Fall 2012 Newsletter


Welcome to the first-ever IU Jacobs School of Music Jazz Studies newsletter. We hope you enjoy hearing about what’s going on in the IU Jazz Studies Department. Alumni, send us your news! We would love to share it with our students, alumni, and friends. Send news and photos to jazz@indiana.edu.

Check out the IU Jazz Studies facebook page at facebook.com/iujazzstudies.

Visit our website at music.indiana.edu/jazz or visit our blog to read this newsletter online.

Featured Stories

Passing the Baton

With the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, Distinguished Professor David Baker has passed the baton of the top IU Jazz Ensemble to Professor Brent Wallarab—after directing it for more than 45 years.

“Somehow or other, you feel when the time is right,” said Baker. “As I head toward the twilight of my life, it feels very natural for me to pass it on to someone who knows my instincts with the music—how to preserve it and use it as a teaching tool. Brent is very drawn to the music and very dedicated; he will do a good job.

“Although it is bittersweet, I needed the breathing room. Besides, it’s a good chance for me to be able to enjoy the band without having to stand in front of it,” Baker smiled.

The Brent Wallarab Jazz Ensemble kicked off the fall jazz season Monday, Sept. 17, in the Musical Arts Center, playing music by some of the best composers in modern jazz, including Thad Jones, Jim McNeely, and Clare Fischer. The concert premiered an original work by Jacobs graduate student Michael Nearpass, “Durkees Ferry Road.” Watch a video of Michael talking about his piece here.

Guest Artists Mike Stern and Curtis Fuller

Superstar jazz guitarist Mike Stern was on campus with his trio on Thursday, Oct. 4, for clinics in Ford Hall. Coming up: the Oct. 22 Wallarab Jazz Ensemble concert will feature iconic jazz trombonist Curtis Fuller, a National Endowment for the Arts jazz master known for his work with John Coltrane, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the Jazztet, and many others. Fuller will be on campus beginning Oct. 19, to present clinics to Jazz Studies students.

Latin Jazz Ensemble

An important addition to this year’s regular Musical Arts Center line-up is the Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Associate Professor Michael Spiro. The ensemble’s MAC debut last April at the Jazz Celebration was received by an enthusiastic crowd. The group has had audiences dancing in the aisles at venues around the region—from the Percussive Arts Society Conference in Indianapolis to the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati to Bloomington’s own Bear’s Place.

Steve Zegree: Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Steve ZegreeWe are thrilled to welcome Dr. Steve Zegree to the IU Jacobs School of Music faculty. Professor Zegree—the new Singing Hoosiers director—will also direct the IU Vocal Jazz Ensemble, with assistance from vocal jazz coach Ly Wilder. The ensemble and its band may be heard at Bloomington’s Café Django on Oct. 26 from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in the first-ever Vocal Jazz Night@The Café. The Singing Hoosiers made their Zegree-era debut with their fall preview concerts October 5 and 6.

We are also proud to announce that we are searching for an adjunct faculty member in Jazz Voice as we anticipate offering admission to undergraduate and graduate majors in Jazz Studies—Voice for fall 2013.

Schedule of Events

In addition to guest artists Mike Stern and Curtis Fuller, Distinguished Professor David Baker is presenting two special presentations this semester. On Monday, October 15, he gave a presentation about Curtis Fuller’s stellar career, and on Monday, November 26, he will discuss the many important oral history projects that are preserving the stories of jazz’s finest musicians. For a complete line-up, click here.

Anne and Paul Plummer Jazz Endowment

In February, the Jacobs School Jazz Studies Department became the beneficiary of an extraordinary gift from the estate of Anne and Paul Plummer. We are also very grateful for the ongoing generous support from Jamey Aebersold and from Kathie and James Lazerwitz. Their gifts allow us to bring some of the finest guest artists to campus for clinics and concerts. Our students benefit greatly from these contributors and we are sincerely grateful for all they do for the Jazz Studies Department.

Sights and Sounds

Watch the Brent Wallarab Jazz Ensemble with special guest Curtis Fuller streaming live, October 22, 8 p.m. at http://music.indiana.edu/iumusiclive

Streaming video of the David Baker 80th Birthday Celebration and the 2012 Jazz Celebration is now available.

WFIU’s David Brent Johnson produced a special four-part series on jazz in Indiana called “Jazz Crossroads of America.” The series aired in September and can be heard online. Included are interviews with David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Brent Wallarab, Larry Ridley, Jimmy Coe, Pookie Johnson, John Hasse, Richard Sudhalter, and Duncan Scheidt, among others. It will be re-broadcast in April. Read more and listen online.

Alums Peter Erskine and Alan Pasqua visited the studios of WFIU in April while on campus for the Jazz Celebration concert. Portions of their interview with David Brent Johnson aired on ArtWorks and can be heard here.

WFIU Artist in the Making: Saxophonist Hunter Diamond, 2012 graduate, was featured in an interview with ArtWorks in March. Listen online.

