Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New England Conservatory Jazz Studies and CI Departments 2016-17 Season

New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies & Contemporary Improvisation Departments Present 
Nearly 100 Free Performances for 2016-2017 Season

September 2016 — May 2017

Highlights include: How to Say Goodbye: Music of Ken Schaphorst and Donny McCaslin, the music of Argentinean big band composer Guillermo Klein, the music of country superstar George Jones, annual Film Noir concert featuring Hitchcock’s Vertigo, NEC Jazz Orchestra in Music of Tadd Dameron, 
Cardew’s The Great Learning directed by Anthony Coleman

New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies and Contemporary Improvisation Departments announce nearly 100 free concerts for the 2016-2017 season. Highlights include a tribute to country songwriter George Jones, a musical reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a concert of music by Tadd Dameron, Cardew’s The Great Learning; and In the Mix, 81 one-hour concerts featuring exceptional student ensembles from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments. 

All concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, log on to or call 617-585-1122.

FALL 2016

Tuesday, September 6 – CI Opening Night Concert – Brown Hall
Directed by CI Co-Chair Eden MacAdam-Somer. NEC's groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation Department kicks off the academic year with a concert featuring CI faculty.

Thursday, September 15 – Music of Dave Holland – Brown Hall
An evening of music by the composer, bandleader, and bassist.

Thursday, October 20 – NEC Jazz Orchestra performs Music of Guillermo Klein – Jordan Hall
Guillermo Klein became associated with Smalls in New York City, where he established a weekly engagement with his influential 17-piece ensemble that incorporated elements of jazz combined with musical traditions from his native Argentina. Klein later scaled the band down to a more streamlined 11-piece unit that began to be known as Los Guachos. The band continued to develop with the help of residencies at Smalls and, later, the Jazz Standard. The NEC Jazz Orchestra will draw on music from Klein’s large and small ensembles.

November 8-10, 16-17, 21-22, 28-30 & December 1, 5, 7, 12
CI Salon Series & Jazz In the Mix – Pierce/Brown Halls
7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Discover the musical innovators of tomorrow with the CI Salon Series and In the Mix – one-hour concerts featuring NEC’s student jazz ensembles, each coached by a member of NEC's renowned faculty.

Monday, November 14 – You Done Me Wrong: The Music of George Jones – Jordan Hall    
Under the direction of Assistant Chair Eden MacAdam-Somer, the Contemporary Improvisation Department presents an evening celebrating the life and music of legendary country singer George Jones. Known as "one of the finest interpretive singers who ever lifted a microphone," Jones was inspired by Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers, and collaborated with such greats as Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard. CI faculty, students, and special guests will share their interpretations of music by these artists, so expect a whole lot more than country music on the program!

Tuesday, November 15 – NEC Gospel Ensemble; Jazz Composers Ensemble – Brown Hall
This concert showcases two of NEC’s exceptional student ensembles. The NEC Gospel Ensemble, coached by Nedelka Prescod, explores contemporary gospel music as it is currently being created and performed. This ensemble works with repertoire composed within the last 20 years of contemporary gospel music and highlights key composers and choir leaders. 

The NEC Jazz Composers Ensemble, coached by Jorrit Dijsktra, gives student composers the opportunity to develop their work for small jazz ensemble through rehearsal and performance.

Thursday, December 8 – How to Say Goodbye: Music of Ken Schaphorst and Donny McCaslin – Jordan Hall
The NEC Jazz Orchestra will help celebrate the release of Ken Schaphorst Big Band: How to Say Goodbye with the help of NEC faculty member Donny McCaslin. The concert will draw on compositions from Schaphorst’s most recent recording, along with his arrangements of the music of Donny McCaslin.

Tuesday, December 13 – Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra – Brown Hall
The Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra is devoted to rehearsing and performing works by NEC Jazz Composition students. Coached by pianist/composer and NEC jazz faculty member Frank Carlberg, the ensemble gives its composers the opportunity to learn how to rehearse and conduct a band, as well as have their works heard. 


Monday, January 30 – Jazz & CI Faculty Spotlight – Jordan Hall
Directed by Greta DiGiorgio. Featuring NEC Jazz and CI faculty.

