The history of the Vermont Jazz Center reaches back to the early 1970s, when the late founding director, jazz guitarist Attila Zoller, would invite numerous musicians from New York City to unwind and create at his home in Newfane, Vermont.
Renowned jazz artists such as George Mraz, Sir Roland Hanna, Ron Carter, Lee Konitz, Don Friedman, Jimmy Raney, and Gene Rush grew to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of southeastern Vermont. From these beginnings grew the renowned summer workshop series, which evolved into the Vermont Jazz Center.
In 1997 Zoller passed the torch to pianist Eugene Uman who, together with his wife Elsa Borrero and Board President Howard Brofsky, developed the Jazz Center into a year round program that hosts monthly concerts featuring some of the world’s most innovative jazz musicians. Thanks to Borrero’s financial and production skills, Brofsky’s wisdom, Zoller’s tremendous contacts, the help of generous supporters, a deeply committed Board of Directors, and numerous friends and volunteers, the Jazz Center evolved to manifest Uman’s vision of providing a nurturing environment where concerts, workshops, weekly jam sessions, classes in jazz history, ensembles and private lessons are held. It was also incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit in 1997.
21 years later, the Jazz Center continues to grow under the team of Uman and Borrero with assistance from Office Manager Ginger Morawski and Administrative Assistant Robby Roiter. The VJC’s Board of Directors are actively involved as invaluable working volunteers for the organization, providing assistance in financial services, communications, grantwriting, graphics, concert production and collaborations. The VJC is also reliant on the support of generous donors and a strong grassroots community of musicians and jazz lovers who volunteer at many levels.
The Vermont Jazz Center is located in Brattleboro’s Cotton Mill Hill Complex; the site includes two offices, a 250-seat performance hall and an archive/library. The loft-style space is reminiscent of New York’s SoHo district; it claims superb acoustics and is equipped with state of the art gear, including a Steinway D concert grand, a Canopus drum set and professional lighting and sound gear.