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Vermont Jazz Center to present live music during the Cotton Mill's Open Studio on Saturday, December 2nd

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On Saturday, December 2nd the Vermont Jazz Center will present a full day of musical offerings to complement the festivities of the Cotton Mill's Open House. Student groups will be performing at the VJC's performance space from 10:30 AM until 4:30 PM. All are invited to attend free of charge; donations towards the VJC Scholarship Fund will be gratefully accepted. Performances will take place at the Vermont Jazz Center's Concert Hall at the Cotton Mill Hill.

The VJC Ensemble Open House will commence at 10:30 AM with the Youth Jazz Ensemble. Performers include Zach Thomas (trombone), Kate Brackett (clarinet), Naomi Hed (trumpet), Ella Aquadro (piano) and Dorian Paquette (drums). Assisting the class is Michael McKinney (bass) and Eugene Uman (instructor). They will perform Milestones (Miles Davis), Bernie's Tune (Bernie Miller), Samba de Orfeu (Luís Bonfa) and Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock).

At 11:15, the Blue Note Ensemble, under the direction of Scott Mullett, will present a set of material that features compositions chosen from the quintessential Blue Note Era. This fertile period was documented by the Blue Note record label and reached its peak from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s. During that time the record label surged in popularity thanks to recordings by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and many others. Performers include Rich Anderson, trumpet; Bidi Dworkin, vocals; Rob Fletcher, guitar; Steve Merriman, piano; Nick Pelton, saxophone; Noah Ramirez, drums; Barry Rothenberg, bass; Henry Zacchini, drums.

At 12:00, the VJC Latin Jazz Ensemble will perform under the combined leadership of Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman. The group will perform original compositions that employ Latin rhythms by both Gerstin and Uman as well as Latin Jazz Standards (including one adapted from a Thelonious Monk composition). The Latin Jazz Ensemble is comprised of Steve Driscoll, Faythe Turner and Anders Burrows (trumpets), Marcia Stern (flute), Jim Heffron, Dan Foster, Michael Barnett (saxophones), Judith Williams (piano), Weldon Hendricks (guitar), Jean Chaine and Ashok Agarwal (bass) and Olivier Flagollet, Sebastian Paquette, Jacob Smith, Jeanushka Fishell (percussion).

At 12:45, the VJC Sextet will perform. This flagship sextet is lead by VJC board member Rob Freeberg, but there is a joyful sense of camaraderie and inclusion - all members contribute in their own way. The group is also the VJC's "Outreach Sextet" which performs regularly at assisted living homes and schools and has also made a presentation at the Cheshire County Jail. The group has a rich and highly arranged repertoire made up of lesser-known jazz standards. Members include Rob Freeberg (trumpet), Jim Heffron and Bill Ballard (saxophones), Cathy Martin (piano), Wim Auer (bass) and Mike Patek (drums). They will perform Jeannine by Duke Pearson, Nusia's Poem by Gary Bartz, Midnight Voyage by Joey Calderazzo, Una Más by Kenny Durham, Thanks Moon by Eugene Uman and Bolivia by Cedar Walton.

At 1:30, the VJC Afro-Caribbean Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Julian Gerstin, will perform a short set of Afro-Caribbean music for congas, bells and voice. Their repertoire will include forms based on three Afro-cuban rhythms: Makuta, Bembe and Rumba Guaguancó. Members of the ensemble include Julian Gerstin, Irena McQuarrie, Drew Kovach and Stephan Brandstatter.

At 2:00 PM, the newest VJC group, the Jazz Ukulele Ensemble will perform under the guidance of instructor Ben Carr. Performers include Eric Bass, Cass Morgan, Gail Nunziata and Deb Titus--plus appearances by young Elliot Carr. Their set will include the following numbers: Waikiki Beach, All of Me, Ja Da, Arpeggio Study Piece and Crazy G.

From 2:30 to 3:30, two groups from Northfield Mount Hermon School will perform under the direction of Mr. Ron Smith. The Stage Band will perform from 2:30 - 3:00 and the Jazz Combo from 3:00 to 3:30. The NMH Stage Band includes Carrie Kim and Naomi Christiansen on vocals; Chris Zhao, piano; Patrick Rochford, guitar; Eli Carroll, bass and Jude Spencer on drums  The NMH Jazz Combo is comprised of Cate Byrne on electric violin, Danny Chen, alto sax; Miles Kaming-Thanassi, trumpet; Edward Pan, piano and Jacob Smith on drums.

