2019 Guitar Competition Finalists Share Stage with Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock & Others at All-Star Gala Concert

Washington, DC – The 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition and All-Star Gala Concert came to a thrilling conclusion following the announcement of Evgeny Pobozhiy, 30, of Seversk, Russia, as first place winner of the Competition.  Pobozhiy then joined the evening’s honoree, Terence Blanchard, and a host of jazz guitar legends onstage for a dazzling performance of Wes Montgomery’s “Four On Six.”

Presented by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, the world’s preeminent jazz education organization, the Competition awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships and prizes, including a $30,000 scholarship and a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Records for the first-place winner. Internationally acclaimed guitarists Stanley Jordan, Lionel LouekeRussell MalonePat MethenyChico PinheiroLee Ritenour and John Scofield served as the Competition judges.

The December 3rd event at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater featured a star-studded Gala Concert with the presentation of the Institute’s Maria Fisher Founder’s Award to multi-GRAMMY Award-winning trumpeter, composer and educator Terence Blanchard. The evening featured stellar performances by a diverse group of all-stars including Musical Director John Beasley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Keith David, Antonio HartJane MonheitCassandra Wilson and Lizz Wright. They were joined onstage by many of Blanchard’s former Institute students, among them Billy BussAlan HamptonLionel LouekeGretchen ParlatoWalter Smith III and Dayna Stephens. These young artists have become leading names on the international jazz scene.

Evgeny Pobozhiy performs during the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on December 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz)

First place winner Pobozhiy captivated the audience with his performances of “502 Blues” and “Falling Grace.” Second place winner Max Light, 27, of Bethesda, Maryland performed “Hey, It’s Me You’re Talking To” and “Prelude To A Kiss,” and third place winner Cecil Alexander, 25, of Muskegon, Michigan performed “One Finger Snap” and “Infant Eyes.” They were among the 12 outstanding, young guitarists from seven countries around the world who competed a day earlier in the Competition Semifinals at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmuson Theater. Pianist Reggie Thomas, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Carl Allen and saxophonist Bobby Watson accompanied each competitor.

The Gala began by shining a spotlight on emerging musicians. The Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer High School All-Star Jazz Quintet performed the Miles Davis standard “Seven Steps to Heaven” alongside saxophone great Antonio Hart. Among the nation’s most accomplished young jazz musicians, these students train with Institute teaching artists at public performing arts high schools across the country. 

The evening also showcased the Herbie Hancock Institute Ensemble, joined by vocalist and Institute graduate Michael Mayo, performing “I Remember You.” These gifted musicians from around the world receive full scholarships to attend the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance, the Institute’s master’s degree program at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in Los Angeles. The students, who represent the next generation of jazz artists, study for two years with world-renowned jazz musicians, composers and educators.

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Musical Director John Beasley and Diego Urcola, a winner of the Institute’s 1997 Jazz Trumpet Competition, honored Louis Armstrong with their mesmerizing rendition of “What A Wonderful World.” Jane Monheit joined forces with Antonio Hart to pay tribute to Brazilian bossa nova with their performance of the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic, “Chega de Saudade.” Monheit then spoke about one of her musical idols, the late Joe Williams, who served as a judge at the Institute’s 1998 Jazz Vocals Competition that launched her career. She introduced acclaimed actor and singer Keith David, who performed a segment from his touring stage musical, “Here’s To Life: Joe Williams.” In character as Joe Williams, David told stories of Williams’ life and treated the audience to two selections popularized by the incomparable vocalist: “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “Alright, Okay, You Win.” 

Additional highlights from the All-Star Gala Concert included Cassandra Wilson performing a soulful version of “On the Sunny Side of the Street” from Terence Blanchard’s 2001 recording, Let’s Get Lost, and Lizz Wright’s stunning rendition of “Detour Ahead” from Blanchard’s 1994 tribute album to Billie Holiday.

