National Performing Arts High Schools group, Wayne Escoffery to perform at the U.S. Department of Education, April 6

Students from the Institute’s National Performing Arts High Schools program will participate in an educational jazz “informance” on Friday, April 6 in Washington, D.C. as part of a partnership with the United States Department of Education. Accompanied by master saxophonist and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance graduate Wayne Escoffery, the students will treat DC public school students and Department staff to a performative introduction to jazz music.

The presentation will be webcast live via the Department of Education Facebook page and via beginning at noon Eastern.

Teaching artist Terell Stafford (center) leads the 2017 informance at the Department of Education. Photo: U.S. Department of Education

The informance, now an annual tradition that consistently draws a standing-room-only audience, will touch on a range of topics including music theory, the structure of jazz compositions, improvisational techniques, group dynamics and the history of jazz, giving attendees a front-row seat to the jazz performance process. Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice-President of Education and Curriculum Development, will lead the session along with Escoffery.

The event also affords Institute students the opportunity to interact with and learn from a bonafide jazz master. Commented trumpeter Terell Stafford after the 2017 informance, “Each year, day, each minute, the family gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.  I love that about this music.”

“It’s about community, about love, about trust, about sharing.”

Join the April 6 webcast by clicking here.

Learn more about the Institute’s free high school education programs here.

Producer Larry Klein visits College Program, shares decades of musical experience

Renowned bassist and producer Larry Klein visited the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance earlier this month to conduct a seminar and discussion with the Class of 2018. The GRAMMY Award® winner listened to the students perform their original compositions and offered feedback from a producer’s perspective.

Larry Klein (center) with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2018. Photo: Natasha Patamapongs

Klein also discussed his past experience and current work with artists in and beyond jazz, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Elling, and many more.

Klein listens as the students perform an original composition. Photo: Natasha Patamapongs

An accomplished jazz bassist, Klein began his career performing with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Carmen McRae, and Joe Henderson, later branching out to work with artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and Don Henley. He became well-known as a producer in the 1980s and ’90s for his work on multiple albums with singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, notably her Turbulent Indigo, which won the 1995 GRAMMY for Best Pop Album. Today, he heads the Strange Cargo record label, an imprint of Universal Music Group, and produces a range of artists including pianist Billy Childs and vocalist Madeleine Peyroux.

As part of their two-year, tuition-free course of study, the students of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance frequently interface with high-profile artists and music industry figures like Klein. Intimate classroom sessions give the students the opportunity to gain valuable insight directly from the source. Regular guest instructors include Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and Institute Trustee Wayne Shorter – the program’s Distinguished Professors – along with record executive Don Was, saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, artist manager Karen Kennedy and others.

Click here to learn more about the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.

Institute of Jazz Performance Fellows to Tour Phoenix Public Schools

The students of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance will visit Phoenix, Arizona public schools next week as part of a four-day jazz education tour. Supported by the Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative, the tour brings the Institute’s Class of 2018 to work with thousands of students at five schools:

Carl Hayden High School
Herrera School for the Fine Arts and Dual Language
Moon Valley High School
North High School
Thunderbird High School

Students Luca Alemanno (bass), Alex Hahn (alto saxophone), Jon Hatamiya (trombone), Anthony Fung (drums), Julio Maza (tenor saxophone) and Simon Moullier (vibraphone) will share their talents with the next generation of jazz musicians, as well as students yet to be introduced to the music. Each visit begins with an assembly for the entire school, featuring an “informance” (informational performance) on the history and theory of jazz. The Institute group then meets with each school’s student jazz band, where they workshop improvisation and ensemble skills and provide one-on-one and sectional instruction by instrument. Renowned jazz drummer Lewis Nash, a Phoenix native, will join the Institute’s musicians at one of the high schools.

Class of 2018 bassist Luca Alemanno works with a student during the Institute’s February 2017 jazz education tour in Phoenix.

The Institute has led jazz education programs in Arizona for years. The 2018 visit marks the second for our current college class. The Institute’s Peer-to-Peer program has also made a positive impact in the state. Most recently in 2015, vocalist Charenee Wade and guitarist Bobby Broom, along with a quintet of talented high schoolers from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Arts, presented workshops at schools across Phoenix and Tucson.

Class of 2018 saxophonists Julio Maza (center) and Alex Hahn (right) perform at Phoenix, AZ jazz club The Nash as part of the Institute’s February 2017 jazz education tour in Phoenix.

Interactive, public school-based initiatives are a hallmark of the Institute’s approach, which stresses students’ direct interaction with accomplished jazz musicians and jazz masters through informances, clinics and—best of all—putting instruction into practice through performance.

Click here to learn more about the Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative.