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JazzBoston February newsletter
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February with JazzBoston

Table of contents: JazzBoston celebrates its 10th anniversary, honors Councillor Charles C. Yancey
Mardi Gras with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble | Member's Connection: Win free tickets | No-cost jazz | Boston jazz giants: Chick Corea | Boston's historic arts pledge 

Newsletter Editor: Grace-Mary Burega
JazzBoston celebrates its 10th anniversary, honors Councillor Charles C. Yancey
Getting ready to blow out the 10 candles on
JazzBoston’s anniversary cake
Front, L to R: Cheryl Weber, World Music/CRASHarts; Ken Field, band leader and JazzBoston board member; Aisha Jackson, daughter of Eric Jackson; Councillor Charles C. Yancey; Emmett G. Price III, JazzBoston CEO.
Back, L to R: Grace-Mary Burega, JazzBoston newsletter editor; Elynor Walcott, Wally’s; Don Carlson, JazzBoston board member; Jen Falk, ArtsBoston; Eric Jackson, “Dean of New England jazz radio;” Paul Burega, JazzBoston Volunteer of the Year; Leonard Brown, retired NEU professor, John Coltrane Memorial Concert co-producer; Pauline Bilsky, JazzBoston President; Todd Gershkowitz, JazzBoston board member; Councillor Tito Jackson.
More than 130 JazzBoston members and friends from all over Greater Boston’s arts community gathered at Fort Point’s Pastoral Restaurant on January 31 to celebrate the organization’s 10th anniversary, meet its new CEO and Board Chairman Emmett G. Price III, and honor Councillor Charles C. Yancey, for his passionate support of Boston jazz. Music and laughter provided the sound track for a glimpse of our city's magnificent diversity.
 
All photos by Jean Hangarter.
Music students Tymier Boyer and Jamal Dickerson were recruited by Wally's Paul Poindexter to help check in the guests.
The Councillor and his wife were joined by family members and friends.
Emmett Price presented JazzBoston’s "official resolution," expressing gratitude to Councillor Yancey for his efforts to increase the awareness of the importance of jazz music in Boston's culture and daily life and declaring the Councillor to be a lifetime member of JazzBoston.
 
Councillor Tito Jackson delivered congratulatory resolutions from the Boston City Council for both Councillor Yancey and JazzBoston. The Council declared January 31 to be JazzBoston Day and February 7 to be Charles C. Yancey Day in the City of Boston.
In appreciation of its terrific volunteers, JazzBoston established a Volunteer of the Year award and inaugurated it by presenting a crystal trophy to Paul Burega, the behind-the-scenes manager of JazzBird®, JazzBoston’s free global radio app.
Emmett Price and WeJazzUp guest vocalist Wannetta Jackson sang “Happy Birthday” to a surprised Eric Jackson. (January 31 was, by coincidence, his birthday!)
Like most JazzBoston parties, this one ended with a jam session. Lance Martin on flute, Mike Moss on sax, and Jon Dreyer on bass joined WeJazzUp saxophonist Pat Loomis.
 
JazzBoston Operations Director Jon Taubman joined the jam session.
Editor's POV: Chick Corea – Boston jazz  giant
One of the true giants of Boston's jazz scene is pianist Chick Corea. Originally from Chelsea, MA, Chick started taking piano lessons at age 8, and went on to perform locally before moving to New York City. 

Corea has performed as a sideman with Cab Calloway, Miles Davis, and Stan Getz, among others. Widely known as a leader, he has led many famous groups, including Circle and Return to Forever. Many of Corea's songs have become standards, such as "Spain," "Windows" and "Light as a Feather."

Now 74, Corea has been nominated for 63 Grammy awards, of which he has won 22. With wide critical acclaim, he balances a hectic tour schedule between his group The Vigil, his trio with Brian Blade and Christian McBride, and recent duo tours with Bela Fleck and Herbie Hancock. 

I have personally seen Chick Corea in concert several times: at a solo piano concert at the Wilbur in Boston, at the Newport Jazz Festival with The Vigil and as a guest with the Wayne Shorter Quartet, and at Boston's Symphony Hall as a piano duo with Herbie Hancock. 

