Getting the Band Back Together: National Peer-to-Peer Quintet performs at 2019 Competition

The 2019 edition of the Herbie Hancock Institute National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet, comprising five of the most impressive high school jazz musicians in the country, recently reunited to perform at the Institute’s International Jazz Guitar Competition Finals & All-Star Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on December 3rd. On the same bill as such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, and Bobby Watson, the group opened the show with acclaimed saxophonist Antonio Hart, performing Hart’s arrangement of Seven Steps to Heaven, one of the first compositions Hancock recorded with fellow jazz icon, Miles Davis.

(From left) Institute Teaching Artist Antonio Hart performs with National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet members Jalin Shiver, Sasha Ripley, and Jeremiah Collier 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

The power of peer-to-peer

Under the direction of Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s VP for Education and Curriculum Development, the peer-to-peer students annually participate in weeklong national peer-to-peer jazz informance tours in which they gain invaluable performance experience playing alongside internationally acclaimed artists while they, in turn, educate young audiences in public schools across the U.S. about America’s indigenous musical art form, jazz. In so doing, they not only help develop jazz audiences for the future, but also exemplify the deeply held American values that jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, democracy, persistence, and the vital importance of really listening to one another.

The 2019 National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet rehearses with Teaching Artist Antonio Hart and Institute Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas prior to the 2019 Competition on December 3, 2019. Photo by Steve Mundinger/Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The 2019 group was composed of alto saxophonist Jalin Shiver(Newark), tenor saxophonist Sasha Ripley (Houston), pianist Dalton Hayse (Los Angeles), bassist Dario Bizio (Los Angeles), and drummer Jeremiah Collier (Chicago). The Quintet toured New England in spring 2019 with esteemed trumpeter/educator Sean Jones, performing in high schools in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They also performed at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, DC, where they presented a workshop for the FTC’s highest level employees on leadership lessons that can be gleaned from the jazz paradigm.

The Institute congratulates these talented young artists on their achievements, and thanks them for their dedication to sharing the positive lessons of jazz with audiences of all ages.

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.

Hancock Institute Brings All-Star High School Jazz Sextet to Oklahoma Public Schools, Feb. 25 – Mar. 1

Tour to feature internationally renowned recording artists Steve Wilson and Lisa Henry

Weeklong series of events includes a performance open to the public at the UCO Jazz Lab on March 1

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 Tulsa and Oklahoma City public schools February 25 – March 1. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by six of the country’s most gifted high school music students along with internationally acclaimed saxophone recording artist Steve Wilson, 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 musical performances for all students, followed by jazz workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their Oklahoma counterparts.

The 2018 National Peer-to-Peer All-Star Jazz Sextet, with teaching artists Lisa Henry (far right) and Don Braden (third from right), receive a standing ovation from students and faculty at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota during the Institute’s April 2018 Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tour. Photo: Bart Marantz / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Oklahoma tour include trumpeter Stéphane Clément, 18, from Miami; trombonist Adan Montes, 17, and pianist Dalton Hayse, 18, from Los Angeles; guitarist Manny Michael, 17, from Sioux Falls; bassist Bakari Williams, 18, from Dallas; and drummer Nino Aiyer, 17, from Houston.“We’ve really enjoyed working on Mr. Wilson’s compositions the past couple of months,” said Clément, who recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC along with Hancock and other jazz greats. “His music covers the full gamut, from swing to contemporary.”

Teaching & Learning, Side by Side

Immediately following the informances, Wilson, 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 Tulsa and Oklahoma City counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike 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 culture.

Guitarist Manny Michael (right) from Sioux Falls, SD, will be one of six talented student jazz musicians visiting Oklahoma public schools as part of the Institute’s upcoming Peer-to-Peer Tour. Photo: Bart Marantz / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

“I’m really looking forward to talking and playing jazz with the Oklahoma students,” added Hayse. “So many great jazz players have come from that part of the country.” Indeed, such jazz icons as Chet Baker, Barney Kessel, Howard McGhee, Jay McShann, Oscar Pettiford, and Jimmy Rushing hail from the Sooner State.

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on March 1st at Oklahoma City’s premier jazz venue, the UCO Jazz Lab (at the University of Central Oklahoma School of Music, 100 E. 5th St. in Edmond), where Oklahoma residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Wilson and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The octet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Wilson’s and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 8:00 pm and 9:45 pm.

Read the full press release here.

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 ed.gov 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.

All-Star High School Jazz Sextet to Tour Fargo and Sioux Falls Public Schools for April Peer-to-Peer Program

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced today that its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program will visit Fargo and Sioux Falls public schools from April 16-20. Accompanied by renowned teaching artists Don Braden and Lisa Henry, six of the country’s most gifted high school music students will present educational “informances” (informational performances) and workshops for thousands of students.

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the touring students will talk with their Fargo and Sioux Falls 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 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 message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.

The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Dakotas tour include trumpeter Stéphane Clément, 17, and alto saxophonist Julian Gonzalez, 17, from Miami; guitarist Jordan Reifkind, 17, and bassist Dario Bizio, 16, from Los Angeles; pianist Tyler Henderson, 16, from Houston; and drummer Jeremiah Collier, 17, from Chicago. All of the students participate in the Institute’s National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program, receiving ongoing instruction from the Institute’s outstanding teaching artists and performing with world-renowned guest artists.

The weeklong tour, coinciding with Jazz Appreciation Month and the run-up to International Jazz Day, will conclude with a performance open to the public on April 20 at Sioux Falls’ premier listening venue, Fernson on 8th, where Sioux Falls residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Braden and Henry alongside jazz’s future young lions.

For more information on the April tour, check out the press release.