Terrance Blanchard, winner of the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award, holds the award as Arnold Donald, Lizz Wright, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson, and Mitch Landrieu look on during the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on December 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz)

Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans and Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, joined the celebration to praise Blanchard and his album “A Tale of God’s Will – A Requiem for Katrina,” which musically illustrated Hurricane Katrina’s devastating effect on the residents of New Orleans. After accepting the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award from Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, Blanchard joined seven of his former Institute students to perform “Soldiers” from his GRAMMY-nominated 2015 release, Breathless.

Proceeds from the All-Star Gala Concert will support the Institute’s public school education programs in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Newark, San Francisco and Washington, DC. All of the Institute’s education programs are provided free of charge, with a special emphasis on serving economically disadvantaged public school students and their teachers and parents.

Air transportation was provided by United Airlines, Official Airline of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.

Press selects by Getty Images

Press selects by Steve Mundinger

Downloadable press release

Semifinalists Announced for 2019 Guitar Competition, December 2-3 in Washington, D.C.

Competition Festivities Include All-Star Gala Concert Honoring
Renowned Trumpeter/Composer Terence Blanchard

Washington, D.C. —Twelve outstanding young jazz guitarists from around the world have been selected to compete in the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition on December 2-3 in Washington, D.C.

The semifinalists are: Cecil Alexander of Muskegon, Michigan; Joseph Bell of Princeton, New Jersey; Will Brahm of Portland, Oregon; François Chanvallon of Paris, France; Lucian Gray of Toronto, Canada; Max Light of Bethesda, Maryland; Armen Movsesyan of Los Angeles, California; Evgeny Pobozhiy of Seversk, Russia; Matt Sewell of St. Louis, Missouri; Juan Vidaurre of Caracas, Venezuela; Tal Yahalom of Jerusalem, Israel; and Francesco Zampini of Rome, Italy.

The 2019 Guitar Competition semifinalists are (in alphabetical order): Cecil Alexander of Muskegon, Michigan; Joseph Bell of Princeton, New Jersey; Will Brahm of Portland, Oregon; François Chanvallon of Paris, France; Lucian Gray of Toronto, Canada; Max Light of Bethesda, Maryland; Armen Movsesyan of Los Angeles, California; Evgeny Pobozhiy of Seversk, Russia; Matt Sewell of St. Louis, Missouri; Juan Vidaurre of Caracas, Venezuela; Tal Yahalom of Jerusalem, Israel; and Francesco Zampini of Rome, Italy.

These aspiring jazz musicians will compete in the Semifinals round, taking place on Monday, December 2nd, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. The semifinalists will perform before an all-star judging panel of internationally acclaimed jazz guitarists: Stanley JordanLionel Loueke, Russell MalonePat MethenyChico PinheiroLee Ritenour and John Scofield. Each semifinalist will perform for 15 minutes accompanied by a stellar rhythm section featuring pianist Reggie Thomas, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Carl Allen.

From this group, the judges will select three finalists to perform in the Competition Finals at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday evening, December 3rd. At stake is more than $150,000 in scholarships and prizes, including a $30,000 first place scholarship and guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group; a $15,000 second place scholarship; and a $10,000 third place scholarship. The evening will culminate with an All-Star Gala Concert featuring performances by Herbie HancockDee Dee Bridgewater, Lizz WrightBobby Watson, Musical Director John Beasley, Emmy Award-winning actor and vocalist Keith David and many other jazz greats. The Institute will present its Maria Fisher Founder’s Award to multi-GRAMMY Award-winning trumpeter, composer and educator Terence Blanchard. Many of his former Institute students, including recording artists Gretchen ParlatoWalter Smith IIIDayna Stephens and others leading the next generation of major jazz artists, will take the stage to pay tribute to Blanchard.

Proceeds from the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition and All-Star Gala Concert will support the Institute’s public school education programs in Washington D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Newark, San Francisco and the Mississippi Delta.

Event and ticket information
Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition Semifinals
Monday, December 2nd at 12 noon with ticket distribution at 11:00 a.m.
Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian
4thSt. & Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C.