What is amazing about Chick Corea is his sparkling positivity. Through all of his success, Chick is down to earth and a true entertainer. At his solo piano show at the Wilbur, Chick invited audience members who played piano to come and play duo with him. He also invited audience members to come to the stage so he could improvise their "portrait." This concept of not only involving the audience, but showcasing them  left an impression on me that is truly unforgettable. Even more heartwarming was all of Chick Corea's high school classmates in the audience yelling, "Chickie!" 

Throughout the next few months JazzBoston will be highlighting famous jazz musicians from the Greater Boston area. Stay tuned for more history and personal accounts of Boston’s best.
Councillor Charles C. Yancey and his wife, Marzetta, were among the first arrivals.
The band surprised Councillor Yancey with his favorite song when he came to the stage – the Tower of Power’s “You’re still a young man.”
L to R: Charles C. Yancey, JazzBoston CEO and Board Chairman Emmett G. Price III, JazzBoston President Pauline Bilsky, saxophonist /singer Pat Loomis, singer Wannetta Jackson, pianist Frank Wilkins.  
Councillor Yancey thanked everyone, concluding with "I'm still a young man."
Councillor Jackson drew applause as he told the audience, "This is what Boston looks like!" and thanked JazzBoston for bringing the group together.
Frank Wilkins and WeJazzUp energized the room, as always, with Frank on keyboards, Sergio Bellotti on drums, Pat Loomis  on saxophone + vocals, and Lennie Stallworth on bass.
Cheryl Weber announced the winning number for a pair of tickets donated by World Music/CRASHarts. Door prizes were also donated by Wally's Jazz Café, Darryl's Corner Kitchen & Bar, the Celebrity Series, Regent Theatre, Regattabar, and Scullers. One very lucky person won an hour with Eric Jackson in his studio during a live broadcast.
Roxbury activist Mimi Jones was happy with her door prize, a certificate from Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen for Sunday jazz brunch for two. 
Looks like Councillor Tito Jackson and JazzBoston CEO Emmett Price and board member Todd Gershkowitz are having an interesting conversation.
Front, L to R:  Fred Taylor, JazzBoston board member; Pauline Bilsky, JazzBoston President; Councillor Charles Yancey; Eric Jackson; JazzBoston CEO Emmett Price. Back. L to R: Councillor Tito Jackson, Leonard Brown.

A collaborative effort extinguished the 10 candles on JazzBoston's anniversary cake.
 
Boston's historic arts pledge
Mayor Marty Walsh

In his annual Sate of the City address this past January, Mayor Marty Walsh reinforced his commitment to Boston arts and culture by announcing a million dollar investment in the city's arts community.


Mayor Walsh proposed three new programs. Firstly, he committed $400,000 for direct artist grants, which will be available through a variety of programs. $100,000 will go to creating the Boston Artist Resource Desk at City Hall, staffed by a full time Boston Artist Resource Director to create a fluid transition between artists and producers, as well as provide information about grant opportunities. Building on the success of Boston’s Artist-in-Residence program announced last year, Mayor Walsh also committed $500,000 to expand the program to 10 - 12 Boston Centers for Youth and Families.


This historic precedent for the City of Boston could signal the beginning of a new era for Boston's support of the arts. Boston Creates is responsible for the cultural planning process of Boston.

JazzBoston applauds Mayor Walsh’s commitment to the arts, and urges local jazz musicians to take advantage of these newfound opportunities.

 
Mardi Gras with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (Jean Hangarter photo)
I was able to talk with saxophonist-bandleader Ken Field, who will be leading the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (RSE) for their 25th Anniversary concert at the Regattabar, about the ensemble, Mardi Gras, and New Orleans jazz.
 
GM: Can you describe how the RSE came to be? Can you also describe the name of your ensemble?
 
KF: Some friends and I were asked to play for a loft party in Cambridge 25 years ago.  We put together a group consisting of horns and percussion, improvised some simple music based mostly on African rhythms, marched around the room, and had a great time. People seemed to like it, and we were invited to play at a few clubs. The group just sort of took off from there.  The name came from the group who threw the party - they called themselves the ‘Snake Women’. The ‘Revolutionary’ in our name has several implications, including that of the revolving cycle of life. I would say that our music is most appropriately described as evolutionary:  we are building on the past, and hopefully adding our own concepts.
 
