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VJC Summer Jazz Workshop Kickoff Concert Saturday, August 6th at the Arts Block in Greenfield, MA

The Arts Block welcomes the Vermont Jazz Center Faculty Sextet in performance on Saturday, August 6th at 8:30 PM. The Vermont Jazz Center Summer Workshop will be held starting Sunday, August 7 at the Putney School where students from around the world join forces to live and breath jazz music 24/7 for an entire week. Freddie Bryant, the guitar instructor at the VJC's summer workshop, is the organizer of this event, he will be joined by VJC director, Eugene Uman (piano), Scott Mullett (tenor and soprano saxophones), Cameron Brown (bass), and Francisco Mela (drums). This concert will feature a repertoire that incorporates swing, Latin and funk styles performed by musicians of the highest caliber. The concert will take place at the Arts Block, 289 Greenfield, MA. Music will begin at 8:30pm, tickets are $15 online in advance, $18 at the door.

A brilliant young guitarist and composer, Freddie Bryant is a versatile musician skilled both in jazz and classical music, with an unerring ability to seamlessly traverse the two genres' divide. Receiving a Master's degree in classical guitar from the Yale School of Music, Bryant is currently in demand in the New York Jazz and Brazilian scenes, where he has worked with Elaine Elias, Tom Harrell and many others. freddie-bryant-photo.jpgHe currently is a member of Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, the Mingus Orchestra and leads his own groups, Trio del Sol and Kaleidoscope. Bryant has seven CDs as a leader: Dreamscape: Solo, Duo, Trio featuring Chris Potter and Scott Colley (GJKSounds), Live Grooves...Epic Tales with his band Kaleidoscope (HiPNOTIC records) Trio del Sol (Twinz Records); Brazilian Rosewood, Boogaloo Brasileiro, Live at Smoke (Fresh Sound Records); and Take Your Dance into Battle (Jazz City Spirit). He has toured 50 countries and collaborated with musicians from a variety of backgrounds, including Indian classical musicians, African singers, oud players, traditional Arab groups and klezmer bands. In 2006, Bryant spent a week in Cuba, performing and working with other musicians. As an impassioned educator, he has taught jazz to all ages around the world. Bryant is on the faculties of Berklee College of Music and Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland.

Saxophonist Scott Mullett has played and toured with some of the best big bands and artists in the world, including Woody Herman, Artie Shaw and Mel Torme and has performed with Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Stan Getz, Lou Rawls, Ben Vereen, Cabo Calloway and others. After serving as Musical Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the 90's, he came back to the Monadnock Region. Mullett is now a first-call jazz saxophonist for the greater Boston area. He is a clinician at Berklee School of Music and serves on the faculty of Keene State College.

Pianist and composer Eugene Uman has worked for over almost two decades as director of the Vermont Jazz Center conducting educational programs and concerts. He has produced over 280 jazz concerts representing some of the better-known jazz musicians active today. Meanwhile, Uman offers classes in jazz related subjects such as history, theory and composition as well as private lessons in these subjects. He teaches jazz piano at Amherst College and established a university level academic jazz studies program in Colombia, South America. Uman's artist focus remains with the Convergence Project, a sextet that he put together to record and perform Uman's original music. They have release two albums to date. The Project references Colombian rhythms but has evolved to give a greater voice to Uman's love of vocal jazz, bebop, rock, gospel and funk roots.

Cameron Brown, a bassist, composer and educator; he began his career in the mid-sixties, recording in Europe with George Russell and Don Cherry. Beginning in 1975, Mr. Brown anchored some of the most important ensembles of the seventies, eighties, nineties, and into the current century. cameron-brown-photo.jpegSheila Jordan, Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp and Beaver Harris were his mentors and bandleaders, and he has enjoyed special relationships with master drummers: Art Blakey, Dannie Richmond, Philly Joe Jones, Edward Blackwell, Eddie Moore, Idris Muhammad, Billy Hart, Joe Chambers, Lewis Nash and Matt Wilson as well as Mr. Harris. Brown has helped young people around the world to nurture their interest in and passion for jazz and is on the faculty of the New School University. At present, Mr. Brown performs and/or records in duo with Sheila Jordan, with various ensembles led by a plethora of Jazz's finest.

