The Jazz Journalists Association has announced the winners of the 2020 JJA Jazz Awards, which celebrate excellence in music and music journalism in thirty-nine awards categories. Among the winners are the following members of the MSM community:
Terri Lyne Carrington (HonDMA ’20)
Musician of the Year
Lauren Sevian (BM ’01, MSM Faculty)
Baritone Saxophonist of the Year
Miguel Zenón (MM ’01, MSM Faculty)
Arranger of the Year
View the full list of winners here.
Whirlwind Recordings has announced the June 12th release of Lagos Pepper Soup, the new album from MSM alumnus Michael Olatuja (MM ’06). On his third release as a bandleader, Olatuja presents his spectacular blend of West African Afrobeats and jazz, with the support of a string orchestra – arranged by iconic film score orchestrator Dave Metzger – alongside an international all-star cast which features Regina Carter (MSM Faculty), Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Brandee Younger, Lionel Loueke, Joe Lovano, Laura Mvula, Gregoire Maret and Becca Stevens.
Read the full press release on Bass Musician Magazine’s website here.
Senior Santosh Sharma (BM ’20, Jazz Saxophone) and his twin brother Ravi have been featured in The Seattle Times for their popular front porch jazz concerts. The two young musicians began performing for their neighbors after leaving NYC in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We just got tired of sitting in our house and playing by ourselves,” said Santosh. “So we decided we might as well go outside and play if we can safely do that.”
Read the full Seattle Times article here.
John Burnett of National Public Radio interviewed Associate Dean and Director of Jazz Arts Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM ’97) about performing, being an educator, and teaching empathy from the bandstand.
“The vibraphone, in my opinion, is just a bunch of metal and wood,” he says. “It’s not that important. Instruments are just tools. What’s important is the mission behind the individual who’s utilizing the tool. My ultimate passion is about the proliferation of empathy.”
You can listen to the interview here.
Alumnus and drummer Devin Gray (MM ’08) wrote an article entitled “Musicianship for Drummers: How To Practice Along With Recordings” that has been published in the March 2020 edition of DownBeat Magazine. You can read the article here on pages 102 and 103.
Devin Gray has been active in New York City for more than a dozen years. His two main projects as a leader have been Dirigo Rataplan (a quartet with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, trumpeter Dave Ballou and bassist Michael Formanek) and RelativE ResonancE (a quartet with reedist Chris Speed, pianist Kris Davis and bassist Chris Tordini). Learn more about Devin by visiting his website.
Jazz faculty member Damien Sneed‘s new opera, Marian’s Song, will have its world premiere tonight at Houston Grand Opera. The HGO-commissioned piece was composed by Sneed to a libretto by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton.
The opera is based on the life of Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century, who broke racial barriers throughout her storied career.
Learn more (and buy tickets) here.
Pianist, composer, and alumna Miho Hazama (MM ’12) is featured in The New York City Jazz Record’s February issue. The Artist Feature, written by Michael Cobb, is available to read online here.
A former student of Jim McNeely, Miho Hazama is considered to be one of the finest arrangers of her generation. She has been nominated for a Grammy award, released four full-length albums, and is known for her sophisticated big band and chamber jazz arrangements. You can listen to her latest release, Dancer in Nowhere, on her website.
Four MSM students and alumni were recently named recipients of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2020 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.
Angelo Di Loreto (MM ’13, Jazz Piano)
Eliana Fishbeyn (MM ’21, Jazz Composition)
Rin Seo (MM ’20, Jazz Composition)
Matthew Whitaker (Precollege alum)
The program was established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30. It carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to the program. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 17 to 29 and are selected through a juried national competition. For more information, visit their website.
The Monterey Jazz Festival recently announced MSM alumnus Christian Sands (MM’15, Jazz Piano) as its Artist-in-Residence for the 63rd Monterey Jazz Festival in 2020.
