IU Jazz Faculty and Alumni Voted into DownBeat Critics Poll

by Scott Gotschall

Congratulations to the IU faculty and alumni who were selected for the 2016 Downbeat Critics Poll! The full results can be found in the August 2016 issue of Downbeat.

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Dave Stryker is on a Roll! New CD Eight Track II

by Scott Gotschall
Eight Track IICongratulations to IU Jazz faculty member Dave Stryker, who appears this month in both Jazz Times magazine and DownBeat Magazine’s online edition. Stryker’s latest release, Eight Track II, came out September 2nd on his own Strikezone label, featuring Jared Gold, organ, McClenty Hunter, drums, and guest vibraphonist Steve Nelson.

In the Downbeat article, “Stryker’s Eight Track II Provides Portal to Groovy Past,” Stryker discusses his new release and how the material was chosen for Eight Track II, as well as his background prior to playing with Brother Jack McDuff and Stanley Turrentine and his thoughts about teaching jazz.

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IU Jazz Launches Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame

by Scott Gotschall and Tom Walsh

At the 2016 Jazz Celebration concert on April 23, seven individuals were inducted into the inaugural class of the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame: Jamey Aebersold, Buddy Baker, the late David Baker, Jerry Coker, Roger Pemberton, Whit Sidener, and Dominic Spera. Individually, they are pioneering authors, a leading publisher, prolific composer/arrangers, outstanding performers, and influential jazz educators and arts advocates. They have established and led some of the country’s most vibrant jazz studies programs, and their students have gone on to be Grammy Award winning performers and award winning composers, arrangers, authors, and educators who continue to spread the gospel of jazz. The collective impact of their work has reached many thousands of musicians around the world and it establishes the historical importance of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music as a significant fountainhead for jazz education.

Jazz Celebration-417 cropped

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1965-66 IU Jazz Ensemble 50-Year Reunion

by Tom Walsh

This past spring members of the 1965-66 IU Jazz Ensemble gathered in Bloomington May 27-29 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their historic tour of the Near East and South Asia. The tour came about as a result of being selected as the winning big band at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival in 1965 under the leadership of Jerry Coker. Following on this honor, the group was invited by the U.S. State Department to embark on a cultural diplomacy tour of the Near East and South Asia in early 1966. Members of the ensemble were allowed to miss an entire semester of school to represent the IU School of Music. They experienced both the beauty and wonder of the exotic places they visited and they also suffered primitive conditions, witnessed political unrest, and directly felt the political tensions of the day.

To learn more about this extraordinary tour, read the article written by band member Craig Andrews, “A Life-Altering Event: The 1966 IU Jazz Ensemble U.S. State Department Near East & South Asia Cultural Exchange Concert Tour.”

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A Life-Altering Event: The 1966 IU Jazz Ensemble U.S. State Department Near East & South Asia Cultural Exchange Concert Tour

By Craig Andrews (B.M. 1969)

1966 Tour--IU Auditorium
On January 29, 1966, the Indiana University Jazz Ensemble – known as the “first” of three jazz ensembles in the School of Music at that time – departed the U.S. on a 109-day tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department.  This 19-member jazz band led by Jerry Coker – as well as a sextet comprised of ensemble members – played over 80 concerts in Ceylon (today’s Sri Lanka), India, East Pakistan (today’s Bangladesh), West Pakistan (today’s Pakistan), Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus.

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John Fedchock Teaches at IU in Spring 2016

by A.J. O’Reilly, Tom Walsh, and Scott Gotschall

 

John FedchockIn the Spring of 2016, with Professor Brent Wallarab away on sabbatical, IU Jazz was thrilled to welcome two world-class composer/arrangers into our community: John Fedchock and Mike Holober. Each taught the jazz arranging class and rehearsed the top band. Fedchock made his home on the Indiana University campus for the first eight weeks of the semester and led the top Jacobs School of Music jazz ensemble in both of their concerts.

 

Here is a video of the IU Jazz Ensemble, directed by John Fedchock, performing his original composition and arrangement “Like It Is.”

 

“John Fedchock is one of the most accomplished big band composer/arrangers of the last thirty years,” extolled IU Jazz Studies chair Tom Walsh. “We were very fortunate to have him reside on campus to work with and get to know our students.”

