, Mingus Ah Um, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Cumbia and Jazz Fusion, Let My Children Hear Music. He recorded over a hundred albums and wrote over three hundred scores.

In 1971 Mingus was awarded the Slee Chair of Music and spent a semester teaching composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In the same year his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, was published by Knopf. In 1972 it appeared in a Bantam paperback and was reissued after his death, in 1980, by Viking/Penguin and again by Pantheon Books, in 1991. In 1972 he also re-signed with Columbia Records. His music was performed frequently by ballet companies, and Alvin Ailey choreographed an hour program called "The Mingus Dances" during a 1972 collaboration with the Robert Joffrey Ballet Company.

From the 1960's until his death in 1979 at age 56, Mingus remained in the forefront of American music. When asked to comment on his accomplishments, Mingus said that his abilities as a bassist were the result of hard work but that his talent for composition came from God.

Billie Holiday -- Billie Holiday, one of the first and greatest of early American jazz singers, was known for her unique and laconic timing, her wistful and brassy vocals, and her troubled personal life. Holiday began singing in Harlem clubs as a teenager, and first recorded (with Benny Goodman) in 1933. She was a sensation at Harlem's famous venue, The Apollo, and sang with the bands of Artie Shaw and Count Basie, among others. Holiday was nicknamed "Lady Day" during this era by saxophonist Lester Young, with whom she often recorded. In the 1940s she began using heroin and opium, and her last years, regretfully, were marked by her decline in health as a result of drink and drugs. Her most famous songs include "God Bless the Child," "Lover Man" and "My Man." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in the year 2000.

The films you'll witness tonight display the magic and artistic power of these two masters of jazz. Arrive early to get a good seat!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Harlem Speaks
Lew Soloff, Trumpeter
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

A consummate fixture on the New York jazz scene, Lew Soloff’s career is filled with a rich history of renowned sessions and world-class collaborations. From the time he eased into the east coast world of trend setting musicians in the mid 1960’s, Soloff’s creative ventures have resulted in a respected body of work that places him in a category of true accomplishment and keeps his elegant and lyrical signatures in constant demand. Soloff is known as a virtuoso with tremendous range and superior technical command, yet he exudes a exquisite taste for quietness and melody. Soloff’s expertise includes trumpet, flugelhorn, harmon mute, plunger mute and he is particularly recognized for his work on piccolo trumpet.

As a leader, Soloff puts his energy into some special projects including The Lew Soloff Quartet and Quintet. Lew Soloff Presents Sunday Jazz At Rhone was a weekly series he started for New York’s trendy lower west side lounge Rhone. The Sunday program included his own groups and surprise special guests. The artist has 8 solo recordings to his credit. "With A Song In My Heart, produced by Todd Barkan and Makoto Kimata, is probably my favorite personal project to date," comments Soloff. “We chose some wonderful songs for this CD and I was able to weave a tranquil spirit throughout the sessions.  My goal was to play the songs simply and beautifully.”  JazzTimes wrote about the release (Sept. 1999): “If this gem by Soloff, a musician at the peak of his maturity and expressiveness, is not one of the best records of the year, we have a surprising few months in store.”

His longtime collaboration with the late Gil Evans resulted in a new relationship with the Bohuslän Big Band in Sweden. The orchestra invited Soloff to perform George Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess, originally arranged by Evans for one of Soloff’s important influences, Miles Davis.  The suite was recorded and filmed live at The Göteborg Concerthouse in 2002. Besides his association with Gil Evans, Soloff considers his work with Ornette Coleman to be particularly pivotal.  In addition to being a featured trumpet soloist on several occasions with Coleman, he was also asked to perform with Coleman and The Kronos Quartet on a commission for trumpet and strings. Soloff was also the lead trumpeter of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band under the direction of Jon Faddis during its entire tenure and spent six years as first trumpet in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Born in Brooklyn, on February 20, 1944, Soloff was raised in Lakewood, New Jersey and started studying piano at an early age. He took up the trumpet when he was 10 and his interest in the instrument surged, thanks to the record collections of his grandfather and uncle. Exposed to artists such as Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong as a youngster, Soloff recalls, “there was a scale I remember from Armstrong’s recording ‘I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music.’  He played this run with such finesse and beauty, without any grandstanding–I wanted to play like that.”  Soloff spent several years at Juilliard Preparatory until he entered the Eastman School of Music in 1961. Already a professional musician, he had spent his summers as a teenager playing hotels and country clubs in the Borscht Belt (the Catskill Mountains of New York).  After graduating from Eastman (where he found himself in practice bands with fellow students such as Chuck Mangione), he spent a year in graduate school at Julliard. It was the mid-1960’s and the fertile jazz scene in New York City ignited Soloff’s full-time career.

