The Mancini Institute: A Beacon of Light
Each instrumentalist takes part in a variety of ensembles including the seventy-seven piece Henry Mancini Orchestra, the big band, chamber orchestra, Jazz string band, combos and chamber ensembles. The seven composers are given opportunities to write new compositions that will premiere throughout the Free Summer Music Festival and to work with guest composers and conductors to enhance their professional skills.
The list of instructors is indeed impressive. Those whose names would be most familiar to Jazz enthusiasts include Christian McBride and John Clayton (strings), Gary Foster, Dan Higgins, Bob Sheppard and Ray Pizzi (woodwinds), Bruce Fowler, Andy Martin, Bruce Paulson and Charley Davis (brass), Billy Childs, Bill Cunliffe, Gregg Field, Steve Houghton and Harold Jones (rhythm), Foster, Pizzi, Justin DiCioccio and Ladd McIntosh (improvisation), DiCioccio, Vince Mendoza and Patrick Williams (conductors). Williams, an Emmy- and Grammy-winning composer who needs no introduction to Jazz fans, is the HMI's artistic director. Even though the Institute's summer program has a way to go to catch up with such well-established alliances as Aspen, Tanglewood, Brevard or Round Top, says Williams, "there's no other summer program where you'll find such variety, including Jazz, film, contemporary classical, world, and even some folk-influenced music. Boundaries are not the issue here. This is about creativity and talent."
Speaking of talent, guest artists who've spent time at the MCI working with ensembles, performing with them in concert, holding panel discussions and conducting master classes include such well-known names as Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, Regina Carter, Peter Erskine, Dave Grusin, Roy Hargrove, Diana Krall, Hubert Laws, Bob Mintzer, Alan Pasqua, Chris Potter, Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, Arturo Sandoval, Doc Severinsen, Kenny Werner and others. Among the previous guest conductors are Michael Abene, Bob Brookmeyer, Alf Clausen, John Clayton, John Corigliano, Jerry Goldsmith, Quincy Jones, Teo Macero, Jim McNeely, Vince Mendoza, Randy Newman, Patrice Rushen, Gunther Schuller and three renowned maestros who have since passed on, Elmer Bernstein, David Raksin and Pete Rugolo.
This year's HMI Summer Education Program will be held July 15-August 14 at UCLA. As noted earlier, the Institute is a non-profit organization that is completely funded by grants from foundations and corporations and donations from individual friends and supporters. For information about how you can help support the Mancini Institute, please contact the HMI's director of development, Paula Minardi, at 310-845-1900. If you'd like to learn more about the Mancini Institute and its programs, you can do so on the web.
Mancini Magic: An Interview with Ginny Mancini
The Albuquerque Scene
Albuquerque held its annual Jazz Festival in February, a prelude to what should be the most exciting summer for Jazz in the city's history. The Jazz Festival is mostly for high school and middle school bands, but includes a Saturday evening concert by the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra and an invited guest, which this year was the outstanding West Coast tenor saxophonist, Pete Christlieb. The AJO paved the way for Christlieb, opening the concert with Sammy Nestico's "Ya Gotta Try," Matt Harris's "Beijo Inocente," Bronislau Kaper's "On Green Dolphin Street" and arrangements by Glenn Kostur of "We'll Be Together Again" and Mike Abene of Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye." Pete then joined the orchestra for Jeff Bunnell's "This Space for Rent," Steve Huffsteter's "Mr. Natural," his own "3 Ton Blues," Nestico's arrangement of Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," and a Bill Holman original, "Sow's Ear." Besides Christlieb, the capable AJO soloists included alto Kostur, tenor Lee Taylor, trombonist Ed Ulman (director of the NM Jazz Workshop), pianist Chris Ishee and trumpeters Bruce Dalby, Brad Dubbs and Kent Erickson. A swingin' time was had by all.
The summer excitement begins in June with the annual Jazz, Blues and Salsa Under the Stars series at the brand new Arts Museum amphitheatre, and peaks in July when Bud Shank brings his week-long Jazz Workshop to Albuquerque after a twenty-five-year residency in Port Townsend, WA. The Workshop will be held July 17-24 at the University of New Mexico with an all-star faculty that includes Christlieb, Bob Florence, Randy Halberstadt, Dave Friesen, Chuck Deardorf, Bobby Shew, Carl Saunders, Jay Thomas, Joe LaBarbera, Gary Hobbs, Ron Escheté, George Cables, Bill Mays, Dave Peck, Kim Richmond, Bill Ramsay, Jiggs Whigham and others. That same week, the NM Jazz Workshop will host the Southwest Jazz Party with performances by Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana (July 21), quartets led by Shank, Shew, Steve Turre and Stephanie Nakasian, and a big band conducted by Grammy winner Maria Schneider (July 22).