 

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Fedchock is a graduate of The Ohio State University with degrees in Music Education and Jazz Studies. He also holds a master’s degree in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Most recently, Fedchock was nominated for a Grammy for his track “You and the Night and the Music” on the album Like It Is. Fedchock maintains a busy schedule working with other musicians through his big band, sextet, and as a performer, producer, and clinician throughout the world.

 

Many followers of IU Jazz will remember John Fedchock as the featured artist on the 2015 Jazz Celebration concert.

Here is Fedchock performing his composition “Up and Running” at that concert.

 

Fedchock has spent decades as a trombonist, composer, and producer collaborating with a wide variety of artists, but is best-known for his work with the legendary Woody Herman Orchestra as well as the big bands of Louie Bellson, Gerry Mulligan, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. Fedchock formed his own successful big band, the John Fedchock New York Big Band, which features his own compositions and arrangements performed by some of New York’s finest jazz musicians.

 

Reflecting on his time at IU, Fedchock said, “Teaching the arranging class was a fun experience for me. Although having taught arranging privately in the past, it was a challenge to put together a methodical course of study within my relatively short time at IU that could give students everything they’d need to progress forward.” He continued, “I really enjoyed unveiling each new concept and technique to the class, watching them take it in and learn how to implement it in their own personal way. There are a lot of rules in arranging, but my goal was to foster individuality. Seeing that come to fruition was very satisfying.”

 

Fedchock also enjoyed the friendly and inclusive atmosphere of Indiana University and surrounding Bloomington. “Perhaps due to growing up in the Midwest, I immediately felt comfortable with all the students I encountered,” said Fedchock. “All were warm and welcoming, and it was easy for me to foster a relaxed rapport. This made my experience as a teacher more enjoyable than I could have imagined.”

 

Fedchock spoke highly of the students in the top jazz ensemble. “This particular group was an exceptional pleasure to work with,” he said. “They did everything they could to give me exactly what I asked for… In essence, they all conducted themselves as true professionals, which tells me they will have great success at the next level.”

 

Aside from his time in the classroom and on the MAC stage, Fedchock had the opportunity to connect with the faculty. “In addition to the great students, I also enjoyed working among the fine jazz faculty at the Jacobs School of Music. It’s nice to be in an environment with one shared vision. This is not a common occurrence in many jazz programs,” he observed. “As a trombonist, it was also great to interact with some of the excellent brass faculty at the school.”

 

Fedchock also visited Bear’s Place on more than one occasion to hear live jazz. “Hearing the students perform was very inspiring, and it was also a surprise to discover that jazz music has a weekly home at Bear’s Place.  Very few jazz programs have somewhere in the community so close to school for students and faculty alike to work on their craft in a ‘real world’ setting.”

 

He summed up his experience at IU saying, “My experience at the Jacobs School of Music was more than I had hoped for. The overall level of musicianship throughout the program is outstanding, with everyone’s general mindset being one focused on excellence and professionalism.” He added, “Bloomington is a great town, and I felt at home right away.”

 

Learn more about John Fedchock on his website: http://www.johnfedchock.com

 

 

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New Plummer Jazz Sextet Travels to Graz, Austria

by Scott Gotschall and Tom Walsh

 

The Plummer Group in GrazThis past spring the Jazz Studies department launched the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Plummer Jazz Sextet. The group is named for Paul Plummer, who gave a landmark gift in 2012 to support jazz activities in the Jacobs School of Music. Proceeds from the Plummer gift will support the activities of the group. The group was coached in spring 2016 by Dave Stryker, Adjunct Lecturer in Jazz Guitar. The student members of the group were Ken Johnston-trumpet, Matt Shugert-saxophone, John Sorsen-trombone, Jamaal Baptiste-piano, Quinn Sternberg-bass, and Jay Tibbitts-drums.

Over Spring Break, the Plummer Jazz Sextet traveled to Graz, Austria, as a guest ensemble at the Kunst Universität Graz (University of Music and Performing Arts Graz) in their Jazz Institute. This visit was the first in what will be an ongoing exchange between the Jazz Institute at KUG and the Jazz Studies department in the Jacobs School of Music. The Sextet was accompanied on the trip by Dave Stryker, as well as Jazz Piano Professor Luke Gillespie.

