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87 minutes | 2 months ago
Jazz Lessons that Changed My Life
With Tia Fuller, Marion Hayden, and Allison Miller Jazz Port Townsend veteran Tia Fuller is joined by first-timers Marion Hayden and Allison Miller for a conversation with John Clayton called “Jazz Lessons That Changed My Life.” If previous episodes are any indication, they will dig deep and bare their souls. Tia Fuller, Alto Sax Tia Fuller balances the worlds of performance and education as both a touring and recording artist and a full-time professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The Denver, Colorado native graduated magna cum laude from Spelman College, and summa cum laude with a Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Tia has recorded five CD’s as a leader, the most recent of which, Diamond Cut, received a Grammy nomination.Tia’s quartet has performed in festivals around the world. She also performs with several other bands, including Terri Lyne Carrington, Project, Money Jungle and Provocative in Blue, and has appeared with the Ralph Peterson Septet, Rufus Reid Quintet, Wycliff Gordan Septet, T.S. Monk Sextet, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Kelly Rowland, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle, Sheila E, Valerie Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Janelle Monáe, Patrice Rushen, Erykah Badu, Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, and Geri Allen. She has received numerous awards, includingJazzTimes’ Jazz Critics Poll for best alto saxophonist (2018), and Downbeat Critic’s Poll-Rising Star twice in Soprano Sax (2014) and Alto Sax and Flute in 2013. Marion Hayden, Bass Born in Detroit in 1952, Marion Hayden grew up on the industrial west side of the Motor City, taking up piano at the age of nine, and bass at 12. She took classes at Michigan State University and then the University of Michigan, gaining a liberal arts degree with a minor in entomology, then took a position with the Michigan Department of Agriculture while working the nightclub circuit. From there her career took off as one of the founding members of the all-female ensemble Venus, followed by the band Straight Ahead in collaboration with Regina Carter, pianist Eileen Orr, and drummer Gayelynn McKinney. Her versatility led her to a wide variety of engagements, but also gave her the opportunity to develop her skills as an educator and she is now on the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Music. She has performed or recorded with such jazz veterans as Kirk Lightsey, Ralph Peterson, Jr., Terry Callier, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Burrell, Steve Turre, Cecil Bridgewater and James Carter, Her solo CD Visions was released in 2008, and she has composed a suite based on the writings of poet Phyllis Wheatley. Allison Miller, Drums New York-based drummer/composer/teacher Allison Miller engages her deep roots in improvisation as a vehicle to explore all music. Described by critics as a Modern Jazz Icon in the Making, Miller won DownBeat magazine’s 67th Annual Critics Poll “Rising Star Drummer” and JazzTimes magazine’s Critic’s Poll. Her composition, “Otis Was a Polar Bear,” is included on NPR’s list of The 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women+. She is also the first recipient of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Commissioning Grant. In January 2020 Miller along with her band, Boom Tic Boom, tap dancer-Claudia Rahardjanoto, and video designer Todd Winkler premiered a new multimedia suite, In Our Veins. Allison teaches at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (where she was recently named a Melba Liston Fellow), Stanford Jazz Workshop, Centrum, Geri Allen Jazz Camp, and is the Artistic Director of Jazz Camp West. She has been appointed Arts Envoy to Thailand for her work with Jazz Education Abroad.
86 minutes | 3 months ago
The Genius of Benny Golson
A conversation hosted by John Clayton with Terell Stafford, Carl Allen, and Geoffrey Keezer Benny Golson (born January 25, 1929) is an American bebop/hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger. He came to prominence with the big bands of Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie, more as a writer than a performer, before launching his solo career. Golson is known for co-founding and co-leading The Jazztet with trumpeter Art Farmer in 1959. From the late 1960s through the 1970s, Golson was in-demand as an arranger for film and television and thus was less active as a performer, but he and Farmer reformed the Jazztet in 1982. In addition to “I Remember Clifford”, many of Golson’s compositions have become jazz standards including “Blues March”, “Whisper Not”, and “Killer Joe.” This event was recorded on October 29, 2020, and features a very special guest…stay for the end!
90 minutes | 4 months ago
THE RAY BROWN TRIO: Life Lessons From The Bass Master
Three of the most notable members of Ray Brown’s trio over the years—Jeff Hamilton, drums; Benny Green, piano; and Geoffrey Keezer, piano—talk with John Clayton, who had a deep musical and personal relationship with him, about playing, touring and learning with the bass master. The respect, admiration and affection they continue to have for Ray since his death in 2002 is obvious. When Benny Green says that the only downside to playing with Ray is that “this is as good as I gets,” they all emphatically agree. John Clayton, Artistic Director for Jazz Grammy-winning bassist/composer/conductor John Clayton has written and arranged music for Diana Krall, DeeDee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, Milt Jackson, Nancy Wilson, McCoy Tyner, Quincy Jones, George Benson, Dr. John, Regina Carter and many others. Among the many honors and awards he has received is a platinum record for his arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by Whitney Houston during the Super Bowl in 1990. John won a Grammy as an arranger, and has eight additional nominations to his credit, most recently for his collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma on the cellist’s album Songs of Joy & Peace. Clayton has served as the musical director of several jazz festivals including the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Jazz Party, and the Vail Jazz Workshop. He is a co-founder of the Grammy-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which he co-leads with his brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton. John and his brother Jeff also co-lead the Clayton Brothers Quintet, which has been nominated for two Grammy awards. Jeff Hamilton, drums Versatile drummer Jeff Hamilton brings originality to every group he performs with, and it’s one of the things that makes him constantly in demand, whether for recording, performing with his trio, or co-leading the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. In addition to his many recordings with Ray Brown, Jeff has been on nearly 200 recordings with artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Milt Jackson, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme, John Pizzarelli, and Benny Carter. Hamilton is a frequent guest of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. He also appeared in Natalie Cole’s Great Performances PBS special, Unforgettable, and an Oscar Peterson documentary, Life In The Key Of Oscar. Benny Green, piano Since emerging under the tutelage of Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard and Ray Brown in the early 1980s, Benny Green has become a highly regarded pianist and bandleader. Highlights from his career so far include beginning his touring life with Betty Carter for four years and realizing a lifelong dream of becoming a Jazz Messenger; In 1993 Oscar Peterson chose Benny as the first recipient of the City of Toronto’s Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music culminating in Oscar & Benny (1998); appearing on well over one hundred recordings, with legacy artists such as: Betty Carter (including Grammy award winner Look What I Got), Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Watson, Milt Jackson and Diana Krall. He is particularly featured in Ray Brown’s trio series of CD’s Bass Face (1993), Don’t get Sassy (1994), Some of my best friends … (1994), Seven Steps to Heaven (1995), Super Bass (1996) and Live at Sculler’s (1996). Geoffrey Keezer, piano Geoffrey Keezer was holding down the piano chair for Art Blakey at 18 and touring in the company of Ray Brown, Joshua Redman, and Diana Krall in his twenties. Recently he has toured with Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, and Sting, and produced and arranged three Grammy-nominated recordings with vocalist Denise Donatelli. His 2009 album Áurea was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. His latest (2018) album On My Way to You is features his trio and guest vocalist, Gillian Margot. Keezer’s compositions have been commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra and Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and his music can be heard in ﬁlms and television shows.
96 minutes | 5 months ago
Music, Life, Jazz with René Marie, Brianna Thomas, and Sunny Wilkinson
In this episode three members of the vocal faculty from Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend talk about their backgrounds, what led them to jazz and, especially near the end, some deeply personal struggles they have dealt with in their careers. It’s interesting to see how much these women from different backgrounds, different parts of the country and of different ages have in common. Once again, Centrum’s Artistic Director for Jazz, John Clayton is our host. René Marie In a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless stage performances, vocalist René Marie has cemented her reputation as not only a singer but also a composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other leading ladies of past generations, René borrows various elements of folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. Her body of work is an exploration of the bright and dark corners of the human experience, and an affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Her recent CD, Sound of Red, is an 11-song set that provides insightful glimpses into the many small but profound turning points that are part of an individual life. Brianna Thomas By the age of 12 Brianna Thomas had appeared at the Montreux, North Sea, and Umbria jazz festivals. In 2001 – 2002 she was a resident in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center. Brianna has performed in venues and festivals across the world, including the Sochi and St. Petersburg Jazz Festivals, the International Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland, the Savannah Music Festival in Savannah, Georgia, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, Qatar, as well as concert halls and venues in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Since graduating college in 2011, Brianna has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Jazzmobile Summer Stage, the New York Hot Jazz Festival, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, Smoke, Iridium, 54 Below and Ginny’s supper Club, leading her own band. She has performed with artists such as Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Dianne Reeves, Catherine Russell, Russell Malone, Marcus Printup, and Rock and Roll Icon Steve Miller. In 2014 Brianna released her debut album, You Must Believe in Love. Sunny Wilkinson Sunny Wilkinson has a rich stage history, having performed at jazz festivals, with symphony orchestras, and at clubs and music programs across the country. She has sung with music icons such as The Count Basie Orchestra, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Clark Terry, Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Curtis Fuller and many more. She has recorded four CD’s as leader, including her latest, Into the Light, and has made numerous guest appearances. Sunny has also made significant contributions in jazz education. She was the head of the vocal jazz program at Michigan State University for 18 years, and presently she is adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University as well as an artist in residence at the University of Michigan. She developed a mentoring program for young women jazz musicians called “Sisters in Jazz” that was taken to an international level through IAJE and JEN. John Clayton, Artistic Director for Jazz Grammy-winning bassist/composer/conductor John Clayton has written and arranged music for Diana Krall, DeeDee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, Milt Jackson, Nancy Wilson, McCoy Tyner, Quincy Jones, George Benson, Dr. John, Regina Carter and many others. Among the many honors and awards he has received is a platinum record for his arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by Whitney Houston during the Super Bowl in 1990. John won a Grammy as an arranger, and has eight additional nominations to his credit, most recently for his collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma on the cellist’s album Songs of Joy & Peace. Clayton has served as the musical director of several jazz festivals including the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Jazz Party, and the Vail Jazz Workshop. He is a co-founder of the Grammy-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which he co-leads with his brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton. John and his brother Jeff also co-lead the Clayton Brothers Quintet, which has been nominated for two Grammy awards.
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