Tickets for the Semifinals are free of charge but limited, and will be distributed by the Smithsonian Associates at the National Museum of the American Indian on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:00 a.m. 

Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition Finals and All-Star Gala Concert
Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:30 p.m.
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
2700 F St., NW, Washington, D.C.

Tickets are $35 to $125 and may be purchased via the Kennedy Center box office in person, by calling 800.444.1324, or online at www.kennedy-center.org. Information regarding VIP packages, which include a post-event VIP Cast Party, is available from the Institute at 202.364.7272.  

Newport Festivals Foundation supports Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA with donation of instruments

The Newport Festivals Foundation made a generous donation of musical instruments to the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, helping to ensure that current and future students in the program will have access to top-of-the-line tools for honing their craft.

The Sakae drumset, Zildjian cymbals and Korg Kronos keyboard contributed by the Foundation will be used by the Institute’s students throughout the year as they study, compose, rehearse and perform under the guidance of Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and Artists-in-Residence like Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Billy Childs, Chris Potter and many others.

The leading graduate-level college program of its kind, the Institute of Jazz Performance is a tuition-free, two-year program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All of the students receive full scholarships, as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The musicians study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are also encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances.

The Institute and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music thank the Newport Festivals Foundation for its generosity, and for bolstering our efforts to help exceptional students develop into the jazz masters of tomorrow.

Dr. Dyas in DownBeat: Tour Etiquette for Young Musicians

The following is an excerpt from the article “Road Rules: Tour Etiquette for Young Musicians” by Institute Vice President, Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas, which appears in the October 2019 issue of DownBeat Magazine.

Touring can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience–if you are prepared for it. But if you’re not prepared, being on the road can be a drag for the entire band and crew.

For the past 14 years, I have had the pleasure of annually taking combos comprising the nation’s top performing arts high school music students on National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education “All-Star” tours on behalf of the Herbie Hancock Institute. Through this initiative, young musicians tour for a week with an eminent jazz artist, presenting jazz “informances” in public schools. These talented young musicians help develop future jazz audiences while simultaneously honing their own musical and professional skills.

Besides schools, the combos have performed from coast to coast in the nation’s top jazz clubs, such as the Sequoia Room, the Jazz Showcase and Blues Alley. They’ve also appeared at prestigious venues, such as the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Our guest artists have included luminaries such as Ambrose Akimusire, Bobby Broom, Gerald Clayton, Sean Jones, Steve Wilson, Bobby Watson, Antonio Hart, Don Braden, Kellylee Evans, Lisa Henry, Ingrid Jensen, Delfeayo Marsalis, Christian McBride, Terell Stafford and Charenée Wade.

Being selected to participate in one of these tours can be a life-changing opportunity. Maximizing it not only helps each student grow as a musician, but as a person as well.

I provide these teenage musicians with useful “on-the-road” tips—the kind they aren’t likely to learn in school. These young players go on tour with artists who are in a position to help jump-start their careers, and perhaps offer a college scholarship. I frequently remind students that the manner in which they comport themselves is just as important as how well they play. Being regarded as “such a pro” at a young age is the best; being regarded as “such an amateur” is the worst.

Simply put, “a pro” is someone who has their act together. He or she is always prepared and on time, and needs to be told things only once. As honor bands—such as the Herbie Hancock Institute National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet, the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz—embark on tours, I offer the following advice to the participants to help them attain the stature of “a pro.” Admittedly, besides playing jazz with integrity at an advanced level, the goal is to be as impressive as possible on and off the bandstand, prompting all those who have the potential to help you succeed in this business to take notice.

Know the Music

Before the tour begins, make sure you have all the music “down.” If you’ll be playing in a small group, this means the music should be totally memorized: heads, changes, harmony parts, backgrounds, hits, everything. Make a playlist of the definitive recordings of all the tour tunes and listen to them continually. Make sure you know the personnel as well.

I also recommend you practice along with the recordings, copping the phrasing, groove and feel. And transcribing a few phrases from your favorite soloists not only will increase your jazz vocabulary, but give you credibility when you quote them, subtly letting the guest artist and your band mates know that you’ve done your due diligence.

For standards, I advise you to practice them daily with an Aebersold play-along recording from the first day you memorize them up to the day the tour begins, emulating a seven-nights-per-week gig. This way, when it comes time to perform with the guest artist and your fellow bandmates, you’ll be ready. Again, all tour tunes should be completely committed to memory.

Five-Minute Rule

Always be at least five minutes early for everything. If the itinerary says to depart the hotel at 7 a.m., then you should be packed up and seated in the van no later than 6:55 a.m. For rehearsals, it’s the 15-minute rule, meaning that if a rehearsal is scheduled for 4 p.m., you should be set up and ready to play at 3:45 p.m. Unexpected delays can arise, and things can take longer than you anticipate. Keeping your bandmates—and especially the guest artist—waiting is unprofessional and, frankly, disrespectful.

Proper Attire

Look sharp, put together and clean. On our Herbie Hancock Institute Peer-to-Peer tours, our male performers wear jackets for our school concerts, and jackets and ties for our nightclub gigs. Naturally, this includes nice pants and clean shoes. Our female performers wear a dress or pants with a nice top. Because the concerts are pretty intense, I also recommend the stu-dents bring a different shirt for each day, making the long van rides ever so much more tolerable. And, of course, nothing should look disheveled. (An iron and ironing board are available at most hotels.)

Before bringing in and setting up equipment, it’s a good idea to hang up your jacket or place it on the back of a chair, keeping it from getting wrinkled during the rigorous setup and sound check process. And when you’re not on a stage but still in public (in restaurants, hotel lobbies, etc.), keep your clothing neat and present a positive image. In those situations, casual attire is OK; sloppy clothing is not. Take a cue from the masters: How would Wynton Marsalis or Maria Schneider look?

Read the full article in DownBeat Magazine.

Learn more about the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer jazz education program.

2019 Guitar Competition To Take Place December 2-3 in Washington, D.C.

Applications due October 11, 2019

NOTE: The application deadline for the 2019 Guitar Competition has now passed. Applicants will be notified of the results of the preliminary judging by November 8, 2019.

Washington, D.C —The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Competition will be presented on December 2-3 in Washington, D.C. Open to musicians age 30 and under from across the globe, this year’s competition will shine a spotlight on the guitar.

For over three decades, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Competition played a pivotal role in identifying and empowering the next generation of jazz musicians, educators, and influencers. Building upon this important legacy, the newly minted Hancock Institute Competition represents a changing of the guard for one of the jazz world’s most renowned institutions.

The Semifinals of the 2019 Guitar Competition will be held on Monday, December 2nd, from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian. The semifinalists will compete before an all-star panel of judges including jazz guitarists Stanley JordanRussell MalonePat MethenyChico PinheiroLee Ritenour and John Scofield. Each semifinalist will perform for 15 minutes accompanied by a professional rhythm section.

From this group, the judges will select three finalists who will perform in the final round at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday evening, December 3rd. At stake is more than $150,000 in scholarships and prizes, including a $30,000 first place scholarship and guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group; a $15,000 second place scholarship; and a $10,000 third place scholarship.

According to Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, whose career epitomizes the ideals of the jazz tradition and innovation, “We look forward to discovering and hearing from the next generation of young jazz guitarists, with their innovative styles and unique approach to the music. We are particularly excited to pay homage to the guitar, which has a rich and colorful history that continues to play a pivotal role in the development of jazz. I have no doubt that this year’s Competition will show that the future of this instrument, and of our music, is in good hands.”

Tickets

Tickets to the December 3 Competition Finals at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts may be purchased online.

Tax-deductible Gala packages are available for purchase, for premium seating and other benefits. Click here to view available packages.

Tickets to the December 2 semifinals at the National Museum of the American Indian are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11 am.

Download the full press release here.