The week in Graz was filled with performances, classes, jam sessions, and opportunities to connect with KUG Jazz Institute students and faculty. The students at KUG come from approximately 20 different countries with some from as far away as Brazil.

The IU students quickly integrated with the KUG students on the first day. While attending a conducting exam for a master’s degree student, Plummer Sextet member Ken Johnston was pressed into service to fill an empty trumpet chair. The group then attended a combo rehearsal led by pianist Renato Chicco and the two groups mixed together to play music that each group was rehearsing.

Monday evening Dave Stryker performed with KUG faculty pianist Olaf Polzhein, two KUG students, and guest vocalist Sachal Vasandani at the WIST Auditorium, the on-campus venue for the KUG Jazz Institute. WIST has a unique feel among campus venues—a kind of “black box” theater with a bar attached. Reflecting on Professor Stryker’s performance and the atmosphere, Quinn Sternberg remarked, “It was a great set that included arrangements of standards as well as originals. In addition to the good music, the environment at the WIST was different from anything I had experienced on an American campus.”

Stryker

Tuesday, Professor Stryker conducted a clinic with students from both schools. The KUG Professor of Jazz Guitar Guido Jeszenszky joined Stryker for several duets. Stryker also played duets with students, gave feedback on their performances, and answered questions.

Tuesday evening the Plummer Jazz Sextet took the stage at the WIST performing a concert of original compositions and arrangements by members of the group and Dave Stryker. The groups was enthusiastically received by the audience of community members and KUG students and faculty.

Wednesday the group was coached by KUG Professor of Jazz Trombone, Ed Neumeister. Students remarked how much they learned in just a single session. Matt Shugert commented, “It was one of the best jazz master classes I have observed or played in. In our three hours together, Ed gave great attention to the details of the music that we had been neglecting. He gave helpful feedback regarding our arrangements, ensemble playing, and improvising.”

Thursday night the IU ensemble attended a concert at the WIST by a quintet featuring New York City drummer Gregory Hutchinson. After the concert, the Plummer Jazz Sextet was the featured group at a late night jam session set in a small café in Graz. “The jam session had a really remarkable vibe to it,” said Sternberg, “The entire bar was packed with both students and audience members. It was a great atmosphere, and I found it inspiring to see so many students who were excited to partake in a late night jam.” Later in the evening Gregory Hutchinson and members of his quintet stopped in and joined the jam session which continued until 3 am. The combination of the intimate ambience of the café and the energy in the room from the students, other musicians, and lively audience made for a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience.

Throughout the week students had wonderful opportunities both on-campus and off. In addition to the clinics and performances, members of the Sextet had lessons with the KUG faculty. This gave them the invaluable experience of a different perspective on their playing in a one-on-one setting. Off-campus, they enjoyed the majesty of Graz, including an art museum, the Schlossberg (a castle atop a large hill), and of course the local delicacies.

Students said they were grateful both for the opportunity to travel and to have the chance to meet so many people from all over Europe. Matt Shugert noted, “We enjoyed talking with students from all over the world about music and more. It was great to hear them play and to play with them. The jazz institute has a great faculty with whom we played and studied quite a lot given our brief time in Graz. Students and faculty alike were very welcoming to us and involved us in whatever way they could.”

Dave Stryker summed up the value of this international experience for the students in the Plummer Jazz Sextet: “I enjoyed this trip to Austria with the Plummer combo. This is a great experience for our students to visit another country and meet, interact, attend classes and play with students from a different part of the world and experience their culture. On a personal level I enjoyed working with the Graz guitarists, sharing some of my ideas, as well as performing a couple songs that evening with the Plummer Combo.  Indiana University was well-represented by these fine students, and I know they had a great experience, as did I.”

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Remembering David Baker

by Scott Gotschall

 

ALUMNI RECEPTION: Celebrating David Baker’s 50th Year at IUOn March 26th, 2016, the Jacobs School of Music lost long-time faculty member David Baker, Chair Emeritus of the IU Jazz Studies Department. He was in his fiftieth year on faculty. Words cannot begin to express the extent to which we miss his intellect, dedication, and humor.

