40 Years of Jazz at Harvard: Cambridge, April 9, 2011

40 Years of Jazz at Harvard: Cambridge, April 9, 2011
By Published: | 5,928 views
Harvard All-Stars and the Harvard University Sunday and Monday Jazz Bands
Harvard Sanders Theatre
Cambridge, MA
April 9, 2011
Ivy League universities are known for bringing together extraordinary individuals to do extraordinary things. Yet Saturday, April 9 was an even more extraordinary night at school for Harvard students, when an honor roll of jazz talent joined them to celebrate "40 Years of Jazz at Harvard." The concert capped off a weekend of events, including the opening of an exhibition of original manuscripts and memorabilia, and a discussion about the history of jazz at Harvard with Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
b.1933
producer
Professor of African American Music Ingrid Monson and Tom Everett, the driving force behind Harvard's jazz programs.
After being hired as Director of Bands in 1971, Everett created Harvard's first student jazz band and a year later taught the first jazz history course at the nation's oldest institution of higher education. He continues to lead Harvard's now two (!) student jazz bands and teach jazz history to further generations of students. In 1974, Everett invited trombonists Carl Fontana
Carl Fontana
Carl Fontana
1928 - 2003
trombone
and Phil Wilson
Phil Wilson
b.1937
as visiting artists to Harvard. Since then the university has hosted a different visiting jazz artist each year and commissioned dozens of original works from a list that includes Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
b.1945
reeds
, Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
1920 - 2012
piano
, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Quincy Jones, J.J. Johnson
J.J. Johnson
J.J. Johnson
1924 - 2001
trombone
, Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy
1934 - 2004
sax, soprano
and dozens of others. Forty years ago Professor Everett probably didn't imagine the lavish celebration onstage at Harvard's Sanders Theatre, but his hard work and passion were brought to living, swinging reality Saturday night.
The students of Harvard's "Sunday" and "Monday" Jazz Bands dug into charts by Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
and Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
with a joyful energy that was palpable to eyes and ears. "Myra," a 2001 commission from Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
, honored a former Director for the Office of the Arts and featured heartwarming interplay between vocalist and band across a variety of tempos. The Harvard connections kept coming when saxophonist and former Harvard student Don Braden
Don Braden
Don Braden
b.1963
sax, tenor
joined the Monday band to conduct his composition "Landing Zone." This was Braden's first big band arrangement, commissioned by Harvard for their jazz bands' 25th anniversary. Braden's gliding depiction of "the touring life of a musician and the ups and downs of flight" offered ample room for his uncluttered, driving tenor and ebullient stage presence while conducting the noticeably appreciative students. On "Flying Home," Braden took on the solo mantle of Texas tenor (and Harvard's most frequent visiting artist) Illinois Jacquet
Illinois Jacquet
Illinois Jacquet
1922 - 2004
sax, tenor
. Starting out with a reverently paced reading of Jacquet's famous solo, Braden peeled off chorus after chorus of technically adroit yet viscerally gripping lines.

After the intermission and a touching montage of footage featuring past visiting artists, the Monday Jazz Band returned to the stage with pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
b.1936
piano
sitting in at the keys. Trumpeter Brian Lynch
Brian Lynch
Brian Lynch
b.1956
trumpet
led the band through his own deliciously down and dirty arrangement of Palmieri's "Elena, Elena." Palmieri rolled bluesy block chords over coiling grooves, and Lynch sculpted fiery ascents into the stratospheric reaches of his horn. After the applause, the students on stage eased back into the best seats in the house for tenor saxophonist Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
, bassist Cecil McBee
Cecil McBee
Cecil McBee
b.1935
bass, acoustic
and drummer Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
b.1926
drums
to join Palmieri and Lynch onstage.

The "Harvard All-Stars" quintet unfolded a mesmerizing medium-tempo groove on Golson's "Whisper Not," featuring the composer's glistening tenor sax roulades. Behind Golson, at one point Roy Haynes made a lone cymbal swing with the variety of a full drum kit. When Haynes was later introduced to take an extended, unaccompanied drum solo, his power and grace made the full drum set thunder, dance and sing. Haynes's singular ability to keep steady swing while never merely keeping time similarly galvanized "Steeplechase." Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
's fleet bebop tune showcased the distinct voice of each musician, with McBee exploring unexpected harmonic and rhythmic frontiers and Lynch swinging immaculately across several octaves.

comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: Summit Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google