Editors: contact Alisse Kingsley
akingsley@hancockinstitute.org
323.467.8508

Application open for college program class entering fall 2020

Formerly known as the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, the tuition-free two-year program accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. Students study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition from some of the world’s greatest living jazz musicians. 

Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter serve as the Institute’s Distinguished Professors. Artists-in-Residence have included Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Barry Harris, Stefon Harris, Jimmy Heath, Christian McBride, Jason Moran, Lewis Nash, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves and John Scofield, along with Improvisation Artists-in-Residence Jerry Bergonzi and Dick Oatts, among others, and former Artistic Directors Terence Blanchard and Ron Carter.

For nearly 25 years, this innovative master’s level college program has played a leading role in training the next generation of jazz masters, including alumni Ambrose Akinmusire, Lionel Loueke, Gretchen Parlato and Walter Smith III.

Applications for the class entering fall 2020 may be submitted to study the following instruments: trumpet, saxophone, trombone, piano, electric guitar, acoustic bass, vibraphone, violin, drums, and vocals. A master’s degree from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music for qualified applicants and a certificate from the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance will be awarded upon successful completion of the two-year program. All students receive full scholarships as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses.

Prospective students can apply online now through December 6, 2019. For any questions, please email apply@hancockinstitute.org or call +1 (310) 206-9700.

Los Angeles Jazz in the Classroom students open 24th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival

Students in the Institute’s Los Angeles-area Jazz in the Classroom program performed as part of the featured lineup for the 24thannual Central Avenue Jazz Festival this weekend, continuing a tradition of participation in one of Southern California’s most beloved community jazz events. Made up of top high school jazz musicians from throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Herbie Hancock Institute/LAUSD Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band entertained audiences with an hour-long set of big band classics and modern compositions under the direction of Institute Education and Curriculum Development Vice President Dr. JB Dyas and Beyond the Bell Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Tony White.

As Saturday’s opening act on the Ella Fitzgerald Stage at Central and East 43rdStreet, the All-City group effectively kicked off the two-day series of performances. The weekend highlighted a litany of renowned artists like pianist Eric Reed, saxophonist Azar Lawrence, vocalist Cassandra Wilson and drummer Chris Dave. Other groups, including Stefon Harris & Blackout and the contemporary musical collective Katalyst, prominently featured alumni of the Institute’s high school and college programs. The All-City Jazz Band’s preparatory role for talented young local musicians was in particular evidence, with program graduates Christopher Astoquillca and Devin Daniels leading their own groups on the billing.

A man in a purple shirt stands with a microphone before a group of seated high school students with musical instruments
All-City Band co-directors JB Dyas (left) and Tony White (right) present the group during the 2019 Central Avenue Jazz Festival. Photo by Danny Sheiman, LAUSD Beyond the Bell

Founded to celebrate Central Avenue’s historical role as a major West Coast hub for jazz for much of the 20thcentury, the Central Avenue Jazz Festival is one the largest free events of its kind. Organizers tout a high-profile lineup of established and up-and-coming artists, spanning names from Teddy Edwards and Gerald Wilson to Gretchen Parlato and Kamasi Washington, as well as vaunted local groups like Justo Almario’s Afro-Columbian Ensemble and Barbara Morrison’s Bu Crew.

In addition to nonstop music across four stages—including the historic Dunbar Hotel, famed for hosting legendary performers such as Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Duke Ellington—attendees benefit from an array of local food vendors, free health screenings and professional development resources. The annual event is presented by Los Angeles Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. and LA’s Ninth Council District, among other partners.

A group of students and their teachers pose for a photo with musical instruments
The 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute/LAUSD Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band. Photo by 
Danny Sheiman, LAUSD Beyond the Bell

Performances at prominent local venues and community events are a regular feature of the Institute’s programs, matching rigorous instruction in improvisation and group dynamics with opportunities for students to put their skills into practice, onstage—an essential component of the jazz tradition. In addition to the Central Avenue Festival, in recent years the Institute/LAUSD All-City Jazz Band has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, Catalina Jazz Club, the Roxy Theatre and the Musicians Institute, among other settings.

