Jazz still doing strong

October 24th, 2013

Jazz songs may not be hitting on the Billboard charts anymore, but still, jazz musicians have created a lasting friendship with classic American songbook. Byron Stripling, the vocalist and the trumpet player and also the leader of Friday’s Jazz Legends event, told that even though most of these songs were written during 1920s and 30s, this is an enduring music which continues to be played and sung right up to the artists of these days.

This type music has been mainly good to Byron, whose music career goes to take him across the world and into several recording studios and the long list includes his debut in the Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson as well as New York Pops; diddling in Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; as well as touring with Clark Terry, Count Basie Orchestra and Woody Herman.

He told that for him it is just being on the stage. It does not matter where he is – it is just special. It is like a church. People come to the theater with lots of problems of their own. The performers on the stage have the duty to take the spectators to another place. To offer them love, peace, happiness and comfort through art, no matter whether it is music or theater or what.

The annual series of the jazz legends started thirteen years ago, an event for the well known musicians playing. Stripling stated it as straight-up-and-down and mainstream.

CSC Music: Jazz Concert

October 20th, 2013

Video Score: 5 / 5

George Duke passes away

August 28th, 2013

Grammy winning jazz artist George Duke passed away on Monday in Los Angeles. Television channels reported that he was battling with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

In a statement, his son Rashid Duke told that the outpouring of support and love that they has received from his father’s friends, fans and the whole music community has been quite overwhelming. He also thanked everyone for their concern, support and prayers.

During his fifty year career as a jazz producer and keyboardist, Mr Duke put out over forty albums and co-operated with artists like the Don Ellis Orchestra, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight. DreamWeaver, his final album was released on 16th July and made its debut at number one on Billboard’s contemporary jazz list.
Last year, his Corine died from cancer.

Justin Timberlake Nile Rodgers and several others voiced their sorrow after the death of jazz and funk great George Duke. The news sent a shockwave in the US music industry, and his friends and fans were quick to pay tribute.

Pop superstar Timberlake tweeted: “RIP George Duke. Funk, Jazz, Music legend… One of the greatest,”
In another tweet, he said: “George Duke RIP my co-music director Montreux Jazz (Festival) 2006 – Your funk made us ‘Reach For It’.”

R&B star Baker wrote: “R.I.P. George Duke, legendary jazz/funk keyboardist/producer,”
In her tweet Diane Warren said: “So sorry to hear of the passing of George Duke. Thank U (sic) for the music. Legend.”

Valley’s music talents gather

May 28th, 2013

Frank Wright Middle School’s assembly room was filled to capacity with finger snapping, toe tapping community members in the nineteenth Afternoon of Jazz concert event here on Sunday. Jimmie Cannon’s Valley Jazz started the festivities as well as featured Cannon’s son – Derek, as the special musical guest.

Derek told that this really brings back a lot of fond memories. It is great to see old friends and it is just another way to keep his father’s memory alive.

Along with Valley Jazz, the musical talents of different high school jazz bands in Imperial Valley were also on the display for dozens of attendees. Derek told that this is really great to see the community so supportive of the students and music education.

The event also recognized 6 student musicians from the different high schools with Danny Valladolid Memorial Scholarship that was made in memory of Valladolid, the man who passed away in the year 1993 from leukemia and he was one of the original members of the Valley Jazz when it started in the year 1988, told Renee Baker, who is one of the founding members of the group.

Baker told that the students are recommended by their directors and awarded the scholarship as a way to serve them further their music education. One of this year’s recipients wants to go to jazz camp, so he would be able to use the money for that.

Braden Rollins was one of the 6 students honored and he told that he has worked really hard this year. He has been practicing a lot and taking lessons and he thinks his director saw that.

2013 MCG Jazz Series Concerts

March 27th, 2013

The twenty seventh annual MCG Jazz will be another star filled affair featuring such musical artists as David Sanborn, Diane Schuur, Ahmad Jamal, Joshua Redman, touring with Bob James for the very first time. Over twenty headliners will perform in the series that will start with a special party on 28th September and will go through till 3rd May, 2014.

This season will celebrate several milestones – like Take 6’s twenty fifth anniversary tour, Gary Burton’s 70th birthday tour with New Gary Burton Quartet as well as 50th anniversary of Paul Winter’s performance at White House.

Newcomers to the event are Spanish Harlem Orchestra, British guitar ensemble Acoustic Alchemy, Chucho Valdes, Kevin Eubanks and Cassandra Wilson.

Australia’s Allan Harris will honor male jazz vocalists with – The Gentlemen Sing: Three Generations of Song, that will feature Philadelphia born Ernie Andrews as well as a new male jazz singer that MCG Jazz will find out via a nationwide search. All the details regarding the selection process will be declared this summer.

The season will start pn 28th September with the MCG Jazz Legends Party featuring Pittsburgh man Ahmad Jamal as well as other Pittsburgh Jazz Legends. MCG Jazz will also induct the new group of Pittsburgh Jazz Legends – J. Warren Watson, George “Duke” Spaulding, Joe Dallas, Frank Cunimondo, Charles “Chuck” Austin, Gene Ludwig, John Wilson, Joe Negri, Art Nance, James Johnson Jr, Roger Humphries, Nelson Harrison, Cecil Brooks II, Don Aliquo Sr. and Harold Betters.

Mark Harvey honored by jazz community

February 13th, 2013

Mark Harvey is a MIT lecturer, but he has another identity; he is a well known jazz trumpeter as well as Aardvark Jazz Orchestra’s founding director. Recently he was honored by elected officials and fellow musicians at the annual event called JazzBoston at the Ryles Jazz Club on 29th January.

JazzBoston is an organization of well known musicians dedicated to preserving and celebrating jazz. They honored Mark for his talents as well as his contributions in the group as educator, minister, composer, band leader and trumpeter. Kenneth E. Reeves, the Cambridge Councillor, presented Mark with a the key to the city. On the other hand Cambridge and Boston officials declared 30th January, 2013 as Mark Sumner Harvey Day

Since the year 1980, Mark has taught different kinds of Jazz subjects in MIT’s Music and Theater Arts Section. He has also performer as a trumpeter in countries like Mexico, United States as well as in many European countries. Mark has performed with several jazz artists such as Kenny Dorham, Joe Carroll, Sam Rivers, Howard McGhee, Claudio Roditi, Gil Evans and many more; he has recorded with Baird Hersey (Arista/Novus Records) and George Russell (Blue Note Records).

Mark Harvey, who is an internationally well known composer, has got several commissions and awards from the MIT Wind Ensemble, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Society of Composers, the Meet-the-Composer/Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program and Authors and Publishers.

Arsht Center to host concert

January 15th, 2013

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

December 19th, 2012

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

November 21st, 2012

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

October 11th, 2012

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.