To finish up the day at 3:30, Anna Patton's Soubrette Jazz Choir, a 16-woman vocal ensemble, will perform. Each semester the choir works up intricate, richly harmonized vocal arrangements of Swing, Jazz, and Blues, as well as songs in those idioms by contemporary composers. The Soubrette Jazz Choir can also be heard performing at various assisted living homes and at house concerts. This season's set of music includes arrangements inspired by the singing of Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Fiona Apple, Rani Arbo, and others. Instrumental guests will be bassist Lucy Kahn, Anders Burrows on trumpet, and the choir's own Rebecca Branson Jones on pedal steel. Performers include: Ruth Allard, Connie Baxter, Elise Burrows, Janis Chaillou, Rebecca Jones, Beth Kiendl, Jenny Kilgore, Sharry Manning, Andi Matthews, Carlene Raper, Ruth Sessions, Kari Smith, Carrie Walker, Annie Winkler, Lani Wright and Louise Zak.

Come join us at the Vermont Jazz Center from 10:30 AM until 4:30 PM on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017. Your presence supports local talent performing in a variety of jazz styles. Free and open to the public. Desert snacks and coffee and tea will be available by donation.


Big Band Jazz with World-Class Guest Artists; Kevin Mahogany and Dave Stryker Will Swing Hard With the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, Friday, December 1st

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On Friday, December 1st at 8:00 PM, the Vermont Jazz Center will present its 15th annual Gala Scholarship Fundraiser Performance featuring internationally acclaimed vocalist, Kevin Mahogany and guitarist, Dave Stryker. The VJC Big Band, under the leadership of musical director, Rob Freeberg is a community orchestra made up of professional musicians who come together to rehearse and prepare for this annual event. The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band will accompany Mahogany and Stryker as they delve into a repertoire of blues and classic jazz standards. All money raised from this annual gala will go directly to the VJC's Scholarship Fund. It serves as the primary funding source to assist scholarship students attending VJC's educational programs. The VJC offers an average of $17,000 in scholarships each year to help students attend ensembles, private lessons and its annual Summer Jazz Workshop.

This year the Vermont Jazz Center is pulling out all the stops to celebrate its 15th year of presenting this annual big band gala by inviting two special guests who have performed and recorded together extensively. Vocalist Kevin Mahogany is well known for both his small-group and big band performances. He has his own repertoire made up of commissioned, custom-made charts, some of which were arranged by the legendary pianist/arranger Frank Mantooth. According to allmusic.com, Mahogany's "swinging style is reminiscent, but not derivative of Joe Williams." He takes pride in his Kansas City roots and, like another Kansas City legend Charlie Parker, his delivery is deeply saturated in the authentic blues.
According to Newsweek Magazine, Mahogany is "the standout vocalist of his generation." Born in 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri, Mahogany grew up listening to the richly diverse musical sounds of his hometown where the legacy of jazz and blues having reigned supreme there in the early 1900s helped shape his style. He took classes at the Charlie Parker Foundation and graduated from Baker University with a BFA in Music, English, and Drama in 1981. After establishing himself as an emerging artist with a stellar reputation, Mahogany recorded three well-received albums with the Enja label before signing with Warner Brothers. His self-titled Warner debut received numerous high profile accolades including Newcomer of the Year (Penthouse) and he was nominated as #1 Jazz Singer of the Year (DownBeat Critics Poll). In 2000, Mahogany received the coveted Downbeat Male Vocalist of the Year Award. The Los Angeles Times called him "one of the first truly gifted male vocalists to emerge in years" and Billboard Magazine declared: "Kevin Mahogany is unquestionably one of today's most exciting and musically adept jazz vocalists."

As an actor, Mahogany appeared in the Robert Altman film Kansas City, where he portrayed a character inspired by Big Joe Turner. He also appeared on Eastwood After Hours and T.S. Monk's film Monk On Monk.

Guest guitarist Dave Stryker is no stranger to the Vermont Jazz Center. He has taught at the VJC Summer Jazz Workshop and performed numerous times at the VJC's Cotton Mill Studio. Stryker has twice been voted "Rising Star" in Downbeat Magazine's Critics Poll and has also been selected as one of the "Top 10 Best Jazz Guitarists" in Downbeat's Readers Poll. Dave cut his teeth on jazz and blues as a young man living in Omaha Nebraska. Still in his teens, he toured the country with the legendary organist Brother Jack McDuff and ended up in Dude's Lounge in Harlem where the trio remained for a few years as the house band. It was at Dude's Lounge that Stryker met tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine who asked him to join his quintet. From 1986-1995 he played with the legendary saxophonist at major festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the world. With Turrentine, Stryker was able to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. The ten years playing alongside the tenor legend helped him realize the importance of cultivating his own sound. It is this connection to the blues and the soulful earthiness that has earned Stryker recognition and accolades within the musical community and with critics.

Styker has released over 20 CDs under his own name and leadership. He has also recorded with Stanley Turrentine, James Williams, Andy LaVerne, Javon Jackson, Steve Slagle, Kevin Mahogony, Sylvia Cuenca and many others. Stryker enjoys creating and recording projects that correspond to his personal musical vision. His other projects include Trio Mundo (Brazilian-influenced jazz), The Stryker-Slagle Band (a jazz quartet with saxophonist Steve Slagle), Blue to the Bone (a Blues-influenced band with a four-piece horn section) and Shades Beyond (an ensemble influenced by Miles Davis' electric years).