Learn more about the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom program.

Institute brings life lessons of jazz to Federal Trade Commission

The Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quartet shared the life lessons of jazz with participants at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) inaugural Leadership Academy. Led by Institute Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas and renowned jazz trumpeter Sean Jones, the two-hour “informance” analogized real-world management and leadership situations through the lens of a jazz ensemble. Dyas, Jones and a Peer-to-Peer Quartet made up of gifted Institute high school jazz students from across the nation provided live musical examples and discussed why the study of jazz helps develop critical skills. These include overcoming problematic working conditions; taking turns leading; recognizing the contributions of others; really listening to one’s colleagues; and, of course, improvising when things don’t go according to plan.

Dyas also offered examples demonstrating why jazz embodies and supports important American values, including teamwork, persistence and perseverance, the vital importance of really listening to one another and, especially, democracy—individual freedom but with responsibility to the group.

The application of jazz principles in broader social and corporate contexts has seen growing adoption by high-profile members of the corporate community, from Finnish electronics giant Nokiato Chinese dumpling restaurant chains. As Columbia Business School Executive Development Program Faculty Director Dr. Grant Ackerman noted,

“Jazz offers us many of the elements we need for leading and managing successful projects and organizations—from creating space for others to lead to really listening to ideas of others…if we can create these kinds of work practices in organizations, there might be a chance we can leave meetings with the same enthusiasm as jazz musicians leaving a jazz session who say ‘how soon can we do this again?’”

Five jazz musicians hold instruments and perform for a group of seated people
Peabody Institute Jazz Chair and renowned trumpeter Sean Jones leads the Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quartet in a musical performance as part of the June 20 FTC session.

Designed as an intensive primer in crucial leadership skills for high-level FTC employees, the three-day conference included modules on topics like “Managing Your Boss,” “Unconscious Bias” and “Maintaining Civility in the Workplace.” Chaired by FTC Chief Learning Officer Mark Kern and Chief Human Capital Officer Vicki Barber, the program brought together colleagues from multiple internal departments as well as other federal agencies to share their perspectives on the challenges facing developing leaders.

The Institute’s jazz informance was one of the highest-rated presentations of the 2019 Leadership Academy, with one participant calling it “definitely the highlight of the three days.”

Learn more about the Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Program.

Sean Jones, Lisa Henry lead 2019 Peer-to-Peer Tour in New England Public Schools

Weeklong series of events includes two performances open to the public at Blue in Portland, Maine on May 25

Washington, DC – With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz will bring its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine public schools May 20-25. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by five of the country’s most gifted high school music students along with internationally acclaimed trumpet recording artist Sean Jones, 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 New England counterparts.

“We’ve found that young people often learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of those is jazz,” said jazz great Herbie Hancock, Chairman of the Institute, 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 New England peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss 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 New England tour include alto saxophonist Jalin Shiver from Newark; tenor saxophonist Sasha Ripley and pianist Tyler Henderson from Houston; bassist Dario Bizio from Los Angeles; and drummer Jeremiah Collier from Chicago. “It has been both a joy and a real challenge working on Mr. Jones’ compositions the past couple of months,” said Henderson, who recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC along with Hancock and other jazz greats. “He’s definitely one of today’s top modern jazz artists, but always with reverence to the swing and bebop traditions.”

Immediately following the informances, Jones, Henry, and Dyas will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir in which the visiting students will play side-by-side with their Vermont, New Hampshire, and Portland 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.

“I’m really looking forward to talking to and playing jazz with the students on the other side of the country,” added Bizio, who also recently performed at the Kennedy Center. “Whether it’s East Coast or West Coast, jazz is jazz.”

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on May 25 at Portland’s premier jazz club, Blue (650A Congress St.), where Portland residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Jones and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The septet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Jones’ and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. For further information call 207-774-4111 or visit https://portcityblue.com.

Read the full press release.

