Next Stage Arts presents an evening with American roots jazz band The Afro-Centric Experience, on Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 pm at Next Stage Arts.
The Afro-Semitic Experience is an American roots jazz band with a difference. They are a group of Jewish-American and African-American musicians who have been performing, recording, and teaching together for over 20 years. Their friendship ignites their passion and purpose: Together, as a band, they merge their musical roots, Jewish and Afro-diasporic melodies and grooves, combining the core concepts of ase and shalom – power, action, unity, and peace. Their music embodies the radical notion that people of different faiths, races, and beliefs can come together, and celebrate and build community. Their repertoire is a mix of original compositions and arrangements of pieces curated from Jewish and African-diasporic cultures. Their music reaches out to a distinct open-minded listening audience; their intentional merging of jazz with the spiritual and the sacred has allowed them to share our music in concert as well as at worship services in houses of worship across the United States.
“The work of Afro-Semitic explores how two distinct cultures and histories have much to learn and share from one another,” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “They explore the intersections of diaspora, roots, and a renewed expression of peace in difficult times. And they happen to also be incredible musicians and educators.”
The Vermont Jazz Center will present the George Cables Trio in concert on March 12th at 8:00 PM. Cables will perform with his longstanding trio of Essiet Essiet on bass and Jerome Jennings on drums. The concert will be held in front of a full-capacity audience (proof of vaccination, photo ID, and masks required) and will also be live streamed on Facebook and the VJC’s website.
George Cables is a living legend of jazz piano. He is one of the few masters alive today who toured the world and recorded with many of the musicians who are currently hailed as the top artists of the post-bop movement. His live recordings with Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Art Pepper, Woody Shaw, and Freddie Hubbard are testaments to the era of burning-hot solos, where groups would stretch out on a jazz standard for 15-plus minutes.
Don Was, president of Blue Note records) claims that “Joel is not only one of the preeminent instrumentalists of this era, but he is one of the greatest musical visionaries of his generation.” The concert will be held in front of a reduced-capacity, live audience and will also be live streamed on the Jazz Center’s website (www.vtjazz.org) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/VermontJazzCenter/live/). Ross will be performing with his working quintet called Good Vibes. The group includes Godwin Louis on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kanoa Mendenhall on upright bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums. This is Ross’ touring and recording ensemble (with Louis replacing Immanuel Wilkins on alto) and is featured on Ross’ two highly respected Blue Note releases: KingMaker and Where are You.
For listeners familiar with the impact of the vibes in bebop and swing, Ross’ dynamic sound recalls jazz legends Red Norvo, Lionel Hampton, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson and Gary Burton. His approach is steeped in the tradition. In fact, he uses an old-school, two mallet technique similar to Milt Jackson rather than the four-mallet technique used by most contemporary vibes players. He does this because he prefers the clarity of sound he is able to achieve. Ross has evolved to become one of the most visible jazz musicians of his generation, joining forces with such titans as Ambrose Akinmusire, James Francies, Jason Palmer, Mckaya McCraven, Marquis Hill, Jonathan Blake, Walter Smith and Matt Stevens. His respect for the past combined with his transcendent ability to enter the “zone” of becoming one with the music have given him a unique voice that is simultaneously modern and timeless. JazzTimes Magazine claims “Not since Stefon Harris’ arrival 20 years ago has the jazz world heard a young vibraphonist intent on exploring so many dimensions.”
The Vermont Jazz Center will present its fourth annual Emerging Artist Festival on Saturday, November 13th. The event promotes new ideas and individuals affecting the future of jazz, a music that encourages creativity and lauds game-changing artists. This year the Jazz Center will partner with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and will feature one of their instructors, Haitian turntablist Val Jeanty (Val-Inc).
Performances will begin at 1:00 PM on Saturday: student groups from around the region will be coached by members of the institute throughout the day and will attend a 4:15 masterclass. The Festival will culminate in an 8:00 PM performance by Jeanty and members of the Institute.
