Friday, August 31, 2012

Jazz or Bust? Help Steady a Major Source of Modern Jazz History

UPDATE (10/2/2012): The Jazz Session will end at the end of October, 2012. More about this at The Jazz Session: A Special Announcement

Jazz interviewer Jason Crane today added to his personal blog at jasoncrane.org a post entitled Tour Diary: The End Of The Line. Here he informs us that, due to lack of funding, his Jazz or Bust tour will not be able to continue, at least for now.

The tour started as a response to his housing status becoming uncertain. It became an interview trek down the east coast from Brooklyn to New Orleans. Crane found great jazz and its creators outside of New York, and did readings of his own poetry along the way. He stopped by here and spent some time at The Gnu's Room in Auburn.

In addition to the tour having to be interrupted, it appears distinctly possible that his interview show, which he's done for free, for anyone, for everyone, for five years, for 400 interviews, may also be interrupted. Reason being that he may have to move somewhere permanently. If it's not NYC, the reservoir of musicians available to interview would diminish considerably.

I am an expert on nothing. But I've listened to about the last 150 interviews he's done, and I have developed a sense that what he's created is an invaluable piece of historical reference. And this was recently confirmed for me.

Below is a quote from Crane's description of an interview of Barry Kernfeld he posted to thejazzsession.com on June 11, 2012:
"Barry Kernfeld...may be most well known as the editor of both editions of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, a massive undertaking that sought to define the major players, instruments and theories of jazz around the world."
Now, below is a transcription, uh's edited out, of a short section of that interview, starting at around 49:03. The key point is the last sentence.
Kernfeld: But there's been no systematic work on jazz as a Grove entity since 2001, and I think that for financial reasons there is no prospect of there being. I can continue to call myself the editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. I am. There hasn't been any other. That doesn't mean I'm doing anything on it. I'm doing other stuff.

Crane: Which makes me sad, because, I mean, a huge part of the reason that I do what I do is because I looked around and realized that no one was talking to musicians of a certain generation. I mean, the--many of the greats who had gone before had, you know, extensive documentation of their lives and stories, and very few people did, you know, around my age and younger.

Kernfeld: And I saw on your website you've got just one new person after the next--hundreds of them--interviews, hour-long interviews that would be, you know, the resource for Grove 3.
So, to paraphrase, or at least infer from Kernfield's passing comment, this tremendous contributor to our world's knowledge of jazz has just implied that Crane's show would be a significantly--even singularly--important repository of source material for a third edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, if it were ever to exist.

Crane is no different than any other great artist has ever been. He makes his money from patrons. On his list of patrons are some--not all, mind you--of the 400+ musicians who have benefited directly from literally millions of people downloading their interviews. I have spent real money on these people's music that I never would have spent without Crane's show. If each of them would commit one gig's pay per year to the show, he would be in a lot better shape, and the modern history of jazz could continue to be recorded.

But even that may be a lot to ask. Arts patrons are not generally artists, or at least not those for whom art is everything. They are other people. They are people who have the luxury to care about the future of something else without having to worry too much, as most artists do, as Crane apparently does, about the screaming right-now of their own lives.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but people who have time to stare at a screen reading 750 words by a small-town, part-time musician are very likely the kinds of people who can be arts patrons.

As Nashville saxophonist Evan Cobb tweeted to Crane today, "How do we fix this?" There are two easy ways. Become a regular member of the show at this link: thejazzsession.com/join and support the tour at this one: thejazzsession.com/tour.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Archive: Summer 2012 A Little Lunch Music


At the time I posted this archive, I only had pictures of John Norton uploaded to Flickr. If I have added any more (I forgot if I was even able to take any others), they will appear in the slide show above or at this link.
SUMMER 2012 SPONSORS
Thank you for making our community better by supporting art music!
 