30-years-old Sands is a Grammy award-nominated pianist, composer and educator having toured around the world as a bandleader and appearing as a sideman on records by Christian McBride and Gregory Porter, among others. Sands has performed several times at the Monterey Jazz Festival Acting as an ambassador for the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Monterey region throughout 2020.
To read more about Sands and his recent accolades, visit the full article.
This past February MSM alumnus Gerald Clayton (BM ’05) was appointed Artistic Director and conductor of the Monterey Jazz Festival “Next Generation Jazz Orchestra” Clayton first appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2000 and 2001 as a member of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Vocal Ensemble which won the High School Vocal Division at the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Clayton attended both USC Thornton and the Manhattan School of Music, and in 2006, he received the second place prize in the Thelonious Monk Institute Piano Competition.
For more information on Clayton and his appointment, click here.
Former precollege student Matthew Whitaker was inteviewed on CBS’s 60 Minutes during February 23rd’s feature segment. Matthew is a jazz pianist who is blind, and since the age of 11, has been performing around the world. Called a prodigy with extraordinary talent, he has caught the attention of scientists who are now studying his brain and trying to understand his vision of music.
For Matthew’s full story, visit CBS’s website for the segment and article.
Bassist Matthew Jamal (BM’21), student of Buster Williams and Jeremy McCoy, is releasing his debut solo EP titled Itinerant on February 23, 2020, after performing with artists Wycliffe Gordon, Damien Sneed, and Billy Childs. Rooted mainly in Jazz harmony, Jamal’s style feels even so as a synthesis of indie, experimental, and classical— cultivating his own distinct genre through improvised vocals and upright bass. The artist describes this personal style as harking to his early life and musical origins. As a teen, Jamal played on the streets of Washington, D.C. in order to raise money for school.
“Growing up, there was a period in my life where things were hard for my family and me. The three of us were homeless for a year, and emotionally things were taking a toll on all of us. That time has deeply affected my approach to writing and performing music. I always try to connect the music back to a personal experience or feeling that I’ve had.”
To read more about Matthew Jamal’s inspiring story and his upcoming EP release, click here.
The Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program (YYPA), which recognizes outstanding young musicians from the world of classical, jazz and contemporary music, named MSM Jazz saxophonist Rico Jones (BM ’20) the 2020 winner of his respective category. Winners of this competition are invited to attend an all-expense paid weekend at the Music for All Summer Symposium, receive a once in a lifetime performance opportunity with national press coverage, and participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career.
To learn more about the Young Performing Artists Program, visit their website here.
Saxophonist, composer, and jazz faculty member Miguel Zenón has been named as a 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Miguel will spend the next year collaborating with scientists at the Institute in an endeavor that immerses artists in the cutting-edge field of neuroscience.
“My goals for this residency are two-fold: I am excited to learn from neuroscience’s best minds about how the brain innovates, how it creates something from nothing, such as a rhythmic pattern or a melodic line,” said Miguel. “I am also eager for this opportunity to connect with musically-minded youth in nearby Harlem and the Bronx — as well as Washington Heights, where I call home — and explore together the shared wonder of music and science.”
Read the full press release here.
Downbeat Magazine’s latest issue features an article on MSM alumnus Remy Le Boeuf (MM ’09, Jazz Alto Saxophone), profiling the artist and his recent big band album Assembly Of Shadows. Le Boeuf remarked, “I molded and shaped the story over the past couple of years,” on the topic of his recent release. “I wanted it to be flexible, something that could maybe be turned into a ballet.”
The artist has fulfilled commissions from the BMI Foundation, SFJAZZ, the New York Youth Symphony, and vocalist Sachal Vasandani. To learn more about Le Boeuf, read the full article.
Jazz saxophonist Santosh Sharma (BM ’20) won the grand prize in the jazz category, earning him a cash prize, a trip to Paris to meet Vandoren representatives, and the opportunity to perform at the 2020 Music for All National Festival.
The Vandoren Emerging artist competition is open to any highly proficient saxophonist or clarinetist – in Jazz or Classical – between the age of 18 and 23. The winners are chosen by a committee of Vandoren performing artists.
Learn more about VEA on their website.
This past weekend, ten of the nation’s most well-regarded university jazz programs—including Manhattan School of Music—competed in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championship.
Three MSM students were recognized for their outstanding performances during the awards ceremony on January 19th:
— Dabin Ryu (MM ’20, Jazz Piano)
— Joseph Miller (BM ’21, Jazz Alto Saxophone)
— Geoffrey Gallante (BM ’22, Jazz Trumpet)
Beginning this year, the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship provided participating ensembles with quality literature and a forum for celebrating excellence and achievement, while introducing higher education to Jazz at Lincoln Center’s education methodology and philosophy. View the full list of winners here.
Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts joined forces with Juilliard Jazz this morning on PIX11 News to promote Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jack Rudin Jazz Championship happening this weekend January 18 & 19.
This inaugural two-day competition features ensembles from ten of the most well-regarded university jazz programs in the country. The event will include a combo showcase in The Appel Room and a final concert featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Rose Theater. Named for Jack Rudin, founding supporter of our signature Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival, this event will celebrate the excellence and achievements of the next generation of jazz musicians.
Watch their performance and purchase tickets to the championship here.
Double bassist Matthew Jamal (BM ’22) is featured in clothing retailer Zara’s latest menswear campaign “story line”, which shows models with their favorite person, objects, and hobbies.
Matthew shares his story on Zara’s Instagram profile, which currently has a following of almost 40 million. “I came to New York to attend Manhattan School of Music. I knew that I wanted to study both classical and jazz performance at a conservatory, but I chose one in NY because it’s really a hub for artists who are non traditional.”
In addition to his musical accolades, Matthew has modeled in campaigns for Nike, Converse, and more. Visit his website to learn more.
Senior Rico Jones (BM ’20) has been selected as a semifinalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Competition. The semi-final round will take place in Tempe, Arizona on March 5 in conjunction with the 2020 NASA Biennial Conference in Tempe, AZ. Up to six finalists will advance to the final round, and the first place winner will perform in a special recital on March 8 in Tempe.
Learn more + buy tickets to the NASA 2020 Conference and Competition here.
Jazz faculty and alumnus Damien Sneed released a a four-song Christmas EP, ‘Joy To The World’ today, according to a press release. The second track, ‘What Christmas Really Means’, features current MSM student Lizzy Ossevoort (MM ’20).
“One thing I learned from the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, as well as my mentors Wynton Marsalis and Richard Smallwood, is always to reach forward and tap the next generation,” Sneed shares. “And that’s what I’m doing with my graduate vocal student, Lizzy Ossevoort, from Manhattan School of Music, who is a native of The Netherlands.”
Listen to Damien’s Joy To The World EP here.
Manhattan School of Music has been selected to compete in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s first annual Jack Rudin Jazz Championship January 18-19. The two-day invitational competition features ensembles from ten of the most well-regarded university jazz programs in the country.
The events include a combo showcase featuring an ensemble from each university, a two-part competition, and a final concert featuring performances by the three top-placing bands including a performance by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a culminating awards ceremony.
Tickets and more info: www.jazz.org/jackrudinjazzchampionship
Eleven current Manhattan School of Music Students have been selected to perform in a series of concerts held at the Gesellschaftshaus Magdeburg in Germany over the course of the Hall’s 2019-2020 Season. The five concerts, listed below, are sponsored by the US Consulate General in Leipzig and feature students from each area of study at the School.
October 26, 2019 | Apply Triangle (Contemporary Performance Program ensemble): Jixue Yang, piano; Tyler Neidermayer, clarinet; Joshua Weinberg, flute
November 30, 2019 | Jahari Stampley, piano
(Watch Jahari’s performance here!)