By 1966, he was performing with Maynard Ferguson and soon became a regular in the Joe Henderson/Kenny Dorham Big Band. That year he also joined the Gil Evans Group, an affiliation he considers his most influential.  “I first met Gil Evans when I was 22 and he became my musical Godfather,” remembers Soloff. It was a creative relationship that lasted until Evans death in 1988. In the large bands of the 1960’s, Soloff received his continuing education, joining groups led by Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri including the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band.  But it was in the popular groundbreaking group Blood, Sweat and Tears that Soloff’s trumpet solos became an indelible part of American culture.  He was an integral part of the band from 1968 to 1973, racking up 9 Gold records worldwide, a Grammy for “Record of The Year” (1969) and creating those searing horn lines in “Spinning Wheel.”

A respected educator as well, he continues to appear as guest soloist at universities around the country where he utilizes the Gil Evans arrangements that have been an essential element of his repertoire through the years.  He has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music for 20 or so years and has been an adjunct faculty member at Julliard and the New School.  “I want to continue developing my own personal artistic ventures,” notes Soloff.  “There are a thousand ideas I have for collaborative efforts. Music can be choreographed or spontaneous and I am most inspired when I have the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Sunny Jain
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Tickets:  Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

From the resounding hall of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, to the intimate setting of Smalls Jazz Club in New York City, to the massive applause on festival stages in India, Sunny Jain is a highly respected drummer, composer and educator.  Born to Punjabi immigrant parents and raised in Rochester, New York, Sunny has become an Indian-American musical trailblazer.

Sunny leads Red Baraat, a one-of-kind dhol 'n' brass band melding the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with funk, soca, and dramatic improvisatory conducting.  His Sunny Jain Collective has been touted as a leading voice for the new music Indo Jazz (a movement of first-generation South Asians equally steeped in the jazz tradition and the music of their cultural heritage).

In 2002, Sunny was designated a Jazz Ambassador by the U.S. Department of State and The Kennedy Center. He then received the Arts International Award in both 2003 and 2005.  In 2005, Jazz Hot magazine (France) featured Jain in their drummer issue, along with Lewis Nash, Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez and Winard Harper.  He was noted as a rising star for his fusion of jazz and Indian music.  In 2006, Traps magazine highlighted Sunny as a top New York City world jazz drummer.  Sunny was commissioned in 2006 by Chamber Music America's New Works to compose new music for a project he later named, Taboo. He closed out 2007 with a milestone performance with the famed Sufi-rock group Junoon at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway, playing for Al Gore. In 2008, Sunny was commissioned by the Aaron Copland Fund to record Taboo.

Sunny also plays the indigenous drum of Punjab, dhol, and made his professional debut as dholi playing in the first ever Indian Broadway show, Bombay Dreams (2004).  He has since gone on to perform with Masala Bhangra fitness guru, Sarina Jain (“The Indian Jane Fonda”), jazz legend Dewey Redman with Asha Puthli, and will make his Hollywood debut playing dhol in the movie, Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, and Isabella Rossellini.

In 2007 Sunny became the first ever artist endorser for India’s largest and oldest musical manufacturer, Bina Music and he exclusively uses Vater drumsticks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz on Film: Rarities - Pt. 1
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Spend an evening watching rare film clips of Bill “Bogangles” Robinson, Sid Catlett, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Goodman, Christian McBride/Dave Holland, and others. Heaven!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Ben Williams and Company
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Tickets:  Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Ben Williams, an acoustic and electric bassist, composer, and educator, is a native of Washington, DC, now living in New York City. He recently received a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School under the instruction of Ben Wolfe. He is a 2007 graduate of Michigan State University where he received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an emphasis in jazz studies under the instruction of Rodney Whitaker and Jack Budrow.

On October 11, 2009, Ben won the most prestigious award in the world for aspiring jazz musicians by winning first place at the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was awarded a $20,000 Scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Records. The competition was judged by such iconic bassists as Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Christian McBride. Since the Monk competition, he debuted his band at the Jazz Gallery in New York, which received a great review in the New York Times by Nate Chinen.

