The Vermont Jazz Center is delighted to present an evening of music with NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan. On Saturday, June 1st at 8:00 PM, Ms. Jordan will perform the first set with pianist Eugene Uman, bassist Genevieve Rose and drummer Billy Drummond. The second set will feature Sheila Jordan singing with several surprise-guest performers and the rhythm section. This concert is one of many festive occasions throughout the world celebrating Ms. Jordan’s 90th birthday which took place on November 18th, 2018.
Sheila Jordan is a matriarch of the Vermont Jazz Center family. She joined the faculty in 1997, when the (then) new director, Eugene Uman, asked her to run a vocal workshop as part of the Center’s newly revised summer workshop. She offered a small group of singers a three-day program that has now blossomed into a weeklong workshop with instructor Jay Clayton, 20 vocalists and two rhythm sections. Sheila Jordan’s teaching style is based on reverence for tradition, openness to spirit and dedication to quality. In her workshops, Jordan’s visceral connection with the music and her love for the students envelops their experience, creating a safe environment that gently pushes them to exceed what they had imagined was their potential. Jordan has inspired several generations of vocalists, from amateur to world-famous, most of whom are quick to acknowledge that her coaching has profoundly and positively shaped their professional and personal lives.
On Saturday May 18th, the Vermont Jazz Center will present a duo concert featuring two of Cuba’s foremost musical performers: pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and percussionist Pedrito Martinez. Their charismatic presence, a brand new album and an on-going tour of about fifty international gigs has generated tremendous excitement and expanded their circle to include listeners around the globe. In the coming months they will be touring Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US, including Brattleboro, Vermont. In the promo for their new release, Duologue, percussionist Martinez states that “what makes this duo completely different is that I came from the folkloric side and Alfredo came from the classical side.”
The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Helen Sung and celebrates her Chamber Music America sponsored suite, “Sung With Words” on Saturday, March 30th at 8:00 PM at the Vermont Jazz Center. This show is a rescheduled date from a snowed out event on January 19, 2019. The pianist/composer will present a project that embodies the alliance of poetry and jazz and then takes it to new places. The performers in the octet are Helen Sung (piano and composition), Jason Palmer (trumpet), John Ellis (woodwinds), Charenée Wade and Carolyn Leonhart (vocals), Rick Rosato (bass), Adam Cruz (drums) and Samuel Torres (percussion).
The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes guitarist Russell Malone to its stage on March 16th. He will appear with his established quartet including pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Luke Sellick and drummer Anwar Marshall. Perhaps best known for his Grammy nominated work with vocalist Diana Krall, Malone is one of the leading guitarists on the jazz scene today.
Russell Malone is a hard-swinging guitarist also known for his evocative ballad playing. His signature sound is a full-bodied tone with long, fat, sustained notes, reminiscent of one of his early heroes, George Benson. According to his website, “on a school night when [he] should have been in bed” in 1975, he saw George Benson play “incredible things” on a TV special called “Seven Comes Eleven.” Malone quickly purchased two of Benson’s recordings, The George Benson Cookbook and Benson Burner,” which, along with Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ At the Half Note and Boss Guitar, then set him on what he says is “a course that I have not deviated from.”
The Vermont Jazz Center is excited to present its first annual Emerging Artists Festival on Friday evening, November 2nd in downtown Brattleboro during Gallery Walk and all day Saturday, November 3rd at the Vermont Jazz Center. This event is in collaboration with area schools and colleges, the Boys and Girls Club, Strolling of the Heifers, BrattRock, Youth Services, Gallery Walk and the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance. The VJC’s goal is to use this annual Emerging Artists Festival to cultivate a greater interest and deeper knowledge of jazz amongst younger audiences, to connect with our region’s youth and ultimately boost their attendance throughout the year. As a participatory event, VJC’s Emerging Artist Festival will break down barriers to accessing the arts, especially for the region’s young people.
On Sunday, September 23, Stage 33 Live in conjunction with Black Sheep Radio presents an afternoon of world-class jazz, including a workshop and concert, with guitarists Draa Hobbs and John Stowell. The event takes place at Stage 33 Live at 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls, and ticket sales benefit the venue and the radio station, two non-profit community arts organizations serving the greater Bellows Falls area.
The Vermont Jazz Center is excited to lift off its 2018-19 concert season on Saturday September 15th with Trinidadian trumpeter, composer and percussionist, Etienne Charles. He will be flying in from Michigan to perform with his band Creole Soul.
Creole Soul is one the many projects that Etienne Charles uses to investigate and perform music that aligns with his Caribbean heritage. He uses this ensemble as a musical laboratory to mesh the roots music of indigenous cultures with the language and arrangements of jazz. Etienne has traveled the world, seeking connections and differences between the rhythms and forms of Caribbean folkloric music.
The Vermont Jazz Center presents Eugene Uman’s Convergence Project on June 9th at 8:00 PM. The Director of the VJC, Uman and uses the Convergence Project as vehicle to present his original compositions and music that has influenced him – it includes Wanda Houston (vocals), Michael Zsoldos, saxophones; Jeff Galindo, trombone; Uman, piano; David Picchi, bass (electric and acoustic) and Jon Fisher on drums. There will also be surprise musical guests performing at this event.
After many musically formative years in Colombia, South America, Uman became drawn to blending the many rhythms of the country, such as cumbia, bambuco and pasillo, with jazz harmonies. While living in Antioquia, the Big Band of Medellín commissioned Uman to write for their 20-piece orchestra, resulting in Blues para Urabá.