Francisco Mela is a favorite among jazz's elite instrumentalists, among them, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, JoAnne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, and McCoy Tyner, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit as an extension of his incredible talents as a composer and drummer. Born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba. Mela moved to Boston in 2000 to pursue a degree at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music. The faculty soon recognized that Mela had much to offer students and promptly hired him to teach at the school. francisco-mela-photo.jpegHe quickly made a name for himself in the Boston scene, becoming the house drummer at the legendary Wally's Café Jazz Club and developed a concept for his own band, one that would feature the sounds of modern jazz with the traditional music he grew up with in Cuba. Since 2005, Mela has been an integral part of Joe Lovano's quartet and his new group "Us Five," and his latest project, Cuban Safari, is an amalgamation of his favorite bands that inspired him to become a drummer. His work is spirited evidence of his distinguished place among young group leaders.

Please join us for a special event anticipating the good energy of the summer workshop: The Vermont Jazz Center's Summer Workshop Quintet, at the Arts Block, Greenfield, MA, Saturday, August 6th at 8:30 PM. Let us know you'll be coming by joining us on FaceBook

Vermont Jazz Center's 41st Summer Jazz Workshop to take place at the Putney School week of August 7 - 13


  • Educational Program: August 7th to August 13th, Putney School, Putney, VT
  • Faculty Concert: Thursday, August 11th at 8:00 PM, Michaels S. Currier Center, Putney School
  • Student Concert: Friday, August 12th, Michaels S. Currier Center, Putney School - Set I at 3:30PM - Set II at 8:00 PM

The Vermont Jazz Center is preparing for its 41st iteration of the summer jazz workshop. The week-long program takes place on the beautiful campus of The Putney School in Putney, Vermont. This workshop encourages intermediate to professional level students from down the street and around the world; while in Vermont they polish their improvisational and musicianship skills while enjoying a hiatus in a beautiful, bucolic setting. The workshop began in 1974 when famed Hungarian guitarist, Attila Zoller, formed the Attila Zoller Guitar Clinics. These informal programs were fundamental in the development of young musicians like Peter Bernstein, Helmut Kagerer, and many others who would come to Zoller's rustic home in Newfane and study with him and other masters. The program attained non-profit status in 1989 when Zoller took on a board of directors, registered with the state, and conscripted friends like Joy Wallens-Penford, Howard Brofsky, and Gene Rush to help with the curriculum and organization. To this day, the VJC honors Zoller's immense spirit and attention to quality.

Over the years, the Summer Workshop has grown in numerous ways, most notably through increased numbers of students and staff, but also by developing a vocal program under the caring guidance of Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton. Because the workshop has taken place now for 18 years at the Putney School, a sense of rhythm has been achieved through repetition. The community simultaneously grows outward while getting deeper: returning students visit each summer and nourish friendships, develop their musical skills, and live their dreams. Both students and faculty consider this week in the country the highlight of their year. Pianist Bob Werbel, who has been attending the program for more than a decade, told the VJC last week "It's my favorite week of the year, I wouldn't miss it for anything." There exists a natural, intergenerational balance where participants of all ages learn from each other, gleaning from both the wisdom of jazz's "old school," the pedagogical advancements put forth in today's developed system of jazz education and the freedom that is synonymous with the word "jazz."

The Vermont Jazz Center's Summer Workshop emphasizes the importance of improvisation and small-group dynamics, encouraging participants to find their own voices using the jazz language. The courses offered include jazz theory, master classes in each instrument, focused listening and faculty led ensembles. The atmosphere is friendly and productive; participants and teachers alike form bonds that last a lifetime. The Summer Workshop stands as the pinnacle of the VJC's educational year thanks to a phenomenal world-class faculty - teachers who are brilliant players but still have a vested interest in the unique journey brought to the program by each student. Eugene Uman is Artistic Director and Ginger Morawski is the Summer Workshop Administrator. There are dozens of community volunteers who contribute to its smooth operation.