Mark Friday December 1st on your calendars and polish your dancing shoes to prepare for this fun evening of fundraising for the VJC's Scholarship Fund.  The VJC is fortunate to have board member Rob Freeberg guiding the VJC Big Band as its musical director. Freeberg ran the music department at New Rochelle High School and led his own professional, award-winning, community band. Freeberg also conducted a youth orchestra at Lincoln Center. The VJC Big Band would not exist without the efforts of its band manager, VJC board member Sherm Fox. The members of the VJC Big Band include: trumpet section: Donald Anderson, Rick Anderson, Charlie Schneeweis, Joe Conti; saxophone section: Carl Clements, Sherm Fox, Bob Stabach, Larry Tutt, Nick Pelton; trombone section: Riley Goodemote, John Wheeler, Zach Trombley, Bob Thies; rhythm section: Julian Gerstin (percussion), Draa Hobbs (guitar), Dave Picchi (bass), Steve Rice (drums), Eugene Uman (piano).

The VJC is especially grateful for the generosity of VJC supporters Dianne Gallo and Steve Lieberman who, for several years, have underwritten the musician's fees for this uplifting event. They continue to support the Vermont Jazz Center in many ways and will also be assisting in the production of this concert. The VJC is grateful to the Brattleboro Reformer, Hampton Inn, WVPR and WFCR and WKVT.

Be sure to make your reservations early because this concert usually sells out quickly. Admission, which includes a delicious and complimentary dessert buffet, is $25-$45 general admission or $30-$50 for reservations that include reserved seating (table spaces are limited). Tickets for The VJC Big Band with Dave Stryker and Kevin Mahogany at the Vermont Jazz Center are available at In the Moment Records in Brattleboro, online at www.vtjazz.org, and by email at ginger@vtjazz.org. Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line: 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access is available by calling the VJC at 802 254 9088.

"Kevin Mahogany is unquestionably one of today's most exciting and musically adept jazz vocalists." -- Billboard Magazine

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Vermont Jazz Center to launch a new semester of classes starting on September 18th

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The Vermont Jazz Center will host a new ten-week session of classes beginning the week of September 18th. Courses include an expanded youth program for ages 10 - 16, an ensemble led by bebop master Scott Mullett (Blue Note Ensemble), Anna Patton's popular Soubrette Choir, the VJC's Latin Jazz Ensemble, and Julian Gerstin's Afro-Caribbean Percussion & Rhythms. Our new offering for this year is Ben Carr's Jazz Uke Ensemble.

Consider joining a combo and learn how to perform classic jazz compositions while being guided by one of the VJC's professional faculty. If you've never improvised, that's no problem. There are opportunities for all including classical musicians intrigued by jazz's structure and improvisational opportunities.

Sessions are 10 weeks long (except for Youth Jazz which is 8 weeks). Prices and starting dates are listed below and at vtjazz.org.

Schedule for VJC's Fall Education Opportunities: 2017

Monday
5:15 - 6:45 PM Blue Note Ensemble. Scott Mullett, instructor. First class meets Sept. 18th

Tuesday
3:45 - 5:00 Youth Jazz Ensemble. Eugene Uman, instructor First class meets Oct. 3rd
5:15 - 6:45 Uke Jazz Ensemble Ben Carr, instructor First class meets on Sept. 19th

Wednesday
4:15 - 5:45 Latin Jazz Ensemble. Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman, Instructors First class meets Sept. 20th.
6:00 - 7:30 VJC Sextet (full) Rob Freeberg, director

Thursday
5:45 - 7:30 Soubrette Choir. Meets at Julian Gerstin and Carlene Raper's house Anna Patton, instructor First class meets Sept. 21st.
7:00 - 8:30 Latin and African Percussion and Rhythms Julian Gerstin, instructor First class meets Sept. 21st


Information on the courses:

Blue Note Ensemble
Instructor - Scott Mullett
This ensemble will focus on the repertoire from landmark Blue Note recordings of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mullett states that this era represents for him, "the heartbeat of American jazz." The repertoire performed by this ensemble will include jazz standards and originals recorded by the bands of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter.

'Ukulele Jazz Ensemble
Instructor - Ben Carr
This year's offerings include a new class for ages 16 and up. This ensemble is for those interested in exploring simple jazz arrangements and melodies on the 'ukulele. This is a fun instrument; basic skills can be acquired quickly, but to play it well you have to practice! Why not use this opportunity to take your uke playing to the next level! Delve into jazz standards and Hawaiian tunes, learn a variety of strumming techniques, and improvisation techniques. We will put together interesting arrangements and sing together as well.