Tuesday, February 21 – Film Noir: Vertigo – Jordan Hall
Co-producers Aaron Hartley and Ran Blake present their 12th Annual Film Noir project, featuring students and faculty of NEC's groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation department. This year's performance explores Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, heightened by new music created by NEC musicians and special guests.

Thursday, March 2 – If You Could See Me Now: The Music of Tadd Dameron featuring the NEC Jazz Orchestra – Jordan Hall
Tadd Dameron was the most influential composer of the bebop era. He also wrote for the big bands of Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jimmy Lunceford. This concert, performed by the NEC Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Ken Schaphorst, will include the performance of many of Dameron’s most well-known compositions, including “Good Bait,” “Hot House,” “If You Could See Me Now,” “Our Delight” and “Lady Bird.” 

Monday, March 27 – Jazz/Wildcard Concert – Jordan Hall 
Each year, an audition committee selects a few exceptional students to represent NEC in the Honors Jazz and Wild Card ensembles.
April 3-5, 10-13, 18-19, 26-27 & May 1, 3-4 – CI Salon Series & Jazz In the Mix – Pierce/Brown Halls  
7, 8 and 9 p.m.                       
Discover the musical innovators of tomorrow with the CI Salon Series and In the Mix – one-hour concerts featuring NEC’s student jazz ensembles, each coached by a member of NEC's renowned faculty.

Thursday, April 6 – NEC Gospel Ensemble; NEC Jazz Composers Ensemble – Brown Hall
This concert showcases two of NEC’s exceptional student ensembles. The NEC Gospel Ensemble, coached by Nedelka Prescod, explores contemporary gospel music as it is currently being created and performed. This ensemble works with repertoire composed within the last 20 years of contemporary gospel music and highlights key composers and choir leaders. 

The NEC Jazz Composers Ensemble, coached by Jorrit Dijsktra, gives student composers the opportunity to develop their work for small jazz ensemble through rehearsal and performance.

Monday, April 17 – The Shooting Gallery: Faculty Recital by Eden MacAdam-Somer – Jordan Hall
Performed by MacAdam-Somer and members of the Hartford based chamber music non-profit, Cuatro Puntos, this concert gives voice to the struggles of children confronted with violence in all parts of the world. The program centers around The Shooting Gallery, a new work by MacAdam-Somer, inspired by Czech surrealist Toyen's lithograph series of the same name, featuring twelve
images of war through the eyes of a child. The concert will also showcase a new work by British composer Sadie Harrison, based on the experiences of Syrian refugees.

Thursday, April 20 – Child’s Play: The Music of Eddie Sauter and Bill Finegan performed by the NEC Jazz Orchestra – Jordan Hall
The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra was one of the most creative large jazz ensembles in the history of jazz. Both writers were active during the 1940’s, writing for the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Glen Miller. When they formed the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra in 1952, they expanded the typical big band instrumentation to include instruments like harp, timpani, and marimba. This concert will include “Doodletown Fifers” and “Child’s Play.”

Tuesday, April 25 – NEC Jazz Composers Workshop – Jordan Hall

Sunday, April 30 – International Jazz Day – Brown Hall
UNESCO has designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. NEC joins the celebration with a performance featuring NEC faculty and students playing music embodying the ongoing dialogue between jazz and musical cultures from throughout the world.

Tuesday, May 2 – The Great Learning directed by Anthony Coleman – Jordan Hall
The Great Learning is Cornelius Cardew’s magnum opus. Composed between 1968 and 1971, this work has been called "the summation of British experimental music techniques, and, to a great extent, all experimental music techniques of the classic experimental era." The Great Learning is based on the first seven paragraphs of the Dà Xué (or the Ta Hseüh), written by Confucius and his pupils and translated by the poet Ezra Pound. Cardew dedicated the work to the Scratch Orchestra, whose members included professional and student musicians, visual artists, actors, dancers, and people with no previous experience of the arts.  The Great Learning, therefore, is designed with the Scratch Orchestra's variety of experience in mind: there are solos of great technical difficulty written in common-practice music notation, text pieces or pieces using prose instructions and music in graphic notation.