While much has been said in publications ranging from the Indiana Daily Student to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, perhaps the most personal reflections have come from Professor Baker’s former students. IU Jazz Studies chair Tom Walsh set up a Facebook group titled “Remembering David Baker,” in which many of the 900-plus members have shared their reflections, memories, and homages to the late mentor. The Jacobs School of Music has also created a “Remembrances” page where visitors are encouraged to post their tributes.  A select few entries appear at the end of this article.

As we strive to honor David Baker’s life’s work as a performer, composer, author, and educator, we can recognize that it is through each of us —how he inspired us and how we then inspire others — that his legacy lives on. We will include information about an upcoming celebration of David’s life and music in our next newsletter later this month.

Read the Jacobs School of Music’s press release about David Baker here.

 

From Remembering David Baker on facebook:

His incredible generosity made me a better teacher. – Laura Rexroth

He truly took time to listen to you, to honestly care about you and your successes and challenges.  – Michael Tracy

 As large as his pedigree was, that was dwarfed by the size of his heart and generosity. – Mike Reifenberg

We will miss having his on-going contributions, but he has left the world so rich and with such a wonderful legacy. – Lynn Baker

His prodigious memory aside (I mean 30+ years and he still remembers me?!?), he was a generous spirit, a true mensch, a connection to jazz history, a brilliant mind that codified and structured the inner workings of jazz; and was able to put it all into context – and play it – and did I mention teach it?  – Chris Bell

Whether this was with his stars or just some lost, flakey freshman kid, David always seemed to know what to say to sort of gas up the tank. – Joe Auty

David seemed to have a gift for telling exactly what people needed and when. He seemed to know exactly when to be hard on you and when to lift you up. – Justin Mabrey

 He is an incredible genius and I am honored to have known him and been touched by his greatness.  – Mary Jo Papich

After every encounter with David, I was motivated to go back and try to accomplish more than I had before. His work ethic and his intellect were an inspiration. – Edwin Lacy

He was a wonderful teacher. His words will inspire me for the rest of my life. – Martha Dycus

For the last few years I have thought a lot about what students get from working with David, and the word that I think sums it up is encouragement. He was always helping people believe they can do more than they thought they could do. – Tom Walsh

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Inaugural class of Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame inducted

By Maia Rabenold

IU Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, Jamey Aebersold, performs with members of the student jazz ensemble Saturday night at the Musical Arts Center. Aebersold has created more than 133 volumes of jazz recordings and books throughout 50 years. Photo by DEONNA WEATHERLY

IU Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, Jamey Aebersold, performs with members of the student jazz ensemble Saturday night at the Musical Arts Center. Aebersold has created more than 133 volumes of jazz recordings and books throughout 50 years.
Photo by DEONNA WEATHERLY

Five of the alumni attended. Jerry Coker was unable to come, and the late David Baker was represented by his wife Lida Baker in the second balcony. Baker died March 26.

©Indiana Daily Student

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Clay Wulbrecht receives Indianapolis Jazz Foundation scholarship

Clay Wulbrecht, a sophomore at the Jacobs School of Music, was awarded an Indianapolis Jazz Foundation (IJF) scholarship at the annual IJF Legacy Showcase Nov. 19. He is a jazz pianist and the youngest member of the IU Jazz Ensemble.

Wulbrecht was nominated by Brent Wallarab, associate professor of jazz studies at Jacobs. “Clay is a superb jazz pianist,” said Wallarab. “While he is extremely conversant in the vocabulary of modern and contemporary jazz, Clay has a love and respect for the tradition, which seasons his playing with maturity beyond his years.”

The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, which works to preserve the legacy and promote the future of jazz in Indianapolis, awarded five $1,000 scholarships to central Indiana college students, recognized an Educator of the Year and inducted four musicians into the Jazz Hall of Fame at the 2015 Legacy Showcase.

The newest members of the Hall of Fame are Rob Dixon (sax, education), the late Errol “Groundhog” Grandy (pianist), Kenny Phelps (drummer, educator, label owner) and James Spaulding (sax, composer). The Educator of the Year award was presented to Marion “Mo” Trout, professor of music and director of the jazz program at Purdue University.

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