Sponsorship Level: Woodfield Trio
An Anonymous Friend
Ursula's Catering

Sponsorship Level: Student Recital
Charles and Melanie Wright
This is an archived schedule of the summer 2012 season of A Little Lunch Music, a weekly series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art which I coordinate. Normally, the series breaks during the summer. Due to the popularity of its 2012 spring concerts, we added three performances each in in June and August.

Summer 2012 (artist bios below schedule)

June 14: pianist John Norton
~Sposored by: Ursula's Catering

June 21: cellist Charles Wright with pianist Barbara Acker-Mills, violinist Sarah Schrader and violinist Matthew Weathers
~Sposored by: Ursula's Catering

June 28: guitarist Dan Mackowski

August 16: pianist Mary Slaton

~Sposored by: an anonymous friend

August 23: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with pianist Barbara Acker-Mills

August 30: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with pianist John Norton (jazz)



Artist Bios (in alphabetical order)
 
DR. BARBARA ACKER-MILLS holds a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in piano from the State University of New York at Binghamton. There she won the University Concerto Competition open to graduates and undergraduates on all instruments. While at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Acker-Mills studied with acclaimed performer and pedagogical award winner Barbara Lister-Sink who said that Acker-Mills “demonstrated admirably at Salem that a petite frame is no deterrent to commanding and powerful playing.” Dr. Acker-Mills teaches psychology for Argosy University and in the music department at Auburn University. She performs primarily as a collaborative artist.

DAN MACKOWSKI has been part of Auburn, Alabama’s jazz scene since arriving in 1990. He was part of the Auburn Knights Orchestra from 2001 to 2004 and now arranges pop and big band tunes for solo fingerstyle guitar. Like many of his generation, Dan became fascinated with the guitar after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. He played in rock bands while pursuing degrees in physics and mechanical engineering. Now, Dr. Mackowski is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. He teaches courses in thermodynamics and energy-related science and researches the mathematical description of electromagnetic wave scattering. 


The music of saxophonist and flutist PATRICK MCCURRY crosses boundaries between jazz and classical, pop and art, secular and sacred. Born and raised in Alabama and having returned home to Auburn, Patrick blogs in support of good music in and around his community. He performs with a chamber group, The Woodfield Trio, and holds a Masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There, his instructor and mentor was James Houlik, international concert saxophone maestro. He studied jazz improvisation, composition and arranging while earning his undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans.

John Norton
Gadsden native and Auburn pianist JOHN NORTON can be seen subbing with big bands across Alabama and playing professionally for private events. While earning an engineering degree at Auburn University, he played with the Auburn Knights Orchestra and appeared with performers including the Vogues and Bobby Vinton. John served with the Third Armored Division Band in Germany. Afterwards, he began an award-winning career in music retail, working for Kimball Piano and Organ Company for twenty years and Roland for fifteen. John sings in the Jubilate Choir at Auburn United Methodist Church and accompanies the Chapel Five, the church’s men’s quartet.

SARAH SCHRADER, born in Hanceville, Alabama, earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Auburn University in 2006. She has been teaching music at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Tuskegee ever since. She started playing the violin at age three and was a regular member of the Alabama All-State Orchestra through middle and high school. Sarah studied vocal music education at Auburn and minored in violin performance. Aside from teaching a growing studio in the Auburn area, Sarah plays for weddings and events as a regular member of the Auburn String Quartet. She also directs the Trinity Lutheran Church choir.

MARY SLATON is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier piano-lounge soloists. Over the years, she has entertained many with her extensive knowledge of popular music. Among Memphis venues, Mary has performed at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. In Atlanta, she has played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club and others. At home in the Auburn-Opelika area, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club and the Marriott have featured her. Mary holds piano degrees from Memphis State University and from the University of Montevallo. She teaches privately and at Southern Union Community College.

