During these challenging times, the jazz faculty has been pursuing ways to enhance our students’ learning experience through the pandemic. We are excited to tell you about the jazz “community seminar” that we are offering on Fridays from 3-3:50 PM, providing students and faculty a chance to come together and spend time with many people that they would otherwise be studying, performing and socializing with in person. We have several outstanding guests lined up for the fall semester, including Helen Sung, Jeff Coffin, Etienne Charles , Roxy Coss, and Keith Carlock. Other weeks, the seminar will include presentations by faculty and students, including playing and talking about faculty and student recording projects in the current era. The community seminar takes place via Zoom every Friday, 3:00-3:50 P.M. Any jazz major who is not registered for the seminar can contact a jazz faculty member to receive an invitation to the Zoom meetings.
About our guest artists:
Helen Sung (9/4)
Born and raised in Houston, TX, Helen studied classical piano and violin and attended Houston’s acclaimed High School for the Performing & Visual Arts (HSPVA). Continuing classical piano studies at the University of Texas at Austin, a chance meeting with jazz music caused an eventual course change. Sung went on to graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory) and win the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition.
Now based in New York City, Sung has worked with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Wynton Marsalis (who named her as one of his “Who’s Got Next: Jazz Musicians to Watch!”), MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter, and Cecile McLorin Salvant.
With appearances at major festivals/venues including Newport, Monterey, Detroit, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall, Sung is also taking her place on the international stage: her NuGenerations Project toured southern Africa as a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, and recent engagements include debuts at the London Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Blue Note Beijing, the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival, as well as European tours promoting current projects such as Sung With Words. In addition, Sung can also currently be seen with such fine ensembles as the Mingus Big Band and Lea Delaria’s House of David Project.
Jeff Coffin (9/18)
Jeff Coffin is a globally recognized saxophonist, composer, educator, and is a member of the legendary U.S. rock group, Dave Matthews Band. You may also know him from his 14 years, and 3 Grammy Awards, with the genre-defying Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Jeff fronts numerous groups when not touring with DMB and has released 15+ solo CD’s on Ear Up Records.
Coffin is known for his musical passion, his melodically driven compositions, his deep involvement with music education, and his continued dedication to the improvisational musical art form some call Jazz. He is one of the top, in demand, saxophonists in the world as well as a first call studio musician in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived since 1991.
Jeff has released 17+ solo recordings, is a Yamaha Performing Artist & Clinician, a Boston Sax Shop Ambassador, teaches improvisation at the prestigious Vanderbilt University, authored four books, produces, engineers, mixes, and runs his own critically acclaimed record label, Ear Up Records.
Etienne Charles (10/9)
Hailed by The New York Times as “an auteur” (Ben Ratliff) and by Jazz Times as a, “daring improviser who delivers with heart wrenching lyricism” (Bill Milkowski), Trinidad born Etienne Charles has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation or Eastern Caribbean origin, Charles brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean to his compositions. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully grasps the New Orleans trumpet tradition; which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger, and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, ‘The Spanish Tinge’.
Charles’ new album, Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1, is an excursion into the varied acoustic sounds, grooves, chants and rituals of his native Trinidad & Tobago Carnival. His 2016 album San Jose Suite was a musical discourse on the effects of colonialism through the scope of the experiences of First Nation peoples and African descendants in three San Jose locations, Costa Rica, California and Trinidad. In June 2012, he was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the World.