The entire event is open to vaccinated individuals (please bring proof and ID) and is free to students and members of the LGBTQ community. Tickets for the 8:00 PM concert cost $20. Outright Vermont will be tabling throughout the afternoon events.
I. CALL TO ORDER – 6:00 p.m. – David Schoales, Board Chair
II. CONSENT AGENDA
• CLERK’S REPORT – Approval of Minutes – April 6, 2021
III. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items (10 minutes)
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
The Vermont Jazz Center will present trumpeter Jeremy Pelt in a live stream show featuring his working quintet on Saturday, March 20th at 8:00 PM. He will be performing music from his most recent album called Griot, This is Important! Joining Mr. Pelt will be the performers featured on this new recording: Chien Chien Lu (vibraphone), Victor Gould (piano), Vicente Archer (acoustic bass) and Allan Mednard (drums).
Jeremy Pelt is one of the finest jazz trumpeters of his generation; he has been compared favorably to Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw and Miles Davis. Nate Chinen of the New York Times sums up his abilities in a simple phrase: “Mr. Pelt plays brilliantly with warmth and depth.” Pelt expresses his mastery in a variety of settings. For example, his most recent trio album, The Art of Intimacy, Volume 1, showcases his golden tone in an understated set of Great American Songbook gems with pianist George Cables and bassist Peter Washington. Pelt’s numerous albums as a leader and sideman reveal his ease in playing over burning tempos and his delight in grooving over a visceral, swinging beat or taking his time on a saucy blues. Furthermore, Pelt is an accomplished composer and arranger – his original compositions convey unpretentious yet complex harmonic choices that complement the natural cadences of his melodies, resulting in song forms of enigmatic beauty.
Jonathan Barber’s star has been on the rise since his auspicious 2018 debut, Vision Ahead, and a 2019 tour in Pat Metheny’s trio… an abundance of heightened energy and new ideas executed with pristine precision by the bandleader and his future-facing ensemble.
Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine
Vermont Jazz Center Presents Drummer Jonathan Barber and Vision Ahead in a Live Stream Performance on Saturday, February 20th at 8:00 PM
On February 20th at 8:00 PM, drummer Jonathan Barber’s Vision Ahead will perform a livestream concert at the Vermont Jazz Center which will be viewable on line at www.vtjazz.org
The Vermont Jazz Center will celebrate its 45th season by offering an online version of its annual Summer Jazz Workshop from August 9-14, 2020. In the spirit of moving forward, the VJC has developed a structure to share the love of jazz and the wisdom of the faculty as a temporary replacement for its traditional summer jazz workshop in Putney, Vermont. This year’s program features an expanded faculty, a new take on masterclasses, plus two new features: “Hot Topics” and “Zoom Tunes,” as well as a composition course led by Helen Sung as part of our theory curriculum.
Called “Zoom Into Jazz,” 2020’s workshop welcomes a handful of new masterclass instructors on bass (Linda Oh, Genevieve Rose, David Picchi), drums (Clarence Penn, Corey Fonville), piano (Shamie Royston, Maya Keren, Miro Sprague), trumpet (Rachel Therrien, Ray Vega) and saxophone (Felipe Salas) to complement VJC’s stellar faculty (see below for a full list). The masterclasses will focus on different, daily topics – transcribing, comping, improvising, electric or acoustic instruments, note sets, etc. Each teacher will define the parameters of their own offerings.
The Convergence Quartet to Perform at the Vermont Jazz Center, Saturday, June 20th at 8:00 PM
The Vermont Jazz Center presents a live stream event with Eugene Uman’s Convergence Trio with special guest Wanda Houston on Saturday, June 20th at 8:00 PM. The group includes Uman on piano, Houston on vocals, David Picchi on electric piano and Jon Fisher on drums.
The Vermont Jazz Center is excited to present an online event on Saturday, May 23rd and Sunday, May 24th with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science. The activities will be livestreamed from the VJC’s website at www.vtjazz.org beginning at 8:00 pm on Saturday and continuing Sunday, May 24th, from 2:00 – 5:00 PM. Saturday will feature a musical presentation and Sunday will be three separate masterclasses including Q&As with audience members.