A rising senior at Auburn High School, violinist MATTHEW WEATHERS won the 2012 Alabama Music Teachers Association Division III State Solo Competition and received honorable mention in the 2010 AMTA Division II competition. He participates in the Young Artist Program at Columbus State University and plays in the first violin section of the Auburn Community Orchestra. He has been playing violin for 9 years and viola for 2. Matthew is currently a student of Dr. Lorna Wood.

CHARLES WRIGHT is cellist and leader of the Auburn Quartet, a string quartet in the East Alabama and West Georgia area. Having been a member of the Auburn Community Orchestra since 1985, he now plays principal cello for the group and is president of its board. He performs in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and is involved with the Auburn Chamber Music Society in which capacity he founded this chamber music series. Mr. Wright is passionate about classical music and plays a significant role in cultivating its growth and influence in the Auburn community.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spring 2012 Lunch Music Archive

This is an archived post of A Little Lunch Music's spring 2012 season. For more about the series, go to the Lunch Music Schedule page on this website. I have some photos and more audio from the season, and if I ever get around to it, I'll post them here. UPDATE: I did! They're at right.
 
January 19: The Woodfield Trio
January 26: The Woodfield Trio
February 2: cellist Laura Usiskin and pianist Jeremy Samolesky
~Sponsored by Virginia Transue and an anonymous friend
February 9: pianist Thomas Harbin
February 16: flutist Nancy Vinson and pianist Laurelie Gheesling
February 23: Performance moved to Friday, Feb. 24
February 24: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with guitarist Dan Mackowski 
March 1: pianist Tzu-yi Chen
~Sponsored by Charles and Melanie Wright
March 8: The Woodfield Trio
March 15: Spring Break (no performance)
March 22: Raj Chaudhury and the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble
March 29: soprano Christina Burroughs with pianist Nicole Agostino
~Sponsored by Haygood, Cleveland, Mattson, Thompson & Pierce, LLP
April 4 (Wednesday): pianist Michelle Huang
~Sponsored by Haygood, Cleveland, Mattson, Thompson & Pierce, LLP
April 5: performance moved to Wednesday, April 4 (there will be music at the museum, however)
April 12: violinist Robin Scott and cellist Ahrim Kim
~Sponsored by Gene and Phyllis Stanaland
April 19: AU Chamber Choir, pianist Julia Tucker, The Woodfield Trio
April 26: flutist Stephanie Erdman with guitarist Jacob Brown
~Sponsored in part by Emil and Margaret Wright
May 3: pianist Mary Slaton
~Sponsored by Gene and Phyllis Stanaland
May 10: pianist Barbara Acker-Mills with guest The Woodfield Trio
~Sponsored by Bill and Josie Walsh
May 17: violinist Sarah Schrader and pianist Julia Tucker
with the George Washington Carver Elementary School Music Makers
May 18: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with bassist Sidney Simmons (jazz)


Audio from Spring 2012




Artist Bios (in progress) in Alphabetical Order

An active soloist and chamber musician, pianist NICOLE AGOSTINO has performed recitals across the U.S. In 2011 she toured the southeast as a guest artist giving recitals and lectures on J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations and has recently recorded the work. Nicole is a doctoral candidate in performance at Florida State University. She holds a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music, both in performance, from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 2008, she held a piano faculty position at the renowned Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Nicole teaches privately from her home in Auburn.

The AUBURN INDIAN MUSIC ENSEMBLE comprises students in a semester long class where they learn fundamentals of Indian classical and semi-classical music. This music is based on the system of ragas (melodies) and talas (rhythms). The vocal performances of the group feature a variety of traditional instruments such as harmonium (organ), tabla (drums) and tanpura (drone).

The AUBURN UNIVERSITY CHAMBER CHOIR was established in fall 2008 as the premiere choral ensemble at Auburn University. Under the direction of William Powell, the group has represented the university at New York's Carnegie Hall, in northern Italy, and as an invited ensemble for the prestigious Alabama Music Educators Conference. The 40-plus-member group consists of students from throughout the university who represent a variety of majors and disciplines. They perform advanced choral literature including Renaissance madrigals, multi-movement masterworks, spirituals, jazz, and works by current composers.
 