His dedication to the preservation of artistic traditions in his homeland inspired him to form and lead the carnival bands, “We the People” (2017) and “Street Party” (2018) which featured a full live brass band on a truck going through the streets of Woodbrook and Port of Spain playing vintage calypso and soca. He understands his role as Artist citizen and sees live music as a way to uplift all peoples and is dedicated to bringing it to those who aren’t able to attend concerts. Specifically, in his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, he has done performances and workshops at Princess Elizabeth Center, St. Dominic’s children’s home, St. Mary’s children’s home, St. Jude’s school for girls, St. Michael’s school for boys, St. Margaret’s school for boys, Youth Training Center and Maximum Security Prison. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Keith Carlock (10/30)
Keith Carlock is a professional drummer currently residing in New York City, NY and Nashville, TN. He has recorded and/or toured with such musical luminaries as John Mayer, Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, TOTO, Christopher Cross, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, The Blues Brothers Band, Mike Stern, Leni Stern, David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz, Rudder, Harry Belafonte, Oz Noy, Larry Carlton, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Paula Abdul and Grover Washington, Jr, to name a few.
Keith was voted number 1 Pop drummer, number 1 Fusion drummer, and number 1 Best All-Around drummer in Modern Drummer’s 2009 Readers Poll and would like to thank all that voted!
Keith’s first ever instructional DVD is now out with Hudson Music! It’s entitled “Keith Carlock- The Big Picture: Phrasing, Iimprovisation, Style, & Technique, and you should get your copy now!!!
Roxy Cross (11/20)
Musician, Composer, Bandleader, Recording Artist, Educator and Activist Roxy Coss has become one of the most unique and innovative Saxophonists on the scene. Winner of a 2016 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, the Downbeat Critics’ Poll listed her as a “Rising Star” on Soprano Saxophone the past six years in a row, and a Downbeat Magazine review called her “An exceptional young talent”. Roxy has been a fixture on the New York scene for over a dozen years. She has headlined extensively around the world, including major festivals and venues like the Newport Jazz Festival, Melbourne Big Band Festival, Winter Jazz Fest, BRIC Jazz Fest, Earshot Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Summerfest, Ballard Jazz Festival, The Jazz Standard, and Jazz Showcase, among others. Her band, the Roxy Coss Quintet, has held residencies at New York City clubs including SMOKE Jazz Club and Club Bonafide, appears frequently around NYC, and tours nationally. Roxy was also a featured guest musician on the television show Harry in 2017. She is the Founder and President of Women In Jazz Organization (WIJO), and serves on the Board of Directors for Jazz Education Network (JEN). Roxy is on Jazz Faculty at The Juilliard School. She is also an endorsing artist for P. Mauriat, Vandoren, and Keyleaves products.
Roxy is the Founder and President of Women In Jazz Organization, a collective of over 500 professional jazz musicians who identify as women or non-binary. WIJO intends to help level the playing field, so that women and non-binary people have equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to the jazz community, leading to an improved and more rich, diverse, and successful art form. The organization is committed to honoring Black Americans as the creators of jazz. WIJO is largely a New York-based organization, with connections to other individuals and groups nationally and internationally. The organization aims to empower the individuals within, as well as come together to empower the larger community of jazz musicians who identify as women or non-binary as a whole. Members of the organization work to address inequalities in jazz culture to change the landscape of the current jazz scene. The organization also works to improve the perceptions and treatment of women and non-binary people in jazz from outside the jazz community.
Community Seminar Schedule
August 28 Faculty and student pandemic recording projects
September 4 Helen Sung, pianist/composer (Newport, Monterey, Detroit Jazz Festivals, Jazz at Lincoln Center)
September 11 Mike Sailors
September 18 Jeff Coffin, saxophonist (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band)
September 25 Pandemic recording projects
October 2 John Fremgen/Wayne Salzmann II
“Iconic Bass and Drum Hook-ups in Jazz.”
October 9 Etienne Charles, trumpeter/composer (SF Jazz, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Count Basie)
October 16 TBA
October 23 Pandemic recording projects
October 30 Keith Carlock, drummer (Sting, Steely Dan, John Mayer, Wayne Krantz)
November 6 TBA
November 13 TBA
November 20 Roxy Coss, saxophonist/composer/activist (Founder/President, Women in Jazz Organization; Newport, Melbourne Jazz Festivals)
December 4 Pandemic recording projects