Ben is currently touring with Stefon Harris and Blackout, and is featured on the group’s latest release “Urbanus,” which was recently nominated for a Grammy. He can also be heard on the newly released album by the Marcus Strickland trio entitled “Idiosyncrasies,” and will also be featured on the upcoming release by the Jacky Terrasson trio. He has traveled extensively over several continents with performances in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

Aside from the recent Monk Competition Award, he won first place in the International Society of Bassists Competition in 2005. He is a two-time winner of the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Awards Competition at the (now defunct) East Coast Jazz Festival, having won second place in 2002 and third place in 2000 when he was ages 15 and 17. He won first place in 1999 in the DC Piano Competition Scholarship Award in the Intermediary category and again first place in the Advanced category in 2000. In 2002 he was a scholarship recipient of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) at their annual conference in Long Beach, CA; and also in 2002 he was a scholarship recipient of the Duke Ellington Jazz Society Annual Awards of Washington. In 2003 he was a scholarship recipient of the Steans Institute in Chicago. Numerous awards and scholarships were also presented to him during his continuing education at Michigan State University.

Ben started his musical career at age 11 while studying bass under Martha Vance at the Fillmore Arts Center, a DC Public School program. He was introduced to jazz by Fred Foss, the director of the Fillmore Jazz Band. The Thelonious Monk Institute partnered with Fillmore's jazz studies program and provided him with weekly one-on-one jazz bass instructions under DC area jazz musicians like Keter Betts, Steve Novosel, Michael Bowie, Emphriam Wolfolk, James King, and Paul Robinson.

The Monk Institute's mentoring partnership program provided workshops to young students like Ben where he was able to participate. By age 12, Ben had received one-on-one instructions from the great Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. Before he entered high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts he had already performed at numerous venues throughout the DC metropolitan area such as at the White House, the Vice President's House, the State Department, the Kennedy Center, Congressional Black Caucus, and many others. Following his first two years of jazz studies he decided he would make a "lifetime commitment of learning" for a career in music. He went to the Duke Ellington School prepared for rigorous bass instructions from Ms. Carolyn Kellock along with jazz studies and performance training from Davey Yarborough. He graduated in 2002 with academic honors as well as awarded the First Honors in Instrumental Music.

Ben is honored to have had the opportunity to perform with Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Bilal, Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Wilson, Gretchen Parlato, Hamiet Bluiett, Eric Reed, Sean Jones, Ron Blake, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Donald Harrison, James Williams, Rodney Jones, and Steve Nelson, to name a few.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: Rarities - Pt. 2
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Hosted by Loren Schoenberg, NJMH Executive Director

Another evening of rare film clips – bringing Bessie Smith, Eubie Blake/Noble Sissle, Zora Neale Hurston, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Django Reinhardt, Lucky Thompson, Ben Webster, Booker Little, Max Roach, and others back to Harlem.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jazz at the Playershttp://www.theplayersnyc.org/members/
Jonathan Batiste Trio
7:00pm
Location: The Players
(16 Gramercy Park S. | get directions)
$20 | Reservations or 212-475-6116

Jonathan Batiste is part of a culturally rich and significant lineage of musicians and musical families known worldwide: he is the most recent arrival from the Batiste family of New Orleans. At the age of 8, he was already featured singing with his family in Japan. He later performed with them on percussion, and by 12 had found his destiny—the piano. His family has been respected for generations as one of the top in the creation of the city's musical landscapes. These were the roots of his musical beginnings. Since then he has performed, recorded and toured over 30 countries with artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Abbey Lincoln, Jimmy Buffett, Lenny Kravitz, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, The Batiste Brothers, Alvin Batiste, and currently with Cassandra Wilson and Roy Hargrove. He has three CD releases under his own name, the first released when he was 17 and still studying at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) High School in New Orleans. Batiste is also a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City.

His ability to communicate to a wide range of audiences is apparent. He debuted at Carnegie Hall when he was 18 years old, has performed at major music festivals worldwide, and was the youngest featured performer at the 2008 NBA All-Star game alongside other New Orleans' musical icons on his instrument: Dr. John, Allen Tousiannt, Ellis Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr, and the Neville Brothers. He is a young man of poise, character, intelligence, charm, and sophistication, all of which will be clearly in evidence this evening at Jazz at the Players.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Harlem Speaks
George Faison, Dancer/choreographer
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Broadway dancer and choreographer George William Faison was born on December 21, 1945 in Washington, D.C. He attended Dunbar High School, where he studied with the Jones-Haywood Capitol Ballet and Carolyn Tate of Howard University. His first performance was with the American Light Opera Company. After graduating from high school, Faison attended Howard University with plans of becoming a dentist. He also worked in theater with the acclaimed African American theater director Owen Dodson.

