October 12, 2021

MSM Spotlight: Remee Ashley (MM ’22) performs along with other students in the MSM Jazz Orchestra on Oct 12 at 7:30 PM

Remee Ashley is a second year MSM Jazz Arts master’s student studying tenor trombone who is playing with other highly talented MSM Jazz Arts students in the MSM Jazz Orchestra concert The Count Basie Big Band Legacy.

Remee talks about his experience being in the MSM Jazz Orchestra, why he chose MSM, and his hopes and dreams for the future. 

Tell us a little about yourself!

Remee: I was born and raised in Berkeley, California in a family that deeply loves the arts. My musical upbringing began at St Paul African Methodist Episcoal where my mom introduced me to the hymns that were sung there frequently. By the 4th grade, my friend suggested I play the trombone which I studied throughout high school. I performed with various bands my high school Berkeley High had to offer. I also played in other conglomerate big bands around my hometown. Currently, I am a second year masters student under the guidance and teaching of Ryan Keberle.

Tell us about this concert and what it’s like being a part of the MSM Jazz Orchestra?

Remee: The MSM Jazz Orchestra is performing pieces from Thad Jones, Neal Hefti, Duke Ellington, and other jazz greats that were recorded by the great and incomparable Count Basie and his orchestra. The challenge in playing this music isn’t so much about playing each note perfectly, but about keeping the integrity of the music and staying true to the way in which it was meant to be played. Under the guidance of the phenomenal band director, the legendary Jon Faddis, in an orchestra of some of the most gifted and talented musicians today, this is a concert not to be missed.

How has this school year been for you so far? What are you most looking forward to?

Remee: This school year has been a blessing, especially since MSM is now holding classes and concerts in person. Online learning can never replace the value of physically interacting with your peers and colleagues both socially and musically. This pandemic has taught me the value of connecting with people and to never take that for granted. I look forward to reconnecting with my colleagues and former teachers.

Remee Ashley (MM'22)

What do you like best about being apart of the MSM Community and being at MSM?

Remee: My peers and colleagues are some of the most talented, loving, and inspirational people I’ve come to know and love. The relationships, connections, and memories that you make here will never leave you. My peers and colleagues are a constant reminder about why I love music. The school itself has challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and explore new methods that will strengthen my musicality.

What projects are you working on now?

Remee:  I’ve been commissioned by a company named Roots & Roux Literary Museum to compose music for their upcoming play Black Menagerie Exhibit. The play is a series of skits and monologues depicting African American culture within America. Words cannot describe how deeply honored I am to compose music that will tell the story of those who were silenced.

“A strong community that radiates love, compassion, and empathy will always persevere amidst any obstacle. In the future I wish to be a part of institutions and projects that share that idea by offering others the tools and resources needed to reach their goals and dreams.”

Remee Ashley at Dizzy Coca Cola Club October 2019 (pictured second in from right)

Why did you choose MSM and what do you like best about studying here?

Remee: I’ve had the great privilege of working and studying under some of the most dedicated and marvelous faculty at MSM. During my years, both undergrad and now graduate, I’ve studied under critically acclaimed musicians like Steve Turre, Marshall Gilkes, Frank Lacy, James Burton, and now Ryan Keberle. Through the Jazz Arts Program, MSM has offered me opportunities to perform in a wide variety of ensembles that have featured musicians like Joe Lovano, Sean Jones, and Paquito D’Rivera. Not to mention performing in various venues such as Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center and even Carnegie Hall.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Remee: I hope to return to my hometown and become a professor where I can implement more courses that cover the contributions of African American culture and its influence on American music. Many of my accolades and accomplishments were made possible through the kind and loving support from my peers, colleagues, and teachers both former and current. A strong community that radiates love, compassion, and empathy will always persevere amidst any obstacle. In the future I wish to be a part of institutions and projects that share that idea by offering others the tools and resources needed to reach their goals and dreams.

Remee Ashely (MM '22)

MSM Jazz Orchestra: The Count Basie Big Band Legacy

Jon Faddis, Conductor

OCT 12 | 7:30 PM EDT

Neidorff-Karpati Hall

Manhattan School of Music
130 Claremont Avenue
New York, New York 10027