DR. BARBARA ACKER-MILLS holds a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in piano from the State University of New York at Binghamton. There she won the University Concerto Competition open to graduates and undergraduates on all instruments. While at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Acker-Mills studied with acclaimed performer and pedagogical award winner Barbara Lister-Sink who said that Acker-Mills “demonstrated admirably at Salem that a petite frame is no deterrent to commanding and powerful playing.” Dr. Acker-Mills teaches psychology for Argosy University and in the music department at Auburn University. She performs primarily as a collaborative artist.

A native of Buford, Georgia, JACOB BROWN began his serious study of classical guitar at the age of 21. He currently studies at Columbus State University with Dr. Andrew Zohn. Since 2009, Jacob has competed in Columbus, Georgia’s Guitar Symposium and participated in other guitar festivals such as the Guitar Foundation of America and Appalachian Guitar Festival. During these festivals he has had master classes with Carloz Perez, David Russell, Michael Newman, Patrick Kearney, Stephen Aron and many others. At university he plays with guitar ensembles as well as with other vocalists and instrumentalists.

CHRISTINA BURROUGHS, lyric soprano, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Alabama and a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Christina has performed leading roles with California Theatre Center, Theatre West Virginia, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Opera Birmingham, BluePrint and Ensemble Parallele in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and the San Jose Symphonic Choir. Past roles include: Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), Così fan tutte (Despina), La Bohème (Mimì), La Calisto (Giunone), La Traviata (Violetta), Le Nozze di Figaro (La Contessa), The Phantom of the Opera (Carlotta), Proof (Claire), Into the Woods (Rapunzel), The Tempest (Miranda), and Soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem and Bach’s Matthaus-Passion. Christina is a native of Wetumpka, a proud alumnus of Edgewood Academy, and former Miss Lynx 1995. She is currently a Voice Instructor at Faulkner University, and teaches voice privately as well.

Trained in classical and semi-classical traditions of North Indian music, DR. S. RAJ CHAUDHURY has been performing and teaching college students for over 20 years. He has directed Indian music student ensembles at UCLA, Kansas State University, Christopher Newport University and now at Auburn University. A vocalist by training, Dr. Chaudhury plays harmonium, tabla, and tanpura. In 2009, Chaudhury became the Associate Director of Auburn Universtiy's Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and has a background in physics education.

Among pianist TZU-YI CHEN’s many orchestra credits are the Taipei Symphony, the Saint Petersburg Symphony and the Utah Symphony. Her awards include first prize at both the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Piano Competition (2007) and at the International Piano Competition of Mauro Paolo Monopoli (2001). She has appeared as a recitalist throughout Taiwan and in broadcasts in Hong Kong and Germany. She earned a master's degree at Karlsruhe Music University in Germany and studied at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris. Tzu-yi is currently enrolled at Columbus State University working on her Artist Diploma in the studio of Alexander Kobrin.

Flutist STEPHANIE ERDMAN currently studies at Columbus State University with Dr. Andrée Martin. In 2012, she performed at the National Flute Association Convention. For the last two years of high school, Stephanie attended the Advanced Academy of Georgia at the University of West Georgia where she was active in its music department, studying flute with Melanie Fuller. She has spent time at workshops with flutists such as Michel Debost, Kathleen Chastain, Göran Marcusson and Stephen Preston. A native of Ringgold, Georgia, she studied with Norma Anderson. Stephanie helped charter her school’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a national music fraternity.


Upon arriving to teach music at GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in 2006, Mrs. Sarah Schrader formed the 3RD GRADE CHOIR. A year later, she formed the ADVANCED VIOLIN CLASS. Both are audition-only groups. The choir has performed for school productions, at events across Macon County and at the State PTA Convention in Montgomery. Each of the 15-25 third-grade students in the violin class borrows a violin from the school. They are responsible for practicing at home and for the wellbeing of their instruments. This class performs at county events including marching and playing in the 2011 Tuskegee Christmas parade.