NEC's Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became president of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters. The program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers and has an alumni list that reads like a who's who of jazz. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC's jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 105 students; 55 undergraduate and 50 graduate students from 16 countries. Founded in 1972 by musical visionaries Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program is “one of the most versatile in all of music education” (JazzEd).  The program trains composer / performer / improvisers to broaden their musical palettes and develop unique voices.  It is unparalleled in its structured approach to ear training and its emphasis on singing, memorization, harmonic sophistication, aesthetic integrity, and stylistic openness.  Under Blake's inspired guidance for its first thirty-three years, the program grew considerably and has expanded its offerings under current chair Hankus Netsky and assistant chair Eden MacAdam-Somer. Alumni include Don Byron, John Medeski, Jacqueline Schwab, Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz; faculty include Carla Kihlstedt, Blake, Dominique Eade, and Anthony Coleman. “A thriving hub of musical exploration,” (Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe), the program currently has over 50 undergrad and graduate students from 17 countries.

Playlist for Tom Ossana / Dane Brewer – The Thin Edge – August 3, 2016 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.

Fred Hersch returns with his trio's 2016 Palmetto Records' Sunday Night at the Village Vanguard in a performance of Thelonius Monk's "We See" with John Hebert (b) and Eric McPherson (d). Two of my favorite Italians, Enrico Rava and Stefano Bollani, team with acclaimed Mark Turner (s), Larry Grenadier (b) and Paul Motian (d), on Rava's "Thank You, Come Again" from ECM's 2009 New York Days. Closing this half-hour Herbie Hancock bridges the gap between post-bop and the fusion craze with his "You'll Know When You Get There" from his 1970/71Warner Brothers' Mwandishi featuring Eddie Henderson (tr) Julian Priester (tb) and Bennie Maupin (fl). This is an unique, mystical creation from the otherwise funky Hancock.

Freddie Hubbard opens this half with his first recording as a leader covering tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks' title track from his 1960 Blue Note Open Sesame. McCoy Tyner's piano is powerful with help from Clifford Jarvis (b) and Sam Jones (b). Pianist Ron Stabinsky follows with a highly praised solo performance of his "Once, But Again" from his Hot Cup Records' Free for One. Jazz artists are notorious for cryptic titles! Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers turns the tables on the children's ditty, "Three Blind Mice," from his 1962 Blue Note recording of the same name. Together with Blakey is the three-horn front line - trumpet, tenor and trombone - Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller with some outstanding work from Cedar Walton (p) and Jymie Merrit (b). Bill Evans' Trio 65 (Verve 1965) ends this segment with a cover of John Carisi's "Israel" - a composition quickly recognized as a unique jazz classic after it was recorded by Miles Davis at the sessions which later became known as the Birth of the Cool. Bill's trio includes Larry Bunker (b) and Bill's long-time sidekick Paul Motian (d).

From my favorite Swedish pianist, Bobo Stenson, we get a beautiful cover of the late Tony Williams' "There Comes a Time" from Bobo's 2005 ECM Goodbye. Included are his favorite bassist, Anders Jormin, and Bill Evans' regular Paul Motian on the drums. Jackie McLean Quintet's critically acclaimed Blue Note 1967Hipnosis follows with a McLean composition, "The Breakout." The all-star lineup includes Jackie's alto with Grachan Moncur III (tb), Lamont Johnson (p), Scott Holt (b) and Billy Higgins (d). Early West Coast jazz pioneer, Shorty Rogers, is next with "Sam and the Lady" from his West Coast Sound, featuring The Giants 1950-1956. Joining the trumpeter are John Graas (frh), Gene Englund (tuba), and soloist Art Pepper (as) trading fours with Shorty. New from ECM, Peter Erskine Trio's As It Was gives us romantic take on Cole Porter's "Everything I Love" featuring Palle Danielsson (b) and the late John Taylor's piano. This particular outing was recorded in 1992 under the title, You Never Know.