Youth Jazz Ensemble
Instructor - Eugene Uman
For youth who are interested in adding improvisation to their musical toolbox. This ensemble will use simple tunes written by jazz masters Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley and others as vehicles for taking off. The tunes we will start with are simple melodies that encourage participants to want to delve deeper into the jazz repertoire.

Latin Jazz Ensemble
Instructors - Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman
For individuals who wish to learn and play jazz influenced by rhythms of Latin America. Emphasized styles include salsa, son, rumba, danzon, bolero and cha cha chá from Cuba (and Puerto Rico); cumbia, bambucco and porro from Colombia; bossa, samba, partido alto and samba reggae from Brazil.

Soubrette Choir
Instructor - Anna Patton
The Soubrette Choir is a women's vocal ensemble that will sing three- and four-part harmony arrangements of songs from the swing era as well as contemporary pieces in the jazz idiom. The ensemble will work on blend and precision in close harmonies in the style of groups like the Andrews Sisters and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. We will also spend some time working on aural skills and playing with chord progressions. Recommended for singers who read music and/or have quick ears.

Afro-Caribbean Percussion & Rhythms
Instructor - Julian Gerstin
The hundreds of rhythms and instruments of the Caribbean are a treasure of music and a source of inspiration for jazz and many other styles. Julian will introduce you to instruments and songs from Cuba, Brazil, Martinique and other islands, from drums of many kinds to bells, shakers, and scrapers. Players of all types of instruments will improve their rhythmic skills and creativity.

Jam Sessions
All are invited to attend our Wednesday night jam community sessions - they're held from 8:00 - 10:00 PM every week. All levels and all instruments are invited.
Check out the VJC's website at www.vtjazz.org and find class descriptions and further information on all the VJC's offerings. The phone number at the VJC is 802 254 9088 and leave a message for Ginger, or contact her directly at ginger@vtjazz.org. You can also email Eugene Uman at eugene@vtjazz.org. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, please call to find out about the VJC's scholarship and extended payment options.

Fees:
Sessions are 10 weeks long (except for Youth Jazz which is 8 weeks). Fees are $250 for a 10 week semester, except for Latin Jazz Which is $200 and Youth Jazz which is $100.

Final Concert:
All ensembles will perform at the VJC day-long showcase during the Cotton Mill Hill's Open House on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017.

To Register, or for questions about scholarship assistance, contact Ginger Morawski at ginger@vtjazz.org. For questions about Anna Patton's classes please contact the instructor directly: annameryl@gmail.com. For all other inquiries contact Eugene Uman at eugene@vtjazz.org. For phone inquiries, 802 254 9088.

The Vermont Jazz Center is an internationally recognized institution that provides jazz education, programming and outreach. Currently in its 40th year, it was founded in 1974 by the legendary guitarist, Attila Zoller and is now run by pianist, Eugene Uman.

The VJC features a summer jazz workshop, a monthly concert series, Wednesday night jam sessions, and frequent collaborations with area schools, arts organizations and businesses.

Mission: The Vermont Jazz Center is dedicated to creating and preserving jazz through the presentation of workshops, concerts, and instruction to a broad constituency of artists, students, and the general public.

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Upcoming Concerts
VJC Big Band, December 1st, 2017
December 1st, 2017, 8:00 PM
Wycliffe Gordon's International All Stars, January 13th, 2018
January 13th, 2018, 8:00 PM
Marquis Hill Blacktet, February 17th, 2018
February 17th, 2018, 8:00 PM
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Handicap Accessible
Concerts at the VJC are handicap accessible.

SEATING: For wheelchair or other handicapped seating at concerts, please call in advance, 802-254-9088 or 802-579-5515.

PARKING AND ENTRANCE: The Cotton Mill’s handicapped entrance is on the south side (on your right as you enter the parking lot). There is one van-accessible parking spot next to this entrance. Other handicapped spots are located along the west side of the building (facing you as you enter the parking lot. There is no handicapped entrance or elevator on this side.

ELEVATOR: To get to VJC on the second floor, you’ll need to use the freight elevator. At the handicapped entrance, pass the flight of stairs and go through the door on your left, into the building's loading area. The elevator is at the far end of the loading area. If you have someone to assist you, make sure they open and close both the elevator’s gate and main door, both from inside (to run it) and when you exit (so other people can use it). If you need assistance with the elevator, call us. We appreciate a call ahead of time but you can also call when you arrive, and we’ll send someone right down. 802-254-9088 or 802-579-5515.

RESTROOMS: Accessible restrooms are located at the far end of the building. As you exit our concert space take a left, and at the end of the hall take a right. They’re pretty far. Leave yourself time.

Please call to discuss arrangements to facilitate your enjoyment of this concert: (802) 254 9088, ext. 2.

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