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Trumpet Legend, Tom Harrell to perform with his quartet at the Vermont Jazz Center on October 14th

On Saturday, October 14th at 8:00 PM, the Vermont Jazz Center will welcome the legendary trumpeter, Tom Harrell to the stage. He will be touring with pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Joe Dyson in support of their new release, Moving Picture.


Although Harrell has recorded 30 discs as a leader, this current album is the first that features him as the sole horn in a quartet setting. Like Miles Davis before him, Harrell can most often be found in a quintet setting pairing him with a tenor saxophonist (usually Wayne Escoffery), but, for this project, he has intentionally chosen to record and tour without another frontline instrument. This gives him room to work on unexplored textures and stretch out on his solos. In the liner notes of their current release he elaborates: "I wrote the arrangements with the instrumentation of the quartet and the specific players in mind. There's a lot of ensemble writing on Moving Picture - concerted writing with piano and trumpet as well as unison writing with bass and trumpet. I think this brings interest, as it is different from my writing for previous records. Then too, when I write a melody I think of it as something for the globe. I try to make it accessible for everyone and capable of being played or sung by any combination of instrument(s) or voice(s)."

Steve Futterman of the New Yorker writes in Moving Picture's liner notes that Harrell's "capacious horn, in tandem with a top-notch ensemble, is a veritable definition of musical joy." Futterman's quote supports Harrell's goal of bringing joy to his audiences. In numerous interviews, such as one archived on NPR's Sound Takes, Harrell explains "...it's true, I try to portray happiness and hope. There might be an element of sadness, but music can help us transcend sadness." He goes on to say that "Music is directly related to your health and it is a healing process. So, to play music you're healing yourself... It's good because it gives you a discipline, a ritual each day, and teaches you about life. You need discipline in order to live. Everything in our body is in our mind, so there's a spiritual level too. I am happy that I have the discipline and a challenge each day because it keeps me centered."

If Harrell appears to be a modern day Yoda, there's good reason: he is a truth-teller, mindful in his use of spoken language and the musical notes he chooses. He is regarded as one of jazz's top living trumpeters, an individual who has earned the deepest respect of his peers through his unpretentious mastery of the horn, self-discipline, prolific output, compositional prowess and prodigious talent. Harrell's numerous tenures as a sideman with jazz legends affirms his master-status. He was a touring member of ensembles led by Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Azteca, the Horace Silver Quintet (5 albums), The Sam Jones-Tom Harrell Big Band, the Lee Konitz Nonet, George Russell and the Mel Lewis Orchestra. He has recorded upwards of 300 albums including work with Lionel Hampton, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, David Sánchez, Sheila Jordan and has appeared as a featured soloist on pianist, Bill Evans' final studio album.

Harrell's achievements as a composer are on display in the many albums he has produced as a leader, but he has also been commissioned to compose and arrange for numerous other meaningful projects, individuals and ensembles. These efforts include work for Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts, Carlos Santana's Caravanserai, the Metropole Orchestra, the Danish Radio Big Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Lorraine. Harrell's compositions have been recorded by jazz artists including Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Art Farmer, Chris Potter, Tom Scott, Steve Kuhn, Kenny Werner and Hank Jones. His opus "Humility" was included in the Grammy-award winning album by Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Song for Chico.

Joining Harrell at the Vermont Jazz Center will be pianist Danny Grissett; they have been making music together now for over eight years. The All Music Guide to jazz states that Grissett "plays with an effortless brilliance that distinguishes him as one of the top three young pianists on the contemporary scene." Grissett has been featured in the bands of Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson, Buster Williams, Russell Malone, Wycliff Gordon, Benny Golson, and Jeremy Pelt. He has also been busy as a studio musician, recording with Jeremy Pelt, Jimmy Green, Vincent Herring, Lage Lund, Jim Rotundi, Steve Nelson, and Tom Harrell. He has released six albums as a leader.

The bassist in the quartet is Ugonna Okegwo. As a youth in New York, he cut his teeth working with Junior Cook, James Spaulding and Jon Hendricks. After graduating from Long Island University, he formed a highly regarded trio with Jacky Terrasson and Leon Parker. Okegwo has been with Tom Harrell for ten years. He is also the bassist in the Mingus Big Band and has appeared on albums with Jim Snidero, Jimmy Greene, Mike DiRubbo, Spike Wilner, Pete Malinverni, James Zollar, Luis Perdomo, D.D. Jackson, David Berkman, Bruce Barth, Sam Newsome, Leon Parker, René Marie, Lionel Hampton, Steve Davis, Jon Hendricks, Steve Wilson, Wayne Escoffery, Tom Harrell, and many others.

