Last month, the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) announced the 2021 winner of the prestigious ISJAC/USF Owen Prize in Jazz Composition: recent MSM graduate Robert Buonaspina (MM ’20, Jazz Composition). During his time at MSM, Robert studied with esteemed faculty member Jim McNeely.
Mr. Buonaspina’s winning composition, “Smile Pretty”, will be performed virtually by an acclaimed professional jazz orchestra at ISJAC’s Un[chart]ed Territory (March 18-20). Learn more about the event here.
Three freshman jazz students are captured performing in Central Park in a new story from The New York Times, “A Bright Spot in the Pandemic Gloom: Jazz Is Everywhere in New York”. The article features a short video clip of students Kellin Hanas (Jazz Trumpet), Zoe Harrison (Jazz Double Bass), and Adam Lamoureux (Jazz Tenor Saxophone) busking in the park.
Kellin Hanas, an 18-year-old from Wheaton, Ill., can’t quite believe her new venue: “Central Park, holy cow! I saw this on the Disney Channel.”
Read the story and watch their performance here.
Saxophonist Pat DeRosa (BM ’54, MM ’56), who turned 98 this year, was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. DeRosa, who grew up in Huntington, performed with the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band, bandleaders Lionel Hampton and Tommy Tucker and jazz legend John Coltrane, with whom he played for three years until Coltrane’s death in 1967.
DeRosa’s induction video can be seen at facebook.com/LongIslandMusicHallofFame.
Drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington (HonDMA ’20), a member of MSM’s newly announced Artist Scholars program, last week received the nation’s highest honor in jazz: a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.
“I’m so proud to join the distinctive list of jazz masters, many of whom are mentors of mine,” said Carrington. “Apprenticeship is so powerful in this music, which is why I have focused my efforts in the area of jazz activism.” Read the full press release here.
Terri Lyne is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.
Alumnus Leon Lee Dorsey (MM ’86) has reimagined the iconic Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released as “Wolff Clark Dorsey Play Sgt. Pepper” on the Jazzavenue 1 label. Dorsey states, “it was absolutely a magical experience recording with two such extraordinary musicians like Michael Wolff and Mike Clark on such an iconic piece of music history from a legendary band like the Beatles.” Read the full press release from All About Jazz here.
Dorsey is currently Assistant Professor of Jazz Composition & Arranging at Berklee College of Music.
Faculty member and alumnus Damien Sneed (’06) has been appointed an artist-in-residence at Michigan State University. According to a press release, Sneed will work with Wharton Center and MSU’s College of Music, helping to bring social impact programming to both institutions.
“I’m excited about returning to Michigan State University and the Wharton Center,” said Sneed. “We will be able to touch the lives of so many different people through the lyrics and messages in the music.”
Jazz trombonist Ezra Potash (’16) and his twin brother Adeev host the new original series, “Takeout Twins”, on the Food Network Kitchen app. In the series, the twin brothers show viewers how to make budget-friendly versions of classic take-out dishes at home.
“Food is fun, but food with friends is better,” said Ezra and Adeev Potash. “It’s been a blast spending our quarantine teaching our friends how to build their skills in the Food Network Kitchen and help them thrive in this unsettling time.”
Download the Food Network Kitchen app here to stream “Takeout Twins”.
Andrew Rathbun (DMA ’11, Jazz Saxophone) has recently released two CD projects: Impressions of Debussy and Northern Noir. The first CD, released on the Centaur Records label, is a collection of improvisations that reimagine Debussy’s Preludes for piano. The second project, released by SteepleChase, is a duo project with Ran Blake that delves into his universe of film noir, plus versions of standards and Thelonious Monk.
Aaron Parks (BM ’02, jazz piano) is a Fellow at the 2020 Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab in collaboration with Skywalker Sound and supported by Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).
Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound today announced the composers and directors selected for the Film Music and Sound Design Lab, reimagined and expressed digitally this year on Sundance Co//ab. The Lab provides Fellows with firsthand experience of the collaborative process with the goal of nurturing the development of music in film.
Read the full press release here.
Last week, the Hungarian Trombone Camp announced the winner of their 2020 online competition—alumnus Paco Andreo (MM ’20). You can view his award-winning performance on the Hungarian Trombone Camp’s YouTube channel here. Among the panel of judges was MSM faculty member Marshall Gilkes and former faculty member Wycliffe Gordon.
Visit Paco Andreo’s website to listen to more of his work.
Alumni power couple Jason Moran (BM ’97) and Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) received a very favorable review from The Atlantic for their sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall this past March entitled “Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration”. The concert was designed by the Morans to explore the songs and sounds that accompanied black lives throughout the Great Migration.
“The Morans are devoted to elevating voices that have not often been heard, and to articulating connections between the highest levels of black society and the lowest. “Two Wings,” which spans nearly three hours, featured performances from some of the leading voices in gospel, jazz, folk, and Western classical music; for the Morans, it was an opportunity to put a version of the black American musical canon into venues that, even today, seldom make space for its full breadth.”
Read the full article here.
Faculty member Damien Sneed has been selected as one of BET’s “Future 40”, which highlights a new generation of inspiring leaders and changemakers across entertainment, activism, sports and more.
“As a pianist, vocalist and composer, Sneed’s resume is lengthy as an emerging Black leader in classical music,” writes BET. You can watch the video feature here.
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.”
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.