The core of Social Science is Carrington on drums, pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens. This trio is expanded to a sextet on their recent double-length recording, Waiting Game, and, at the VJC event, will include multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin on bass and saxophone, as well as vocalists Kassa Overall and Debo Ray.
The Vermont Jazz Center is proud to present its 4th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival the weekend of April 24-25th in live streaming format. Each of the artists will be performing from the comfort of their own home or a close-by piano studio using digital streaming technology to present their sets live, directly on the Vermont Jazz Center’s webpage. The Festival will be run using the same format as past years: Friday and Saturday evening feature concerts, Saturday daytime classes and emerging artist concerts, and a late afternoon panel discussion amongst all the artists. The performers will be NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi, Manuel Valera, Orrin Evans, and Shamie Royston as headliners as well as emerging artists Franz Robert, Maya Keren and Matt Twaddle. Helen Sung will moderate Saturday afternoon’s panel discussion.
The event will be free and open to the public, donations are encouraged and can be made on line via the VJC’s website.
The Vermont Jazz Center presents Downbeat Rising Star Award-winning vibraphonist Ross in concert on Saturday, March 14th. Ross, a 24 year-old Blue Note recording artist, is making the “vibes” a more familiar and accessible sound to audience members of his generation. For listeners familiar with the impact of the vibes in bebop and swing, Ross’ dynamic sound and virtuosity brings back memories of its judicious use by jazz legends Red Norvo, Lionel Hampton, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson and Gary Burton. Ross’ approach is both modern and steeped in the tradition. JazzTimes Magazine claims “Not since Stefon Harris’ arrival 20 years ago has the jazz world heard a young vibraphonist intent on exploring so many dimensions.”
Ross will be performing selections from his highly acclaimed Blue Note album, KingMaker, a musical tribute to his family. Joining him at the Jazz Center will be other mid-20s artists including Immanuel Wilkens on saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kanoa Mendelhall on bass, and Jeremy Dutton on the drums. All except Mendelhall can be heard on Ross’ recent release. Downbeat Magazine gave KingMaker a 4 star review, noting that “Ross’ playing erupts through the layers of lush arrangements like consistent currents of electricity, high-powered and full of luminous energy. These bright bursts of solos and melodic lines surprise, excite and stretch…”
The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Bobby Watson and Horizon on Saturday, February 15th at 8:00 PM. Watson, on saxophone, will be joined by Rising Stars Jazz Award-winner Giveton Gelin on trumpet and a rhythm section comprised of members of the original group: pianist Edward Simon, bassist Carroll V. Dashiell and the legendary drummer Victor Lewis.
Horizon is a supergroup that performs straight-ahead, acoustic, hardbop music. According to band leader Watson, his composing style and the group’s sound is influenced by Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sly and the Family Stone. Horizon does not play covers, they definitely play jazz.
The Vermont Jazz Center is delighted to present pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton on Saturday, January 18th at 8:00 PM. Fulton, a DownBeat Magazine Rising Star, was recently lauded as 2019 Female Vocalist of the Year and 2019 Pianist of the Year by Hot House Magazine/Jazzmobile. She will be performing with her working quartet of over a decade including her father, Stephen Fulton, on Flugelhorn, Hide Tanaka on bass and Fuku Tainaka on drums.
Champian Fulton swings hard – she’s a top-shelf pianist and vocalist with an expansive repertoire and a broad stylistic vocabulary. She likes to leave her sets open-ended so that she and her band can choose between familiar and little-known gems from the Great American Songbook on the fly. Considering her youthful age (34 years old), it is intriguing that Fulton’s repertoire naturally gravitates to selections from the swing era. Her whole persona, public and private, resonates with a love for the music from that time period. She conveys the essence of swing effortlessly and authentically; her performances give listeners a fresh appreciation of the creative possibilities inherent in an older style. In Fulton’s hands, swing is a vibrant, living music that resonates with meaning and joyous playfulness.