January 25, 2020 | Eunae Koh, violin; Esther Lim, piano
February 2, 2020 | Laura del Sol Jiménez, flute; Mélanie Clapiès, violin; Georgia Bourderionnet, cello; Yilun Wang, harpsichord
June 6, 2020 | Vatche Jambazian, piano
Learn more and buy tickets to these concerts here.
Jazz piano, voice, and composition faculty member Damien Sneed will premiere his new opera, Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown, at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage today at the Sphinx Organization Performance and Gala, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robert F. Smith.
MSM alumna J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09, Classical Voice) and fellow Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient will help bring to life this overture from his ground-breaking opera during the evening’s finale performance. Current student Ruben Rengel (PS ’20, Classical Violin) and alumnus Christopher Johnson (MM ’08, Orchestral Double Bass) are set to perform in the orchestra.
Composed by Sneed, who also wrote the libretto, Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown, showcases musical styles from the African American diaspora from African rhythms to spirituals to gospel to jazz, all interwoven in the classical genre.
Jazz pianist and artist Jason Moran (BM ’97) celebrated the opening of his new exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art in NY, NY last week. The exhibition is centered around the physical history of jazz, and features collaborations with Kara Walker, Joan Jonas, and other figures in the art world. You can purchase tickets to the exhibition (running through January 2020) here.
In a review by The New York Times, Jason shares, “When I think about all that has happened in those clubs, in those venues, with those audiences, with all the ephemera that is left behind — that tells a fuller picture of what the music is.” Read the full review and see photos of the exhibition here.
Jazz composition and music history professor Edward Green discusses Duke Ellington with Dr. Douglas Groothuis in the extended interview Delighting in The Duke, available to read here. Dr. Green is a renowned Duke Ellington connoisseur, having written an Editor’s Introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington.
Later this month, Professor Green’s orchestral suite Music for Shakespeare will be performed in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Asuncion, Paraguay under the baton of Francisco Varela.
Jazz Arts faculty member and alumnus Ron Carter (MM ’61, HonDMA ’98) shares his thoughts on what he wants his students to learn from him, playing with Miles Davis, and the evolution of jazz in an interview with WhatsUpNewp, an independent publication in Newport, RI.
“One of the things I hope [MSM] students get from me as a person – I’m concerned with humanity; I’m concerned with the next guy getting a fair shot at whatever the apple is; I’m concerned about the status of our country today and I hope that they pick that up in our lessons that I do not just cover bass, but our living in general.”
Read the full article here.
Jazz faculty member Regina Carter and alumna Linda May Han Oh (MM ’08, Jazz Double Bass) are featured in Vanity Fair‘s ‘Sisters of Swing’ article alongside fourteen other women “reshaping” the jazz world today.
Regina, a recipient of both the MacArthur and Doris Duke awards, has been widely hailed for her mastery of her instrument and her drive to expand its possibilities. See her website for more information.
Linda studied with Jay Anderson, John Riley, Phil Markowitz, Dave Liebman, and Rodney Jones during her studies at MSM, and is currently performing all over the globe. See her website for more information.
Photos of Regina Carter (left) and Linda May Han Oh (right) by Philip Montgomery for Vanity Fair.
Jazz Arts alumnus Jon Snell (MM ’17, Jazz Piano) is featured in the July edition of Stay Thirsty Magazine as a “Spotlight Artist”. As a current member of the Precollege faculty, Snell teaches courses in jazz theory and ear training, as well as coaches a student quintet.
Learn more about Jon and hear one of his compositions here.
In a press release, University of California at Los Angeles announced that MSM Artistic Advisory Board member Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’17) has been named the first Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. “Terence’s accomplishments are impressive and astounding for their range,” said school of music Dean Judith Smith, who initiated the creation of the chair in 2016. “His commitment to educating the next generation of jazz artists and his devotion to illuminating social justice issues through his music embody our UCLA values and align with the mission of our global jazz studies program.”