GM: The RSE is based on Second Line music from New Orleans, and is described as a funk/street beat improvisational brass band. Can you talk about the characteristics of New Orleans jazz, and how that shapes the sound of RSE versus, say, a jazz combo?
 
KF: New Orleans gave birth to some very unique styles of music in the late 1800s, resulting, in part, from the mix of African-American culture, the availability of band instruments from dissolved Civil War military bands, and from the French and Caribbean musical influences that arrived as a result of trade with Cuba and Haiti. RSE's primary influence is the second line brass band music that came out of that melting pot. Integral to this style is the clave rhythm - a syncopated rhythm from the Caribbean. Much of the music we play incorporates a "straight eighth note" feel, rather than the "swing" feel many people associate with jazz, but we are a very improvisational group, which I see as integral to any style of jazz.
 
Also, New Orleans brass bands typically are composed of drums, tuba, and horns. There is no piano or guitar because these bands are typically marching ensembles. Since there is no chordal instrument, horns outline the chords via simultaneous single line contrapuntal melodies, which can be pre-composed or spontaneously improvised.
 
GM: The RSE is known to wear colorful costumes - kind of like Sun Ra’s band. How did your costumes come to be integral to the ensemble?
 
KF: We are influenced by Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where people spend up to a year designing costumes to parade in. While we don't spend quite that much time on our costumes, it's a lot of fun, and I am always pleasantly surprised to find that some of the best improvising musicians in town are totally into the costuming concept.
 
GM: The RSE Mardi Gras Show with Special Guests Godwin Louis & Jason Palmer will be at Regattabar February 9th. Can you talk about what to expect from the concert?
 
KF: Of course Godwin and Jason are amazing (as are all the musicians in the band!), and both have played with us before. This concert will celebrate our 25th anniversary as a group, and it’s always exciting to celebrate Mardi Gras, the biggest party of the year in New Orleans. This will be our 4th annual Mardi Gras show at Regattabar - it's getting to be a very nice tradition. Of course we'll also have some special surprises this year!
 
GM: Can you describe the traditions of Mardi Gras within New Orleans, as well as the jazz tradition?
 
KF: Music is central to New Orleans culture, whether during Mardi Gras the rest of the year. But Mardi Gras in particular is a time to celebrate life, friends, and community, which is what we will do at our concert.
 
RSE has been honored to have been invited for six years in a row to march in Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. That experience was a special inspiration to us.
 
GM: What role does New Orleans jazz have in the Boston community? Do you feel as if your group is introducing different traditions to Boston’s audiences?
 
KF: New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz, so really all members of the Boston jazz community have their roots in New Orleans.  But there are a number of great Boston-area groups that focus specifically on New Orleans brass band and Dixieland styles, including some young musicians who are taking this music to wonderful new places.
 
Our mission is to have fun and bring joy, creativity, and inspiration to our audiences.  We add our own elements, and do our best to bring our own voice to this music.
 
GM: What should people take away from the 25th Anniversary concert?
 
KF: We will bring energy, spontaneity, and emotion to the concert, and we hope that people will come away with a bit of each of those things!  Music, and particularly second line brass band music, communicates both the joy and sadness of our shared experience on this planet.  That can be powerful stuff, and we're honored to have the responsibility to bring the audience together in this way.
 
GM: What should people expect for the future of RSE?
 
We’re currently working on our 4th CD consisting mostly of my original music. I’m excited, and so far it’s sounding amazing.
 
Join the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble for an unforgettable Mardi Gras celebration. Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 PM. For more information, click here. For information about the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, click here.
Member's Connection: Win free tickets to Scullers & Regattabar shows! 
Clockwise from top left: Mike Stern, Aaron Diehl, Nnenna Freelon, Fred Hersch
 If you are a JazzBoston member, write to newsletter@jazzboston.org now to enter a drawing for free tickets to any of the events listed below, and please note which shows and dates you are interested in. You must be a JazzBoston member to be eligible to win.