Newcomer Kandace Springs get our romantic mojo soaring with her take on pianist Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" from the 2016 Blue Note Soul Eyes. Kandace added lyrics to this oft covered Waldron melody. Trumpeter Terrance Blanchard and Vinnie Colaiuta's drums work putting together the eight-piece ensemble. Enrico Rava returns, this time with popular Italian pianist, Renato Sellani, covering Cole Porter's "I Love You" from their 2001 Philogy Le Cose Inutili’ [English: Things Unnecessary]. Courtney Pine's Modern Day Jazz Stories – Polygram UK 1996 - recruits Cassandra Wilson to interpret Billie Holiday's "Don't 'Xplain." Along with Pine's smooth-jazz sounding soprano and Cassandra's voice we'll hear from pianist Geri Allen, trumpeter Eddie Henderson. Eddie appeared earlier with Hancock's recording. 2InLove follows from David Benoit featuring Jane Monheit from his Concord Records released last year. The duet covers their composition, "This Dance." Red Garland was legendary jazz deejay Wes Bowen's favorite pianist. Honoring the old friend, we'll hear Red, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor covering Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You" from his 1956/57 Prestige's Red Garland's Piano. Robin McKelle makes her first appearance on the Edge with "Love's Work" from her 2012 Sony Music Soul Flower featuring Robin dueting with Gregory Porter. Jarrett/Peacock/DeJohnette's snippet "Meaning of the Blues" keeps us cuddly until we meet again.

Let's have some fun!

Thanks to Music Director Serah and friends around the world for the program's content.

Avi Rothbard - Standard Solo and Duet Sketches (feat Wayne Escoffery) 2016

Guitarist and composer Avi Rothbard is one of New York’s prominent jazz guitarists and a jazz clinician.

Born and raised in Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, Israel, Avi Rothbard has moved to Boston Mass in the summer of 1995, after receiving a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music. During his Berklee years, Mr. Rothbard has received The Jimmy Hendrix Award, Boston Jazz Society Award, Guitar Dpt. Achievement Award and The William Leavitt Award. Mr. Rothbard holds a Masters degree in jazz studies from the City College of New York and is also a 2013 recipient of the Bronx Council on The Arts award(BRIO) in the instrumental music category.

A prolific composer, Rothbard’s compositions are featured in several recordings of his peers. In 2014 , Avi Rothbard has won the John Lennon Award for the jazz category. 

Since residing in New York City in 1999, Avi Rothbard has led and co-led ensembles in some of the major jazz venues around the world. Mr. Rothbard has worked with jazz veterans, as well as the new generation of jazz masters such as Ben Riley, Jeremy Pelt, Freddy Cole, Wayne Escoffery, Gregory Porter, Ray Drummond, Alex Blake, Mike Clark and Jay Leonhart, to name just a few. 

Avi Rothbard’s name is included in Scott Yanow’s book: “The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide”

"Young Lions" is a term that jazz journalists have been using to describe the long list of straight-ahead, acoustic-oriented jazz improvisers who were born in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, and London native Wayne Escoffery is among the many Young Lions who started building his catalog in the early 2000s. Escoffery, who plays post-bop and hard bop, is a tenor saxophonist with a big, full tone; his influences on the tenor have included, among others, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, and Sonny Rollins. Escoffery plays the soprano sax as a second instrument, and his most obvious inspirations on the soprano include Coltrane and Shorter. But whether he is on the tenor or the soprano, Escoffery has maintained a decidedly straight-ahead perspective that is quite faithful to the spirit of the Young Lion movement. Notes by Alex Henderson

1. Sweet Blue (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 6:15
2. How Long Has This Been Going On? 4:03
3. Let's Call This (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 5:50
4. The Shadow of Your Smile 5:27
5. Satellite (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 5:42
6. Confessin' (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 6:50
7. Alone Together 5:00
8. Old Devil Moon (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 4:19
9. Ugly Beauty (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 4:45
10. What Is This Thing Called Love? 3:27
11. Inutil Paisagem 4:44
12. The End of a Love Affair (feat. Wayne Escoffery) 5:37

Avi Rothbard, guitar
Wayne Escoffery, tenor sax


1. Sweet Blue (feat. Wayne Escoffery)