May 11: New England Conservatory Youth Jazz Orchestra In Music Of Jimmy Giuffre And Mary Lou Williams


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NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni. --Mike West, Jazz Times
The New England Conservatory Youth Jazz Orchestra conducted by Bob Nieske, features the music of Jimmy Giuffre and Mary Lou Williams in a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston. The NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra is comprised of extraordinary middle and high school students from across the region. For more information, log on to NEC Youth Jazz or call 617-585-1260.

The program for the evening includes Giuffre’s “Four Brothers,” “River Chant,” “Palo Alto,” “The Sad Truth,” and “Cry Want.” Works of Williams to be performed are “Scratchin’ in the Gravel (truth),” “Walkin and Swingin,” “Shafi,” “Scorpio,” and “Lonely Moments.”

The NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra includes bassist Aidan Dwyer of Lexington; drummer Noah Klavens, saxophonist Abigail Miller, and trombonist Harrison Miller of Newton; guitarist Isabel Tonelli- Sippel of Whitinsville; saxophonist Peter Goldberg, trumpeter Samuel Atallah, and trombonist Michael Sabin of Needham; saxophonist Lauren Galante of Marshfield Hills; saxophonist Samuel Schachter of Westborough; saxophonist Joseph Borsellino of Dedham; trombonist Peter Duke and trumpeter Liam Hines of Milton; trombonist Connor Lofdahl of Carlisle; trumpeter Hyun Shin of Southborough; and trumpeter Jason Altshuler of Brookline.

Clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger, and composer Jimmy Giuffre was born in Texas in 1921 and enjoyed a long career as a performer, playing with artists including Dexter Gordon, Howard Rumsey, and Steve Swallow. His compositional output was influenced by jazz masters as well as contemporary classical composers such as Schoenberg, Debussy, and Stockhausen.

African-American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer Mary Lou Williams was born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs in 1910 Atlanta. She was a child prodigy and a prolific writer and arranger, working for bandleaders including Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and mentoring artists like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis.

YJO conductor Bob Nieske has worked with Jimmy Giuffre, the Either/Orchestra, George Russell, and Stephane Grappelli. As bassist, composer, and bandleader, his projects include a suite for his jazz trio, and the Lydian String Quartet, documented on his critically acclaimed CD Simplicity.

Founded in 2008, the YJO is the only community jazz orchestra of its kind in the Boston area, open by audition to all musicians high school age or younger. The ensemble strives to give young musicians opportunities to learn and perform together in an environment of high expectations and standards.

NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur “genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. Now in its 44th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 114 students; 67 undergraduate and 47 graduate students from 12 countries.

This story appears courtesy of Braithwaite & Katz Communications.
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