In January the Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville, Kentucky featured the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra performing the music of David Baker. IU Jazz faculty Steve Houghton, Luke Gillespie, Pat Harbison, Tom Walsh, and Jeremy Allen are in the band, along with several alumni. Listen and watch the BWJO playing classic David Baker charts on YouTube: IU Swing Machine | April B | Soft Summer Rain | Honesty | Some Links for Brother Ted | 25th and Martindale

Current Student News

Congratulations to Matt MacDougall on the release of his debut CD, Familiar Faces.

Neil Ferris is VP of Jazz From Bloomington

Faculty News

David Baker

Associate Professor Luke Gillespie visits Indonesia, performs extensively, and teaches around the state.

Associate Professor Michael Spiro releases new CD and directs the Afro-Cuban Percussion Ensemble at Percussive Arts Society Conference.

The AHA! Quintet, featuring Steve Houghton on drums and Jeremy Allen on bass, released its first CD, freespace, July 5. Steve Houghton, drums; Steve Allee, piano; Jeremy Allen, bass; Bob Sheppard, saxophone; and Clay Jenkins, trumpet.

Brent Wallarab’s recent activities include being a contributing Author for David Baker: A Life In Music. He was the producer for the release of Jeff McLaughlin’s CD Blocks (first annual EJAP); producer for release of second annual Emerging Jazz Artist Project Portfolio (EJAP) release Look Ma, No Hands the David Linard Trio. He also performed at the JEN conference with the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra and was responsible for the re-release of the Basically Baker CD.

We remember…Nick Halgren

Nick HalgrenJune 20, 1988 – January 4, 2012

Nick Halgren (BMJ 2011) passed away on January 4, 2012.
Nick was born to Nancy Hand Halgren and Kirk Murrell Halgren in Culpeper, VA, at their residence.
He attended Highland School, and graduated 2006, valedictorian of his class. He went on to attend Indiana University at Bloomington, earning a Bachelor of Science in Jazz Saxophone with an Outside Field in Spanish from the IU Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences. Nick graduated with Highest Distinction. He was pursuing his Master’s Degree in Secondary Math Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Alumni News

June through September saw Bob Hurst on tour with the Diana Krall 2012 USA Tour. Bob is featured on Impressions by Chris Botti, 2012. His next release BoB a palindrome will be available in 2013. http://roberthurst.com/

Jazz-pop-classical trumpet player and multiple Grammy nominee Chris Botti opened the 2012-2013 season at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons with a class as well as a classy performance Saturday night, earning a standing ovation from most of the sold-out crowd of nearly 1,000 fans ranging in age from 9 to 90. http://www.chrisbotti.com/us/home

Randy Brecker Randy Brecker’s most recent recording, The Jazz Ballad Song Book with DR Big Band, received four Grammy nominations. He’s also a special guest on Mike Stern’s new album, All Over the Place. The 11-song set aligns the characteristically diverse and adventurous guitarist with a cadre of brilliant guests, including IU alum keyboardist/producer Jim Beard. http://www.randybrecker.com/

Alyssa Mehnert (MM Jazz ‘12) is an adjunct professor of music at Northern Kentucky University where she teaches Jazz Appreciation and applied jazz trombone. At Butler University Alyssa teaches Music Appreciation and also conducts the second jazz ensemble. She has been freelancing in the Cincinnati area; most notably touring with rock band “The Newbees” and playing locally with the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.

Matt Holman (trumpet) was selected as the winner of the BMI Foundation’s 13th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize for his composition, “What Are You Thinking.” Click here for the full article.

Ashley Summers (bass, MM Jazz ‘12) is teaching as a sabbatical replacement at Ashland University in Ohio.

Elissa Menendez (saxophone, BM Jazz ‘12) has joined the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship the Azamara Journey in Italy.

Jesse Nolan is a Drummer and Drum School Instructor for Blue Man Group, Chicago as well as the Director of Education for Mashplant.com. Jesse is the Owner/Producer of Big Pear Productions and Director of Orchestras & Theatre at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield, IL.

Hunter Diamond (saxophone, BM Jazz ‘12) is currently playing with Celebrity Cruises on the ship the Century.

Josh Johnson (saxophone, BM Jazz ’11) was recently selected from an international pool of applicants for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Josh is the first Jacobs School student or alumnus to be selected for this elite group. Saxophonist Benny Reid (BM Jazz ’03) was a finalist for the group several years ago. http://blogs.music.indiana.edu/jazz/2012/03/13/josh-johnson-is-first-jacobs-school-student-selected-for-thelonious-monk-institute/

Justin Polyblank (MM Jazz, MM Saxophone ‘12) won the national audition for a saxophone position in the United States Army “Pershing’s Own” Ceremonial Band based in Ft. Myer, VA.

Kurt Lubbe (drums) is a member of Richie Cole’s Alto Madness Orchestra. He attend the Isthmus Jazz Festival with Richie Cole and Ben Sidran and played with the In Transition Quartet featuring Nate Lepine. Kurt also backed burlesque legend Michelle L’amour and her Chicago Starlets with L’amourchestra. He recorded singer songwriter Jerome Holloway newest release Sunday Morning Night Music and played a tour to support the release that included a performance on live concert television series JBTV.

