Institute Announces Delaware Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tour, May 16-22
Weeklong series of events includes two performances open to the public at Keystone Korner in Baltimore on May 22
Washington, DC – With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and United Airlines, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz will bring its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program to Delaware public schools May 16-20, 2022. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by the National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet, comprising five of the country’s most gifted high school music students. They will be featured alongside internationally acclaimed saxophone recording artist Bobby Watson, Kansas City jazz and blues vocalist and a former winner of the Institute’s International Jazz Vocals Competition Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring a musical performance for all students, followed by workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their Delaware counterparts.
“We’ve found that sometimes young people can learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of them is jazz,” said jazz great Herbie Hancock, Institute Chairman, NEA Jazz Master, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”
Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk with their Delaware peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss the important American values that jazz represents: teamwork, freedom with responsibility, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion early in life, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this important message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.
The members of the all-star quintet selected nationwide to participate in the Delaware tour include trumpeter Loren Littlejohn (18) from Dallas; tenor saxophonist Leo Milano (17) from Chicago; pianist José André Montaño (16) from Washington, DC; bassist Camara Dupree (16) from New Orleans; and drummer Matthew Fu (18) from Houston. “I had the opportunity to sit in with Mr. Watson the last time he performed at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago” said Milano, who is one of the best tenor saxophonists for his age in the country. “I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time, and now having the opportunity to tour with and learn from him is really incredible!”
Immediately following the informances, Watson, Henry, and Dyas will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir. The visiting students will play side-by-side with their Delaware counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike what Herbie Hancock did with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and so many other eminent band mates over the past half century. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and cultures.
“We’re really looking forward to traveling to this historic part of the country,” added Fu, who was recently selected to this year’s edition of the Carnegie Hall National Youth Jazz Orchestra. “We’re even planning a day trip to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and other U.S. historical landmarks.”
The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on May 22 at Baltimore’s iconic jazz club, Keystone Korner (1350 Lancaster St.), where Baltimore residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Watson and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The septet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Watson’s and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm. For further information call 410-946-6726 or visit www.keystonekornerbaltimore.com.