In 1966, two years after he entered Howard, Faison saw a production of the Alvin Ailey Company. Within one week, he had decided to become a professional dancer and left Howard University to move to New York City. There, he studied at the School of American Ballet, where he took classes with Arthur Mitchell, June Taylor, Claude Thompson, Dudley Williams, Charles Moore and James Truitte, among others. He began his first professional jobs with the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, and continued studying dance with Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU) and Harkness House.

In 1967, Faison auditioned with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he would remain for the next three years. In 1970, Faison left the Alvin Ailey dance company to pursue his own career. After a part in the Broadway musical "Purlie," Faison created the George Faison Universal Dance Experience with only $600 dollars. The group's dancers included such notables as Renee Rose, Debbie Allen, Al Perryman and Gary DeLoatch. Faison was the artistic director, choreographer and dancer for the group.

In 1972, Faison made his choreographic debut with Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope on Broadway, which was the start of a series of successful choreography jobs. These included Via Galactica, Tilt and 1974's all-black retelling of The Wizard of Oz entitled The Wiz. The Wiz was a huge success, and helped to launch the careers of singer Stephanie Mills and actor Geoffrey Holder. That year, Faison became the first African American to win a Tony award. The George Faison Universal Dance Experience disbanded the following year, and Faison began focusing on musical theater. He also worked as a choreographer for entertainers like Earth, Wind and Fire, Ashford and Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle and Cameo, among others. 1981 brought the massive critical success of Apollo, Just Like Magic, an off-Broadway production that transitioned him from choreographer to director. In 1997, he directed and choreographed King, a musical performed at President Clinton's inauguration. In 1996, he founded the American Performing Arts Collaborative (A-PAC). Since that time, Faison constructed an arts center called the Faison Firehouse Theater, a project of A-PAC which has committed its resources to Harlem.

Look for insightful discussion of the intersection between jazz music and American dance as well as Faison's plans for productions with jazz as a main theme.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Panels
Jammin' the Blues: A Look at Jazz and Cinema
Noon - 4PM
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz came to life in the 20th century, as did cinema, and the two have been intertwined ever since their earliest days. Whether it was as a subject, an influence, or the topic itself, jazz and cinema reflect upon each other in myriad ways.

Join us for screening of film, panel discussions, and more. Panelists to include: Herb Boyd, Jonathan Scheuer, Scott DeVeaux and others. Updates at www.jmih.org and in our weekly emails as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Special Event
A Great Day in Harlem
1:00 – 3:30pm
Location: New York Historical Society
(170 Central Park West)
FREE | For more information: 212-485-9275

Interview with the filmmaker, Jean Bach by NJMH Executive Director Loren Schoenberg.

Come discover the rich story and hear the engrossing sounds behind the most famous photo in the history of jazz, in which photographer Art Kane coordinated a group photograph of many of the top jazz musicians in NYC in 1958 for Esquire magazine. The documentary features interviews of many of the musicians in the photograph who talk about the day the now iconic photograph was taken, and shows film footage taken that day by Milt Hinton and his wife. The film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

The photo was also a key object in Steven Spielberg's film, The Terminal,  starring Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski, a character who comes to the United States in search of Benny Golson's autograph, with which he can complete his deceased father's collection of autographs from the musicians pictured in the photo.

The afternoon screening of the documentary of the same title (1994) will be followed by an interview with the filmmaker, Jean Bach by NJMH Executive Director Loren Schoenberg.

Flecktones' Howard Levy to Launch Online Harmonica School

Grammy® Award winner Howard Levy is thrilled to announce he has partnered with online video exchange pioneers, ArtistWorks, Inc. The team will be launching The Howard Levy Harmonica School (HLHS) later this month– the first ever online portal that will teach harmonica to students around the world. Levy is widely known as a founding member of the Flecktones. He has also performed and recorded with Kenny Loggins, Dolly Parton, Bobby McFerrin, Paul Simon, John Prine, and many others.  Through his partnership with ArtistWorks, Inc., Levy integrates years of experience as a player and educator with their innovative video teaching technology.

Howard Levy is the world’s most advanced diatonic harmonica player.  He developed a fully chromatic style on the standard 10-hole diatonic and revolutionized harmonica playing, taking the instrument into uncharted territory. As a music educator, he has taught countless students and has been a guest lecturer on his craft at colleges and universities around the world including Harvard, Berklee College of Music, Dartmouth College and Northwestern University.  Howard Levy plays Hohner harmonicas.

