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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.