Before becoming Coordinator of Accompanying at Auburn, LAURELIE GHEESLING served at Louisiana State University’s School of Music. She was the musical director for the LSU Opera Outreach Program and for fifteen years accompanied the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. Ms. Gheesling performed at the 7th International Alexander Technique Congress in Oxford, England. In 2003 she received the James Ronald Brothers Achievement in Accompanying Award of the Southern Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been involved as a recitalist, leader and collaborator at Loyola and Tulane Universities in New Orleans and with the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale. Click here for an extended bio.

THOMAS HARBIN is a fourth-year Auburn University student from Mobile. He is earning a double major in piano performance and Spanish. He studies piano with Laurelie Gheesling and performs for university recitals as accompanist and soloist. He is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist whose music crosses stylistic boundaries. He studies jazz with Dr. Mike Pendowski and performs at local events playing piano and singing. He intends to finish at Auburn in December of 2012 and pursue a graduate degree in music.

Michelle Huang
MICHELLE HUANG serves currently as Assistant Professor of Piano at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida. She has performed throughout the U.S. as well as in the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, and Taiwan where she was born. Recently, she was broadcast on WUOT by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She taught in Tennessee at Walters State Community College in Sevierville and at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate. An advocate of mind and body wellness, Huang conducts performance anxiety workshops. Her degrees are from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Tennessee, and Florida State University.

Cellist AHRIM KIM is a founding member of the Klimt Trio, awarded the Harvard Musical Association's Arthur Foote Award in 2011. Her honors include the Cassado Prize at Japan's Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition. She has performed at Alice Tully Hall, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Kennedy Center, and similar venues, and as soloist with the Boston Pops, the Houston Symphony Orchestra and others. She performs with the New York Classical Players and recently as principal cellist visiting the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Before college, Kim studied at Juilliard and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music.

The music of saxophonist and flutist PATRICK MCCURRY crosses boundaries between jazz and classical, pop and art, secular and sacred. Born and raised in Alabama and having returned home to Auburn, Patrick blogs in support of good music in and around his community. He performs with a chamber group, The Woodfield Trio, and holds a Masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There, his instructor and mentor was James Houlik, international concert saxophone maestro. He studied jazz improvisation, composition and arranging while earning his undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans.

DR. JEREMY SAMOLESKY, a native of Manitoba, Canada, has been Assistant Professor of Piano since 2007 at Auburn University. Jeremy has appeared in concert as a soloist and chamber pianist throughout Canada, the U. S., Italy, Aus-tria, Malaysia and Singapore, including a full recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which was broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today." He has achieved the rare distinction of holding two doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music as well as multiple honors, awards and scholarships from that school. These included the Barr Award, the Barbara M. King Scholarship, and first place in the Kneisel Lieder Competition among others. Among his festival appearances are Canada’s Banff Centre, the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival and the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. He has premiered works by David Plylar and David Maslanka and was featured in a documentary on the music of Prokofiev. Click here for an extended bio.

SARAH SCHRADER, born in Hanceville, Alabama, earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Auburn University in 2006. She has been teaching music at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Tuskegee ever since. She started playing the violin at age three and was a regular member of the Alabama All-State Orchestra through middle and high school. Sarah studied vocal music education at Auburn and minored in violin performance. Aside from teaching a growing studio in the Auburn area, Sarah plays for weddings and events as a regular member of the Auburn String Quartet. She also directs the Trinity Lutheran Church choir.

Violinist ROBIN SCOTT currently holds the violin fellowship with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Recent highlights include debuting with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and touring with Musicians from Marlboro. Among his top awards are winning the 2010 California International Young Artists Competition. As a soloist he has appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, France’s Orchestre National de Lille and others. He has performed with Indiana University's "Violin Virtuosi," touring France and appearing at Carnegie Hall. Scott is concertmaster of the New York Classical Players. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory and completed an Artist Diploma at Indiana.

