Institute Kicks Off Arkansas Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tour, May 15-19
Featuring Internationally Renowned Recording Artists DON BRADEN and LISA HENRY
Weeklong series of events includes performance open to the public at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville on May 18
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 Arkansas public schools May 15-19, 2023. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by the Institute’s 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 Don Braden, 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 Arkansas 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 Arkansas 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, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, perseverance, 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 Arkansas tour include trumpeter Giovanni Martinez (18) from Jacksonville, FL; trombonist Andre Perlman (17) from Miami; pianist William Schwartzman (17) from Los Angeles; bassist Laura-Simone Martin (17) from Lawrence, NJ; and drummer Julian Frazier (16) from Baltimore. “We’ve been meeting with Dr. Dyas online via Zoom since the beginning of the year, and we’re so happy that we are now finally able to perform with each other in person,” said Martin, who also was recently selected as the bassist for this year’s edition of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra with whom she’ll tour Europe this summer. “It’s been both a joy and a challenge to prepare Mr. Braden’s music and we’re so looking forward to playing with and learning from him.”
Immediately following the informances, Braden, 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 Arkansas 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 jazz artists over half a century. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and cultures.
“I’m really looking forward to spending a week in such a different part of the country,” added Schwartzman, who also was recently selected to the Carnegie Hall National Youth Jazz Orchestra. “I suspect that the kids in Arkansas and I have way more in common than differences. And whatever differences we may have, as jazz musicians we celebrate them.”
The weeklong tour will include a concert open to the public on May 18, 7:00 pm, at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville (495 W Dickson St), where Fayetteville residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Braden and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The septet will perform standards, jazz classics and contemporary jazz, including Braden’s jazz arrangements of Earth, Wind, & Fire and Stevie Wonder songs from his latest album, Earth, Wind, and Wonder. For further information, call 479-443-5600 or visit www.waltonartscenter.org.
Arkansas Peer-to-Peer Jazz Informance, Concert, and Workshop Schedule
|Mon, May 15||10:30 am||Assembly Program/Concert||Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School, 2501 John Barrow Rd, Little Rock, AR 72204|
|12:30 pm||Jazz Band and Vocal Workshops||Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School, 2501 John Barrow Rd, Little Rock, AR 72204|
|Tue, May 16||10:30 am||MEDIA DAY||Little Rock Southwest High School, 9715 Mabelvale Pike, Mabelvale, AR 72103|
|10:30 am||Assembly Program/Concert||Little Rock Southwest High School, 9715 Mabelvale Pike, Mabelvale, AR 72103|
|12:30 pm||Jazz Band and Vocal Workshops||Little Rock Southwest High School, 9715 Mabelvale Pike, Mabelvale, AR 72103|
|Wed, May 17||10:30 am||MEDIA DAY||Fayetteville High School, 994 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Fayetteville, AR 72701|
|10:30 am||Assembly Program/Concert||Fayetteville High School, 994 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Fayetteville, AR 72701|
|12:30 pm||Jazz Band and Vocal Workshops||Fayetteville High School, 994 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Fayetteville, AR 72701|
|Thu, May 18||10:00 am||MEDIA DAY||Bentonville High School Arend Arts Center, 1901 SE J St, Bentonville, AR 72712|
|10:00 am||Assembly Program/Concert||Bentonville High School Arend Arts Center, 1901 SE J St, Bentonville, AR 72712|
|11:30 am||Jazz Band and Vocal Workshops||Bentonville High School Arend Arts Center, 1901 SE J St, Bentonville, AR 72712|
|7:00 pm||Concert Open to the Public||Walton Arts Center, 495 W Dickson St, Fayetteville, AR 72701|
|Fri, May 19||10:00 am||Assembly Program/Concert||Bentonville West High School, 1351 Gamble Rd, Centerton, AR 72719|
|11:30 am||Jazz Band and Vocal Workshops||Bentonville West High School, 1351 Gamble Rd, Centerton, AR 72719|
For more information, full-length bios and photos, or to schedule an interview with the artists and/or students, please contact: JB Dyas at email@example.com or 323-270-3904.
Download the press release here.