Arsht Center to host concert

The line which separates the popular culture and high art has been blurred a long time ago, but still old habits die hard. For some, the connection between European jazz music and classical music remains an object of suspicion and fascination.

Many points of argument are as old a jazz itself – a music of performers vs a music of composers; attachment to the written notes vs improvisation; swing vs formality. A jazz roots concert targets to put all these argument on rest on Friday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

The event includes music by Copland, Debussy and Bach, but also by US film composer Henry Mancini, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and pianist Dave Grusin. The brilliant cast of performers includes violinist Mark O’Connor, vocalist Bobby McFerrin, pianists Chick Corea, Elizabeth Roe, Shelly Berg as well as Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra of the University of Miami Frost School of Music.
The event, which is actually a collaboration among the Frost School, YoungArts Foundation and the Arsht Center, is a part of the YoungArts Week and it will be shot by PBS for a special which eill be telecasted later this year.

Larry Rosen, the producer, told that for the 5th anniversary season of the Jazz roots, he wanted to do something special – something like whats on your wish list. Rosen integrated works which shows classical music’s influence on pop and jazz music – such as Spanish Suite or excerpt from Blanchard’s Champion.

Commanders Jazz Ensemble at Las Positas College

The Veterans First Program recently announced that The Commanders Jazz Ensemble is all set to perform at a community concert that will take place at the Las Positas College campus. The Commanders will hit LPC’s Mertes Center for the Arts’ Main Stage auditorium on 10th December, Monday. Since it is a community outreach effort, there is no admission fee, but those who are willing to travel, must know that the parking fee at the college campus is $ 2. Daily parking tickets can also be availed from the vending machines.

The Commanders is based at the Travis Air Force Base; and under the direction of Sergeant Rick Thorp. The band members are highly trained and they play almost everything starting from jazz, to pop tunes, patriotic music, Latin rhythms and even Broadway favorites.

The music of well known jazz artists like Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Woody Herman and Duke Ellington will be featured in the event. Contemporary big band members and composers like Maria Schneider and Gordon Goodwin will also be at the concert.

The Commanders Jazz Ensemble has already performed in the western states like Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California both at live concerts as well as via several recordings and radio and television broadcasts. The band members use the power of music to root on other members of the Air Force as well as the people of the United States.

At present, the Las Positas College has around 8500 students and it also offers classes to those students who are in need of a career advancement or employment.

First concert of semester

On 22nd October, at the Evans Auditorium, the School of Music’s Ensemble Series will hold a Jazz Lab Band which is one of the 3 jazz ensemble classes in School of Music. The students would participate in the first 2 concerts for the class. Professor Martin McCain has directed the course for three years and he will direct it.

McCain told that they have been practicing for this show since the start of the class. The students were also working quite hard and also enjoying and having a whole lot of fun learning about the top bands of jazz. It is still part of the grade, it was more fun compared to anything.

The concert will begin with a group of students called the Jazzbones that excludes the trumpets and saxophones. McCain told that it was like a tradition which developed during the era of the Big Band. After that the whole ensemble will participate into play. The will touch different kinds of styles like funk, Latin, classical and jazz. He added that they have 7 tunes to hold the audience and take them to an emotional roller coaster. He would like to take people on a ride and left them thinking.

Sarah McGriff, one of the participants, told that most of the pieces are full of fun and energy, no matter which style they are. She added that she was quite surprised to watch a piece from music composer and that serves to connect with the audience quite easily.

Jazz artist Grace Kelly and her quintet

The arrangers of the Weir Farm Art Center’s Jazz will also present a scope to watch a rising star – a young singer and saxophonist who was creating waves since she was just a young girl. On 9th September, Sunday, twenty year old Grace Kelly will come with the quintet to put a gig at National Historic Site. This is going to be the seventeenth yearly performance in this series and it will happen on the Weir Farm lawns.

In a new news release, Grace Kelly told that she look ahead to Weir Farm as thinks it would inspire their music. Playing in outdoor is nice, but they rare have the opportunity to be circled by so much of natural beauty when performing.

Quintet’s other members are Evan Gregor on bass, Pete McCann on guitar, Jordan Perlson on drums and Jason Palmer on trumpet. Kelly began playing saxophone when she was only nine years old and she readily revealed her talent and proficiency which led her to her very first record named “Dreaming.” The album released when she was only 12 years old.

Since then, Kelly performed at more than five hundred concerts across the globe, says her biography in her website. Some of her performances include the Newport Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, B. B. King’s Blues Club, the Kennedy Center and Montreal Jazz Festival.

Grace graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston at the age of nineteen. She also earned several awards including Young Jazz Composers Award in the years 2007, 2008, 2010 and in 2011 and also received the award of Jazz Artist of the Year at Boston Music Awards and also in 2010.

Jazz musician Hudson Simbarashe

Hudson Simbarashe, a jazz musician based in Bulawayo, has told that he has got a passion for this genre and he will go on to produce this kind of music in spite the lack of support. On Tuesday, in a recent interview, Hudson Simbarashe told that this kind of music did not have very much support compared to what is known as ‘popular’ music.

If jazz music is compared to other genres of music like house music, you would realize that this genre would sell much less in a long period as it is aimed for mature listeners who take time to purchase this.

Still he will play jazz music. His music is heavily determined by jazz. Some people want them to trust that there are no jazz in this country, instead it is African music and they are ennobled to play it.

Chenga Ose is an album that has 9 tracks with two instruments tracks and that are Zim Blues and Fallen Trees. The other tracks to look for are Fallen Trees, Mapfunde, Pabva Gondo and Africa.

The roots of Simbarashe’s music are in African philosophy. Hudson read a whole lot of African literature and he also believes that best philosophers are found in this continent. Here, they are speaking about people who found out their philosophy form their culture.

Hudson began music in the year 1996 and in 2002, he formed Five Fold, a jazz music band. In 2004, they released their first album called Now or Never and in 2008, they released Forgotten Tears.


In a bid to win pension benefits for jazz artists, the musicians’ union for New York City has begun an advertising campaign and plans to expand their protest outside jazz clubs. The union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians has started distributing leaflets outside Blue Note in Greenwich Village in December saying that owners of club have gone back on their word where they promised to begin pension benefits to jazz musicians in return for a sales tax break.

On Thursday evening, the union plans to expand the leaflet campaign to five prominent jazz clubs namely Jazz Standard, Village Vanguard, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and Village Vanguard. The union is also advertising in jazz publications to draw attention to the misery of elderly jazz musicians who are devoid of pension benefits.

Meanwhile club owners have opposed the efforts of the union to force them to pay pension funds for years. Some of the owners say it the liability of the band leaders to pay pension benefits rather than club owners. They point out that it will be very much costly and impractical for owners to write a pension check for each and every musician who plays at a major jazz club. The campaign of the union is supported by several jazz artists such as Ron Carter, Bernard Purdie and Bucky Pizzarelli.