The Vermont Jazz Center’s Big Band will present its Annual Scholarship Gala on Saturday, December 7th at 8:00 PM. This year’s celebration will honor Nat King Cole’s 100th birthday-anniversary. The VJC Big Band, under the leadership of musical director Rob Freeberg, is a community orchestra made up of professional musicians who come together once a year to raise money for the VJC’s Scholarship Fund. This event is the primary funding source that helps aid scholarship students attending VJC’s educational programs. In 2019 the VJC offered $30,000 in scholarships to help students attend ensembles, private lessons and their annual summer jazz workshop.
This year’s gala will feature the arrangements of songs made famous by Nat “King” Cole, who was recognized as “one of the most influential entertainers of the 20th century” by National Public Radio. The Grammy Hall of Famer was a superstar of his time: he recorded over 150 Billboard singles and sold over 50 millions records. Cole knew he was destined for a life of music – he dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to tour as pianist in his brother Eddie’s trio and he never looked back.
The Vermont Jazz Center received a generous Arts Impact Award from the Vermont Arts Council and further support from the Windham Foundation to sponsor its second annual Emerging Arts Festival. This weekend’s activities will include a Jazz Walk during Brattleboro’s first Friday Gallery Walk. Seven different student groups will perform jazz music in five venues. The Festival will also include a Saturday afternoon workshop and evening concert at the VJC with renowned Cuban pianist, Harold López-Nussa and his quartet.
See below for schedule.
The Vermont Jazz Center is excited to present pianist Harold López-Nussa and his all-Cuban quartet on Saturday, November 2nd as part of the VJC’s Emerging Artist Festival. This event is being held in memory of the VJC’s dear friend and generous patron, Jonathan Flaccus, whose passion for Cuban music and classic bebop as well as his generosity in assisting those in need has had a great impact on the Jazz Center. This is a rare opportunity to hear the López-Nussa Quartet live, as they are based in Cuba and are coming to the VJC as part of a tour that will take them to seven venues on the East Coast as well as performances in France and the United Kingdom.
Thanks to an Arts Impact Award from the Vermont Arts Council, the Harold López-Nussa Quartet will also be presenting a free workshop on the basic building blocks of Cuban jazz performance and style at the Vermont Jazz Center at 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 2nd. This workshop is free and open to the general public. The López-Nussa Quartet concert at 8:00 PM is a ticketed event (tickets available at vtjazz.org).
The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Grammy-winning trumpeter Nicholas Payton and vocalist Cyrille Aimée to the stage in a duo performance on Saturday, October 12th. Payton will perform on trumpet, acoustic bass, piano and Fender Rhodes; Aimée will sing and, at times, use a looping device to layer her vocals. Individually Payton and Aimée are two of the most creative musicians on the scene today, but as a duo their collaboration synergistically expands the perimeters of improvisational music. They spontaneously interact or push each other, sometimes delving into material from the American Songbook, other times exploring new sonic textures or hypnotic grooves.
SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – The Vermont Jazz Center Sextet makes a return visit to Main Street Arts in a performance Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the music of some of the greats of jazz.
Works by Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Art Blakey, mixed in with some original music and arrangements written by members of the ensemble, promise an up tempo experience for lovers of jazz.
The Vermont Jazz Center is thrilled to kick off its 2019-20 concert season with a very special concert on Saturday, September 14th at 8:00 PM featuring the Steve Turre Quintet. Come hear Turre perform on trombone and conch shells with Bruce Williams on saxophone and flute, Oscar Perez on piano, Corcoran Holt on bass and Orion Turre on drums. Steve Turre is regarded as one of the finest jazz trombonists in the world. His on-going recording and performing career has included fertile tenures with Ray Charles, Woody Shaw, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers to name a few. This year he is celebrating 36 years as trombonist in the Saturday Night Live band. Turre has made records with a highly diverse group of artists ranging from Dizzy Gillespie, Celia Cruz, Etta Jones, McCoy Tyner, Max Roach and John Scofield, to Carlos Santana and Mariah Carey.