The HLHS is a self-paced program for any skill level or style preference and provides personal video exchange lessons online. Levy’s comprehensive video curriculum is categorized from beginner to advanced lessons in a variety of styles including jazz, blues, folk, rock and more. Using a webcam, students record themselves practicing and submit the video for Levy’s personalized critique. Either through video or written response, students get direct feedback from Levy and these one-on-one Master Classes are then posted to the HLHS Exchange Center for all students in the community to learn from.  The Howard Levy Harmonica School is launching late November 2009.

ArtistWorks, Inc. is a Napa, California company is the leader in creating video-based instructional subscription websites. This groundbreaking technology has been implemented at Qbert Skratch University, Andreas Oberg Guitar Universe, the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute, Peery Piano Online and the Tony Trischka school of banjo.

Tony Trischka Partners w/ ArtistWorks to Produce Online Banjo School

Artistworks, the innovative online video-based learning company, has partnered with Tony Trischka, legendary banjo recording artist, performer, composer and educator, to open the most advanced online banjo school available.

The Tony Trischka School of Banjo uses ArtistWorks’ revolutionary “record-and-upload-anywhere” video exchange technology to offer a full range of instruction and learning opportunities as well as the social networking to create a worldwide online network of banjo players of all skill levels.

ArtistWorks’ powerful new technology enables Tony (from anywhere on the road) to use video to interact with students; review their video submissions and quickly respond to them with high-quality video recording and/or written responses.  These student/teacher video exchanges also become Master Classes on the site for all students to view and learn from. As Tony comments, “My School of Banjo is an enormous leap beyond any other online banjo-teaching site.”

The site is expected to launch late July, 2009.

Tony Trischka is a giant among banjo virtuosos, with a star-power recording legacy, nominated for a Grammy in 2007 and winning the Independent Music Award in 2008 for Best Americana Album. Tony is highly regarded for his teaching books and erudition in banjo and Americana music history. David Butler, CEO of ArtistWorks, says, “We are very pleased to have Tony join us as our latest partner.  He’s not only a virtuoso, he’s the consummate educator. It is our honor to be working together.”

ArtistWorks, Inc. is a Napa, California company that creates innovative, instructional subscription websites for such artists as Andreas Oberg, Jimmy Bruno, DJ Qbert, Tony Trischka, Christie-Peery Skousen and Howard Levy.

Colorado School of Mines Faculty Senate Endorses Amendment 58

Colorado School of Mines- for the Grateful Web

The Faculty Senate of the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has passed a resolution endorsing Amendment 58, which proposes to create the Colorado Promise Scholarship by eliminating a tax credit for oil and gas companies. The initiative would double the amount of need-based scholarships available to resident students attending public institutions of higher education if approved by Colorado voters in November.

The resolution, proposed by J. Thomas McKinnon, professor of chemical engineering and president of the CSM Faculty Senate, notes the scholarship program would help maintain the affordability of college by offering more aid to lower and middle income families in the state. Roughly two-thirds of Colorado families could qualify opening the doors of college opportunity to many new students. "During my 18 years on the faculty, I've seen a number of heroic students working nearly full-time jobs while trying to study engineering; some have succeeded but many have not," McKinnon said. "By providing better financial aid, we can help students concentrate on their studies and become more productive members of society. A well educated work force is clearly a prudent long-term strategy for ensuring the health of our economy."

By creating the Colorado Promise Scholarship Fund, Amendment 58 will more than double the state's financial aid funding. The scholarships would follow a "shared responsibility" model, taking into consideration how much a family is expected to pay for college, how much the student can contribute, and what is available from Pell and other federal grants.

The measure proposes to repeal a tax credit enacted in the late 1970s to help the energy industry become established in Colorado. The credit allows energy companies to subtract 87.5 percent of their property tax bills from the severance taxes they owe on oil and gas extracted in the state. The credit currently amounts to roughly $300 million a year. According to the Consumer Federation of America, Colorado produced $6.63 billion worth of oil and gas last year, or about 6.2 percent of total U.S. production.

It is estimated the Amendment 58 would raise $250-$325 million a year, with 60 percent going to the Colorado Promise Scholarship Fund. Of the remaining funds,10 percent would be funneled to renewable energy projects, 15 percent to wildlife habitat, and 15 percent to water quality and transportation projects in communities where oil and gas producers operate.

The Faculty Senate at CSM joins a long list of Amendment 58 supporters,  including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the presidents of the University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University system, Western State College, Metro State College, and the Colorado Community College System, the Associated Students of Colorado, Adams State Board of Trustees, Mesa State College Board of Trustees, Metropolitan State College of Denver Board of Trustees, the University of Northern Colorado Trustees, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society.

The CSM Faculty Senate represents the academic faculty at CSM and not the institution as a whole.