The group's drummer, Joe Dyson, began his professional career performing in his father's New Orleans church with other family members. He attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship and has studied with Donald Harrison, Alvin Batiste, Clyde Kerr, Herlin Riley, Chico Hamilton, Adonis Rose and Jerry McGowan among others. He has performed with Donald Harrison, Ellis Marsalis, Ernestine Anderson, Dr. John, Branford Marsalis, Stefon Harris, Christian Scott, Dr. Lonnie Smith, as well as with Grammy winners Nicholas Payton, Allen Toussaint, Bryan Lynch, hip hop producer Darius Harrison, Irvin Mayfield, Terrance Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr, and Esperanza Spalding. Dyson can be found on recordings with Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, Jr., Sonny Boy Williamson II, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Sullivan Fortner, Dr. Lonnie Smith and others.

In the liner notes of Tom Harrell's recording, Number Five, he is quoted as saying "I believe in music as an evolutionary power. I believe in peaceful resolution. I believe in love. Music reflects the world and I'm trying to convey love through my music. The world of art represents a peaceful philosophy towards life." We need this force in our world now more than ever. Art is a form of expression that can be used to thoughtfully respond to violence and confusion. It can also serve as a soothing balm to calm tormented souls desperate for peace." Come to the VJC on Saturday, October 14th and appreciate the deep beauty that Harrell coaxes out of his horn.

The VJC is honored to present Harrell and his quartet; tickets to concerts with this popular artist are likely to sell out, so purchase them in advance. The VJC is especially grateful for the sponsorship of the Tom Harrell Quartet by Ellis Music (Dave Ellis and Ann Greenawalt) and our dear and generous friend, Diana Bingham. The VJC is also thankful for the ongoing support from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Hampton Inn of Brattleboro. VJC publicity is underwritten by the Brattleboro Reformer, WVPR, WVEW, WFCR and Olga Peters of WKVT's Green Mountain Mornings.

Tickets for The Tom Harrell Quartet at the Vermont Jazz Center are $20+ general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at www.vtjazz.org, 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.

Sound Tracks NPR interview taken in 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhhON0FiMiU&t=4

Excerpt from Tom's solo on his tune "Basel" from a concert with the quartet in Basel.

Tom Harrell with Horace Silver Quartet in 1985

Tom Harrell Quartet - Journey to the Stars

Tom Harrell Quintet with Joe Lovano - Sail Away in 1995

Tom Harrell in 1988 with Phil Woods Quartet

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


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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Announcing the Vermont Jazz Center's 2017-2018 Concert Season

The Cookers 9/15/17
An unmatched super-group "at the pinnacle of [its] technical prowess." -- Jazzwise Magazine

Tom Harrell Quartet
A living legend trumpeter and composer, "...one of the best...improvisers and bandleaders in jazz." -- New York Times

Camille Thurman Quartet, Emerging Artist Series 11/04/17
A saxophonist and vocalist who "blows the proverbial roof off the place..." -- All About Jazz

Elio Villafranca's Jass Syncopators 11/18/17
Recreating repertoire from the early days of New Orleans jazz, with original African and Cuban elements.

VJC Big Band Scholarship Gala 12/01/17
Our 16-piece dance band featuring special guests Kevin Mahogany and Dave Stryker.

Wycliffe Gordon's International All Stars 1/13/18
An undisputed master of traditional and straight-ahead jazz trombone.

Marquis Hill Blacktet 2/17/18
Thelonious Monk Award Winner, "a dauntingly skilled trumpeter." -- New York Times

Jazzmeia Horn, Emerging Artist Series 3/10/18
Winner of the Thelonious Monk Sarah Vaughan vocal competitions. "... has one of the best voices I've heard in over 40 years"  -- Jon Hendricks

Donny McCaslin Quartet featuring Jason Lindner 3/24/18
David Bowie's core group for his final record Blackstar.

Solo Jazz Piano Fest 04/13 to 04/15/18
In partnership with the Brattleboro Music Center at their beautiful, new facility
A festival that celebrates the refined art of solo jazz piano. Performances by jazz legends Kirk Lightsey, Harold Danko, Christian Sands and Helen Sung as well as regional favorites.

Trio da Paz 05/12/18
A Brazilian super-trio recognized as the ultimate rhythm section in samba jazz.

Eugene Uman's Convergence Project 6/09/18
Compositions drawing from modern jazz, gospel, rock and Latin American rhythms.

"Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition Winner Jazzmeia Horn, in concert at VJC, March 10th, 2018"

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.

Keep in touch
Upcoming Concerts
Tom Harrell Quartet, October 14th, 2017
October 14th, 2017, 8:00 PM
Camille Thurman + the Darrell Green Trio, November 4th, 2017
November 4th, 2017, 8:00 PM
Elio Villafranca's Jass Syncopators, November 18th, 2017
November 18th, 2017, 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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