MARY SLATON is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier piano-lounge soloists. Over the years, she has entertained many with her extensive knowledge of popular music. Among Memphis venues, Mary has performed at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. In Atlanta, she has played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club and others. At home in the Auburn-Opelika area, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club and the Marriott have featured her. Mary holds piano degrees from Memphis State University and from the University of Montevallo. She teaches privately and at Southern Union Community College.

Auburn native JULIA TUCKER entered Auburn University at age 15 after playing piano for eight years. She majors in economics and piano performance, studying with Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. She is assistant organist and scholarship singer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Auburn and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church. She also sings renaissance polyphony and enjoys puzzles and drinking coffee.

LAURA USISKIN holds the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra's cello fellowship. She founded the Montgomery Music Project that provides stringed-instrument instruction to elementary schools there. She has premiered works and has performed with new music ensembles including Ensemble Pamplemousse and the Bang-On-A-Can All Stars. She has performed early music with the American Baroque Orchestra and Yale's Schola Cantorum among others. Laura has performed in the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Siena’s Palazzo Chigi Saracini, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Her talents were recognized most notably as sitting principal cellist on Juilliard’s 2006 USA orchestra tour. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University and a Master of Music from Juilliard. She finished her doctoral coursework at Yale in 2009. In 2008 she received Yale’s Aldo Parisot prize given to a gifted cellist showing promise in a solo career. Click here for Laura's website.

NANCY VINSON is principal flutist with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. She has played with the group for over 20 years. As a soloist most recently, in 2009, she performed J. S. Bach’s Suite in B Minor with the orchestra. A teacher for over 35 years, Ms. Vinson has produced a prize-winning legacy of young flutists. Many have placed in Alabama’s All-State bands and orchestra, four being the state’s top high-school flutists. Some have performed at national conventions and won national competitions. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Auburn and a Master of Music from the University of Mississippi. A Past President of the Alabama Music Teachers Association and a Certified Teacher of Music in Flute, she recently helped design the Flute Certification Examination for the Music Teachers National Association. She and her husband, Johnnie, live in Auburn. Their two sons, Lee and Ed are both professional musicians.

The Woodfield Trio
Based in Auburn, Alabama, THE WOODFIELD TRIO was formed in 2009 to be the regular performing chamber group for the weekly lunchtime series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Its members are Patrick McCurry on flute and saxophones, pianist Barbara Acker-Mills and cellist Charles Wright. The trio performs traditional piano-trio repertoire, pieces for flute and basso continuo, and music adapted or composed for its instrumentations. Patrick holds degrees in chamber music and jazz. Barbara teaches psychology and music and studied with Barbara Lister-Sink. Charles leads string group The Auburn Quartet and performs with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

CHARLES WRIGHT is cellist and leader of the Auburn Quartet, a string quartet in the East Alabama and West Georgia area. Having been a member of the Auburn Community Orchestra since 1985, he now plays principal cello for the group and is president of its board. He performs in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and is involved with the Auburn Chamber Music Society in which capacity he founded this chamber music series. Mr. Wright is passionate about classical music and plays a significant role in cultivating its growth and influence in the Auburn community.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Questions for ATL Saxophonist Kenyon Carter (Upcoming Concert: 8/12/12)

Kenyon Carter
Anticipating his concert tomorrow (Sunday, 8/12) at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus, Georgia, I posed a few questions to Atlanta saxophonist Kenyon Carter. There's a bit more about the event in my last post, or go to Columbus Jazz Society's website (columbusjazzsociety.com) that is updated regularly with information about its upcoming performances.

You can find Kenyon's album and links to his books of transcriptions at his website: kenyoncarter.com.

###

PMc: What is it about Atlanta and the south that keeps you living and playing around here?

KC: Well, I was born and raised in south Georgia (Tifton) and I just love the south. I've only been in Atlanta since 2007 and love the people, the city, the skyline, the weather, and especially the amazing musicians on the jazz scene. Atlanta is also so close to all of the other great southern venues. It is a perfect place to call home. The best thing about Atlanta for me, though, is that it's where my wife is!

PMc: You are part of the Auburn-originated band Kidd Blue and I know that Coleman Woodson, III, from Montgomery will be playing on the concert in Columbus. How did you start making connections to the Alabama music scene?

KC: I joined Kidd Blue when I moved to Atlanta in 2007 thanks to my good friend and KB keyboard / trumpet player, Andy David (drummer's brother). I'd been playing with their band, the David Brothers Band, for a few years before moving to Atlanta. I met Coley on Kidd Blue gigs and Tim Chambliss (KB's leader) has had us both on many jazz gigs over the years. Tim books me at Piccolo pretty often as well and I've gotten to know a lot of great Alabama players through that gig too.

PMc: Your latest album, Right by My Side, tends toward the smooth side of jazz. I know from live listening that you have straight-ahead chops, too. Do you identify more with either of these? Are there other areas of music that you gravitate toward?

KC: Great question! I'm a huge fan of music that grooves, regardless of style. I love [Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon], and all the masters of straight-ahead but I also love Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, etc., and even Rascal Flats, John Mayer, and tons of other current pop artists.

While I love straight-ahead jazz, and I'd say I spend most of my practice time in that style, I find myself being most influenced as a composer by pop music. When I sit down to write, I'm finding that those "groove" influences tend to dominate and I'm just trying to write music that feels good above all else.

PMc: Who are you listening to these days?

KC: It really depends on the situation. On the jazz side of things, I always come back to Cannonball [Adderly] but I have really been into Hank Mobley lately and just wrote a Sonny Rollins transcription book last year. There's also always a bit of Chris Potter and Michael Brecker in the mix.

I've also just recently gotten into Jeff Lorber's last couple of albums. I love the way he merges pop-jazz and straight-ahead.

PMc: Tell us about the players in the band for tomorrow's gig?

KC: These are some of my favorite players around! Coley is on keys and John David is on drums. The three of us have worked together as a trio quite a bit and those two guys play SO well together! They're coming from the same place conceptually as far as time/groove/swing is concerned and it's an absolute blast to play with them! Tim Aucoin, a native of New Orleans, fills out the rhythm section on bass. Tim is one of the hardest swinging players you'll ever hear and he always brings joy to the stage. I think we've really got a great group for the Columbus gang and I can't wait!

###

Friday, August 10, 2012

Terrific Band led by Atlanta Saxophonist Kenyon Carter To Play in Columbus

This Sunday (8/12) in Columbus from 6-9 EDT, the Columbus Jazz Society will hold its monthly concert and jam session. Headlining will be Atlanta saxophonist Kenyon Carter who is often heard in Auburn at Piccolo and gigs around town. He will have with him a fantastic bass player named Tim Aucoin who is an award winning high-school orchestra teacher in Atlanta. I heard Tim play a good bit in New Orleans. He was known then for his deeply funky electric bass playing and is a phenomenal acoustic player as well. On piano, Tyrone Jackson will join Kenyon who has a tremendous reputation in the region as one of the very best players. I'm writing this on the fly, and don't have at my fingertips who the drummer will be, but this will be a very, very good band. The concert will not be at its regular venue. It will play at St. Thomas Episcopal Church due to road construction around the Liberty Theatre. Click the CJS link above for the address and more about the jam session and food and drink available.

UPDATE: Personnel has changed a bit since I last checked with Kenyon. Here are the players:

Coleman Woodson, III - keys
Tim Aucoin - Bass
John David - drums

There are other things coming up, but this is all I have time for at the moment. Kenyon's website is kenyoncarter.com.