Learn more about the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer program.

International Jazz Day 2019 Worldwide Celebration Concludes with Extraordinary All-Star Global Concert in Melbourne, Australia

Thousands of Performances and Programs Take Place in 195 Countries on All Continents 

Melbourne, Australia, April 30—Following thousands of jazz events taking place in 195 countries around the world, International Jazz Day 2019 came to a thrilling close this evening in Melbourne, Australia with an extraordinary All-Star Global Concert at the Melbourne Arts Centre’s renowned Hamer Hall. Led by artistic co-directors Herbie Hancock (USA) and James Morrison (Australia), and musical director John Beasley (USA), the concert was streamed live by the United Nations and UNESCO and on www.jazzday.com. It featured riveting performances by over 30 international artists: Cieavash Arian (Iran), William Barton (Australia), Brian Blade (USA), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Theo Croker (USA), Joey DeFrancesco (USA), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (USA), James Genus (USA), Paul Grabowsky (Australia), Antonio Hart (USA), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Aditya Kalyanpur (India), Ledisi (USA), Jane Monheit(USA), James Muller (Australia), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan), Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Jeff Parker (USA),Chico Pinheiro (Brazil),Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Eric Reed (USA), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Somi (USA), Ben Williams (USA), Lizz Wright (USA) and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon).

The All-Star Global Concert opening performance showcased two of Australia’s most beloved musicians: didgeridoo player William Barton and trumpeter James Morrison. Vocalist Jane Monheit later joined forces with Brazilian guitarist/vocalist Chico Pinheiro on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Brazilian jazz classic “Waters of March.” Ledisi brought the house down with her spine-tingling vocals on “Try a Little Tenderness.” Backing her was a 10-piece band that included a stellar horn section with Theo Croker, Eli Degibri, Matthew Jodrell, Eijiro Nakagawa and Tineke Postma. A Jazz Day tradition, the All-Star Global Concert concluded with the entire cast contributing to a global jazz-inspired rendition of John Lennon’s peace anthem, “Imagine.” 

In addition, two weeks of jazz performances and educational outreach programming took place in cities across the International Jazz Day 2019 host country of Australia. Thousands of students in Sydney’s New South Wales public schools took part in jazz education programs led by Herbie Hancock, James Morrison, Antonio Hart and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance Fellows at the Sydney Opera House. Melbourne’s extensive Jazz Day festivities included master classes at the Melbourne Conservatorium; and workshops conducted by Eric Reed, Tarek Yamani, and A Bu, among others. Other highlights included a special Jazz Day performance at the Adelaide Festival Centre, five days of all-inclusive street parades on King Street in Brisbane, and a “Women in Jazz” celebration in Perth.

Australia’s International Jazz Day celebrations will conclude with the “Generations in Jazz” youth festival in Mount Gambier, South Australia, led by James Morrison with Lizz Wright, Joey DeFrancesco, and Kurt Elling during the first weekend of May. With the participation of more than 6,000 high school student musicians, it will the largest youth jazz festival in the world.

Celebrated around the globe each year on April 30, International Jazz Day highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promotes intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, and unites people from all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day was adopted by the UNESCO Member Nations on the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. The annual celebration is co-chaired by Hancock and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. Presented in partnership with the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, the day is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations, and it is celebrated in more than 190 countries on all seven continents. Each year, schools, universities, libraries, jazz clubs, performing arts centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines around the world pay tribute to jazz through thousands of performances, education programs and community service initiatives. 

The Global Host City for International Jazz Day in 2020 will be Cape Town, South Africa. Professor Ihron Rensburg, longtime antiapartheid fighter and currently Chairperson of the South African National Commission for UNESCO said the global concert comes at a very important time for the country. “South Africa is undergoing a complex transition, calling for even more social cohesion, tolerance and unity in diversity. This is the message Jazz can bring forward – this is what Jazz is about, and South Africa can be a leader in this message.”

For more information, visit www.jazzday.com or www.unesco.org/jazzday.