Scullers is offering a pair of tickets to the following shows:

New York Voices, February 12, 10 PM
Cyrille Aimee, February 14, 4 PM
Nnenna Freelon, February 17, 10 PM
Fred Hersch, March 11, 10 PM

Regattabar is offering a pair of tickets to the following shows:

Gretchen Parlato & Alan Hampton Duo, February 13, 10 PM
Nick Moss Band, February 25, 7:30 PM
Matt Wilson Quartet, February 26, 7:30 PM
Atlas Soul, February 27, 7:30 PM
Buckwheat Zydeco, March 2, 7:30 PM
Felipe Salles, March 3, 7:30 PM
Aaron Diehl Trio, March 5, 7:30 PM
Mark Zaleski Band, March 8, 7:30 PM
Rhythm Future Quartet, March 10, 7:30 PM

Become a JazzBoston member now. 
Annual memberships begin as low as $20.
 
Clockwise from top left: Hal Crook, Ken Schaphorst, New York Voices, Jennifer Bill
No-cost jazz

Harmony Department Faculty Concert

The faculty of the Berklee Harmony Department will present an eclectic concert of new works and arrangements. Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 PM, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston.

 

Filmprov

Filmprov combines an animated film by Kate Matson and jazz improvisation with an ensemble led by Mark Harvey. Wednesday, February 10, 7:30 PM, Killian Hall, MIT, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge.

 

Vocal Workshop with New York Voices

Drawing from the vast repertoire of their 25-year international career, Grammy Award–winning jazz vocal group New York Voices will present a vocal workshop. Following the workshop, New York Voices will perform a live set of music with a rhythm section. Friday, February 12, 1 PM, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston.

 

Tufts Jazz Orchestra: Togetherness

As part of Tufts’ Family and Children's Concert Series, the Tufts Jazz Orchestra will present a concert for the public. Saturday, February 13, 1 PM, Distler Performance Hall, Granoff Music Center,  20 Talbot Ave, Medford.

 

Swingin' the Blues with the Paul Speidel Jazz Duo

Join jazz/blues guitarist Paul Speidel and friends, when they will bring their interpretations of the traditional styles to the stage in the guitar-bass duo format. Sunday, February 14, 2 PM, Druker Auditorium, Newton Public Library, 330 Homer St, Newton.

 

Open Rehearsal: The Music of Hal Crook

Berklee professor Hal Crook will hold an open rehearsal with vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding, pianist Leo Genovese, saxophonist Chris Cheek, and other alumni and special guests. Wednesday, February 17, 1 PM, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston.

 

The Write of Spring

The Berklee Jazz Composition Department presents the Write of Spring concert featuring compositions by faculty members Jeff Claassen, Winnie Dahlgren, Ayn Inserto, Darrell Katz, Dick Lowell, Jackson Schultz, and Bill Scism. Wednesday, February 24, 7:30 PM, David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston.

 

Ryan Keberle: The Evolution of Jazz Trombone

Ryan Keberle will discuss and demonstrate the evolution of the trombone in jazz music. A question-and-answer session will follow the clinic. Thursday, February 25, 1 PM, Berk Recital Hall, 1140 Boylston Street, Boston.

 

NEC Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Ken Schaphorst

Ken Schaphorst, New England Conservatory's chair of jazz studies, leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a program of his original music and arrangements. Thursday, February 25, 7:30 PM, NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston.

 

All Campus Concert Band and Big Band

Join the Boston University band and big band in a concert led by Jennifer Bill. Wednesday, March 2, 8 PM, Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.

 

Jazz-World Music Faculty Concert

Through innovative arrangements and original compositions, Wellesley’s talented Jazz and World Music faculty celebrate the diversity and joy of Latin music. Saturday, March 5, 8 PM, Jewett Art Center Auditorium, 106 Central St, Wellesley.

 

Tufts/NEC Dual Degree Concert

Students studying in the Tufts/NEC Dual Degree program present a variegated evening of classical, jazz, and original compositions. Saturday, March 5, 8 PM, Distler Performance Hall, Granoff Music Center, 20 Talbot Ave, Medford.

Jazz Week 2016: New Jazz Traditions
Friday,  April 22, to Sunday, May 1

Plan to participate – Benefit from the publicity
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