Recently David Scalia (drums) went on an international tour playing some of the world’s largest music festivals – Pukkelpop,  Haldern Pop, Lowlands festival. David just joined an established indie-rock band called White Rabbits and they played the main stage at Lollapalooza in Chicago (over 15,000 in attendance at the show!). Next month finds David on tour with the popular group, The Shins. On Friday, September 21, David played live on NPR’s music program called “Soundcheck”. And he is planning an upcoming recording on Jack White’s label Third Man.

Saxophonist Brandon Wozniak (BM Jazz ’96) was featured in a June article of MPRnews. Wozniak plays with a number of Twin Cities ensembles including Monk in Motion, the Adam Meckler Quintet, the Bryan Nichols Quintet, Dave King Trucking Company and the Atlantis Quartet. Click here for the full story.

In fall 2012, Jared Hall (trumpet, MM Jazz ’12) entered the jazz studies doctoral program at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where he was awarded a Teaching Assistantship.

Blake Wilkins (saxophone, MM Jazz ’12) entered the jazz studies doctoral program at the University of Illinois in fall 2012.

Jeff Greene (bass, BM Jazz ‘04) has won the International Society of Bassists David Walter Composition Award in Media Category, for Marrow (solo double bass and electronics). Click here for the full story.

Reuben Gingrich (drums) just moved to Chicago and has been touring nationally and internationally with his band The Main Squeeze.  Several recent highlights with the band include opening for The Roots at a 2012 Super Bowl pre party, winning the The Venetian Macau International Jazz and Blues competition in Macau, China, and playing at Bonnaroo Music Festival this summer. This fall the group will be doing both a midwest and an east coast tour; they recorded and released our debut album this past June.

Steve Such (drums) is now based in San Diego, CA where he is the Music Manager at Landau Music, a cruise ship entertainment booking agency. Steve has also been nationally/internationally with the Red NOT Chili Peppers and will be opening up for P.O.D. with up-and-coming artist Jon Goodhue in October.

Michael D’Angelo (MM Jazz ‘12) was recently awarded the position of Lecturer in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina (Wilmington). Click here for the full story.

Jazz alumnus Elliott Caine, 60, was featured in an article highlighting his double life as an optometrist and jazz trumpet player. Click here for the full story.

Michael Weiss (piano) was featured in an interview posted on Jazz Profiles in March 2012. http://jazzprofiles.blogspot.com/2012/03/michael-weiss-on-jazzprofiles.html

Saxophonist Chris Greene was featured in a September 2012 DownBeat magazine article, “Indie Life: Chris Greene: Network Builder,” which highlights his new CD, A Group Effort, and his efforts to use all the latest promotional tools in his career. A Group Effort is reviewed in the October 2012 issue of DownBeat.

Read a review by Neil Tesser, hear clips, and purchase the album.

Chris Greene’s web page.

Pianist Matt Mitchell has had an extraordinary year performing and recording with numerous groups and receiving positive notice in the New York Times, DownBeat magazine, and elsewhere.

In July, Matt was named one of 13 recipients of the 2012 Pew Arts Fellowship by the Pew Center for Art and Heritage. Other recipients include jazz saxophonist Greg Osby, former Sun Ra sideman Marshall Allen, and free jazz/klezmer trombonist Dan Blacksberg.

One of the many recently released recordings featuring Matt is Be Still, the latest by the Dave Douglas Quintet. Be Still received a four-star review in the November 2012 DownBeat issue, with high praise for Matt’s work: “Philadelphian pianist Matt Mitchell has been consistently excellent, and Be Still is no exception; his radar is perfectly tuned for a multi-directional session like this.”

Other recent releases include Spun Tree by saxophonist Michael Attias and Snakeoil by saxophonist Tim Berne. Earlier this year, Matt toured the U.S. and Europe with Snakeoil. Tim talks about working with Matt in a July 2012 Jazz Times feature article.

In August, the New York Times reviewed the debut performance of Matt’s trio, with Chris Tordini, bass, and Dan Weiss, drums.

Also in August, Matt played at the Newport Jazz Festival with John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1, with Chris Speed, Matt Moran, Red Wierenga, and Drew Gress.

On other fronts, Matt is in the process of publishing a series of etudes. Scores of the first four books of his etudes were published in April by Screwgun Records.

Visit Matt’s blog to learn more about what he’s been up to and where you can hear him perform.

Morgan Price has been touring with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on baritone saxophone, playing venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, and touring Japan, performing at Blue Note Tokyo. He has also been performing on Broadway and in a major U.S.-city tour with the musical Fela! See and hear Morgan with the Fela! band. He also appears on recent recordings by Ikebe Shakedown and James Andrews (The Big Time Stuff). Check out Morgan with James Andrews in New Orleans on YouTube. Morgan’s solo is at 5:30.

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Department of Jazz Studies

Phone: (812) 855-7560

E-mail: jazz@indiana.edu

Web: music.indiana.edu/jazz/

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