New England Conservatory Faculty Members, Alums Receive 2021 Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grants

Courtesy Lucie Sassiat


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Faculty members Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Jason Moran and Nasheet Waits, and alumni Jamie Branch and Felipe Salles earn transformative grants.
New England Conservatory faculty members Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Jason Moran and Nasheet Waits and alumni Jamie Branch and Felipe Salles have each been awarded 2021 Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grants of up to $40,000 from South Arts.

These grants are part of Jazz Road’s largest investment in the field to date as part of a national initiative supporting jazz artists. Through Jazz Road Creative Residencies, 52 artists are receiving grants of up to $40,000 each, allowing them the opportunity to further explore their art form and work. Projects supported through Jazz Road Creative Residencies range from the creation of new works to community-driven collaborative events. The recipients are a broad representation of the national field. Recipients come from every region of the country, and work within multi-faceted jazz/improvisation genres.

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol

Faculty member, Music History and Musicology; Intercultural Institute

This major grant will allow Sanlıkol–a jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, scholar and educator–to create and record new compositions for jazz orchestra. His 19-piece Whatsnext? Ensemble will include guest saxophonist and fellow NEC faculty member Miguel Zenón, clarinetist Anat Cohen, and percussionist Antonio Sanchez, among others. Sanlıkol’s new work will fuse Western jazz and Middle Eastern music (Turkish modes, microtones, rhythms) and draw on Muslim and Sufi literary and spiritual sources.

Nasheet Waits

Faculty member, Jazz Studies

Drummer Nasheet Waits and WeUpReUp (Waits, Eric Revis and JD Allen) is a manifesto/forum to promote Black music to Black students/young adults. Project director Maya Cunningham of DuBois Black Music Project at UMass Amherst and artists will partner in the South with North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Studies Department; visit Jackson Mississippi Tourism; Godbolt Consultants; Tougaloo College; and Jackson State University. Offerings include master classes and two Black Music Symposiums on African American identity in jazz and the music/activism of master Max Roach. The band will perform at the Jackson Visitors Center and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Jason Moran

Faculty member, Jazz Studies

Moran’s composition will tie together multi-disciplinary components to re-create and premiere the lost Martha Graham piece, “Canticle." In partnership with the Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, Moran and the Martha Graham Dance Company will collaborate with noted choreographers exploring street dance and dance rooted in Afro-Caribbean, Taiwanese and Lebanese perspectives. The work will premiere at The Soraya in March 2022. Moran is on the faculty of NEC’s Jazz Studies department.

Felipe Salles

Alumnus, '97 MM, '98 GD Jazz Studies

Salles and his Interconnections Ensemble will collaborate with eight guest composers including Paquito D'Rivera, Yosvany Terry and Melissa Aldana to rehearse and record new work exploring immigration.

Jamie Branch

Alumna, ’05 BM Jazz Studies

FLY OR DIE's Jamie Branch (with cellist, Lester St. Louis; bassist, Jason Ajemian; and drummer, Chad Taylor) will develop new music and visual work that is directly related to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Outdoor rehearsals, open studios and concerts will occur with partners, 360 Record Shop, Erin Basie Pier and the Red Hook Art Project and Houses (NYC Housing Authority). Funds will allow a highly professional recording process to follow which also enables branch's full ownership of the master recordings.

About New England Conservatory

New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world for over 150 years. With 800 music students representing more than 40 countries in the College, and 2,000 youth and adults who study in the Preparatory and Continuing Education divisions, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training with internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC’s alumni, faculty and students touch nearly every aspect of musical life in the region; NEC is a major engine of the vital activity that makes Boston a musical and cultural capital.

About Jazz Road

Jazz Road, a national program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF). Jazz Road Creative Residencies is the third grant opportunity in this initiative, adding to the ongoing Jazz Road Tours grants and previous COVID-19 relief grants from the Jazz Road Quick Assist Fund.

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