This year's program will feature approximately 50 instrumental and 20 vocal students under the tutelage of over a dozen highly regarded musician/teachers. They will meet and enjoy the excellent musical facilities at the Putney School; they will unite into instrumental and vocal ensembles and each day partake in master classes, formal performance groups, and classes in jazz composition and theory. In the evenings--e evoking the Zoller spirit--students and faculty will jam until the wee hours of the morning.  The students will offer a performance on the final evening of the workshop; the Faculty will deliver their own on Thursday evening. Both concerts will take place at the Michael S. Currier Center at the Putney School. 

The best indication of a program's success is the ardent support and return of its alumni. Sally Station, who attended the workshop in 2013, is excited about returning this summer. After participating at the 2013 workshop, she returned home to Bogotá and diligently applied the study materials garnered at the VJC. She now performs weekly at a venue near her apartment, playing guitar in a jazz trio, improvising over an expanded repertoire with newly developed confidence. A licensed, bilingual interpreter, Station's reflection about the VJC summer workshop upon leaving was: "Live it, breathe it, eat it, sleep it then get up the next day and do it all again. Total immersion, this is the best way to learn a new language!"

Please join us in celebrating jazz and enjoy the VJC's summer workshop concerts held at the Putney School's Michael S. Currier Center. On Thursday evening, August 11th the Vermont Jazz Center Faculty Concert will present vocalists Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton, Rob Freeberg (trumpet), Jeff Galindo (trombone), Scott Mullett, Michael Zsoldos (saxophone), Carolina Calvache, Harvey Diamond, Ray Gallon and Eugene Uman (piano), Marcus McLaurine, George Kaye, David Picchi and Cameron Brown (bass), Franciso Mela, Brian Adler and Claire Arenius, (drums) and Julian Gerstin, percussion. The ticket price for the faculty concert is $20, $15 for students. Local music students are admitted free of charge.

On Friday evening, August 12th, the VJC Summer Workshop Student Concert will showcase faculty-coached student ensembles with numerous vocalists and several piano trios. This concert will be divided into two sections, the first will start at 3:30 PM and the second show will resume after a dinner break at 8:00 PM. Singers will be accompanied by a professional jazz trio and the piano trios will be assisted and perform with a faculty bassist. Also performing will be five faculty-coached ensembles, usually comprised of two or three horns, piano, bass and drums. For the student concert, a $5.00 donation is suggested. All concerts will take place at The Putney School's Michael S. Currier Center and are accessible to all.

The VJC's Summer Jazz Workshop is sponsored by William and Laurie Schutt with further assistance from Vermont Public Radio and the Vermont Arts Council.

For information regarding this workshop and related concerts, please visit the VJC's website at, or call 802 254 9088.

For more information on VJC programs please contact Ginger Morawski at 802 254 9088 or to receive a brochure, or visit the VJC website at For specific questions regarding curriculum and content, email Eugene Uman directly at

Concert Season, 2016-2017 Vermont Jazz Center
  • Sept. 17 - Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio
  • October 1st - Caili O'Doherty Quartet (Emerging Artist Series)
  • Oct. 15 - Chico Freeman Plus-tet
  • Nov. 12 - Javon Jackson + Jimmy Cobb's Tribute to Coltrane
  • Dec. 2 - VJC Big Band + Wanda Houston - Tribute to Ella
  • Jan. 14 - Christian Scott
  • February 11 - Christian Sands Trio
  • March 18 - Sheila Jordan with Alan Broadbent
  • April 7, 8 - SOLO JAZZ PIANO FESTIVAL Stanley Cowell, Amina Figarova, Luis Perdomo, Yoko Miwa, and Miro Sprague
  • April 29th - Adam O'Farrill Quartet (Emerging Artist Series)
  • May 13 - Billy Childs Quartet
  • June 10 - Eugene Uman's Convergence Project
Stanley Cowell, April 8th, 2017

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
Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio
Saturday, September 17th, 8:00 PM
Caili O'Doherty Quartet
Saturday, October 1st, 8:00 PM
Chico Freeman Plus-tet
Saturday, October 15th, 8:00 PM
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