Document Sample
                      c e n T e r F O r T h e P e r F O r M i n G a r T S AT P E N N S TAT E

                                                                                   underwritten by
                                                                                Corvette America
photo: Jenny Bagert
             Center for the Performing Arts
                      At Penn stAte

      Terence Blanchard
                            faBian almazan, piano
                            michael olaTuja, bass
                            kendrick scoTT, drums
                           Brice winsTon, saxophone

                      The program will be announced from the stage.

                  7:30 p.m. Tuesday, april 20, 2010
                        schwab auditorium

                            The concert includes one intermission.

                                          media sponsors
  wTaj Your news leader and Jazz Spectrum on wkPs The lion

  The 2009–2010 season of the Center for the Performing Arts is supported, in part, by grants from
the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
                   and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
                         terenCe BLAnChArD

          erence Blanchard (trumpet)

                                                                                                 Nitin Vadukul
          is one of the most influential jazz
          musicians and film score masters of
his generation, a member of a jazz legacy
that has shaped the contours of modern jazz
today. With more than twenty-nine albums
to his credit, as a musician Blanchard is a
multi-Grammy Award winner and nomi-
nee, winning for his instrumental solo for
“Be-Bop” on Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz
Festival. In addition to receiving the award,
Blanchard performed live on the telecast,
along with other New Orleans artists, in-
cluding Lil’ Wayne, Allen Toussaint, and the
Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who were all joined
on stage by singer Robin Thicke. In 2008,
Blanchard also won a Grammy for his CD A
Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina), a
beautifully haunting and impassioned song
cycle about Hurricane Katrina and the rav-
ages incurred upon the city of New Orleans
and its residents. He recently won his third
Grammy Award, for best improvised jazz                  As a film composer, Blanchard has
solo for “Dancin’ 4 Chicken,” a track from Jeff   more than fifty scores to his credit and
“Tain” Watts’ album Watts.                        received a Golden Globe nomination for
       His most recent CD and Concord Jazz        Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. In 2008, he completed
label debut, 2009’s Choices, deals with           the score for Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, as
the decisions we make as a society and as         well as the soundtrack for Darnell Martin’s
individuals. The album, recorded live at the      Cadillac Records. Other film music writ-
Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New               ten by Blanchard includes Kasi Lemmons’
Orleans, features Blanchard’s longstanding        Eve’s Bayou and Talk to Me, Oprah Winfrey’s
band members plus guests Cornel West              Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tim Story’s
(writer, speaker, educator, and activist) and     Barbershop, and Ron Shelton’s Dark Blue. He
Bilal (neo-soul and jazz singer, musician, and    worked on the score for George Lucas’ Red
composer). The museum’s Patrick F. Taylor         Tails and contributed music for the score on
Library was chosen for the recording due          Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.
to its outstanding acoustics and historical             As artistic director of the Theloni-
importance to New Orleans. The library,           ous Monk Institute of Jazz, which he was
completed in 1889 and a survivor of both          instrumental in relocating from Los Angeles
hurricanes and decades of neglect, is the         to New Orleans, Blanchard works with
only existing building in the South designed      students in the areas of artistic develop-
by New Orleans native H. H. Richardson.           ment, arranging, composition, and concert
       Let’s Get Lost, Blanchard’s most popular   programming. He also participates in
CD, features his quintet and leading jazz         master classes around the world, as well as
vocalists Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, Dianne       local community outreach activities in his
Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson.                     beloved hometown of New Orleans.
                                   Who’s Who

         aBian almazan (piano), a na-           Michael W. Greene Scholarship, studying
         tive of Cuba now residing in New       with Jason Moran.
         York City, found his musical                 Almazan was selected as one of the
roots as a child in his homeland of             three finalists of Cuban arts organization
Havana, where he first became involved          The Cintas Foundation’s 2009–2010 Bran-
in the classical piano tradition. When          don Fradd Award in Music Composition.
his parents could not afford to pay for         The award has been granted to artists
private piano lessons, having fled Cuba in      who have gone on to play an influential
political exile to Miami, classical pianist     role in the development of Cuban cultural
Conchita Betancourt was gracious enough         heritage. For the past two years, Alma-
to give free lessons for more than three        zan has been the pianist for the Terence
years. Thanks to Betancourt’s exceeding         Blanchard Quintet and has toured the
generosity, Almazan was able to audition        United States, South America, Asia, and
for the New World School of the Arts High       Europe with the group. Almazan has had
School in Miami, where he studied from          the opportunity to share the stage with
1998 to 2002 as a classical pianist and         such artists as Gretchen Parlato, Paquito
later as a jazz pianist, having first discov-   D’Rivera, Kendrick Scott, Bilal, Kurt Elling,
ered his love of jazz there as a sophomore.     and Ambrose Akinmusire.
      In 2002, Almazan was selected for

the piano chair in the National 2002                     peak, the title of michael
Grammy High School Jazz Combo. The fol-                  olaTuja’s (bass) debut album,
lowing year, Almazan won the piano chair                 holds deep personal meaning for
for the newly up and running Brubeck            its creator, exemplifying in a single word
Institute fellowship program based in           the album’s underlying themes of hope,
northern California, where he studied           encouragement, inspiration, and positiv-
with Mark Levine and performed with             ity. The album tells the story of the British/
Dave Brubeck and Christian McBride.             Nigerian artist’s musical and personal
In 2003, Almazan moved to New York              journey. “The language of music is one
City to study with Kenny Barron at the          that we all speak,” Olatuja explains. “It
Manhattan School of Music. In May 2006,         unites diverse cultures.”
Almazan graduated with a bachelor’s                   The ten songs on Speak find Olatuja
degree in jazz piano performance from           stepping out of his role as sideman and
the Manhattan School of Music, where he         finally presenting his personal vision as
immersed himself in the realm of orches-        producer and composer. With musical
tral composition, studying instrumenta-         influences and guests from around the
tion and orchestration with Giampaolo           world, the album touches on each spot
Bracali. Under Bracali’s tutelage, Almazan      Olatuja has hit around the globe, includ-
composed several pieces for chamber en-         ing his childhood in London and Lagos,
sembles, including the string quartet and       Nigeria, and his professional years in
jazz piano trio piece Personalities, which      London and New York City. Speak is clearly
earned him the 2007 American Society of         the album Olatuja has been working
Composers, Authors, and Publishers Foun-        toward his entire career and points to a
dation Young Jazz Composer Award. In            strong future.
spring 2009, Almazan received a master’s              His work has enlivened the perfor-
degree from Manhattan School of Music           mances of Terence Blanchard, Patti Austin,
and was selected as a recipient of the          Lisa Stansfield, Stevie Wonder, Chaka
                                  Who’s Who
Khan, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir,           encouraged the freedom to improvise,
Gretchen Parlato, and many others.             soul encouraged me to do it from the
      Olatuja, 28, began crafting the music    heart, R&B encouraged an undeniable
that would become Speak in 2003. From          deep groove, and world music encour-
the genesis of the project he knew what        aged me not to forget my roots. Gospel
he wanted to accomplish. From there,           gives it all a sense of purpose; it inspires
the music took shape organically as the        and uplifts.”
pieces fell into place, Olatuja calling upon         All of those musical characteristics
a large cast of musicians to assist him        are well represented and interwoven
in realizing the self-produced project,        ingeniously on Speak. Olatuja incorpo-
including several singers who alternate        rates such hallmarks of traditional African
on lead vocals—Eska Mtungwazi, Andrew          music as the talking drum and hand
Roachford, Terri Walker, Onaje Jefferson,      drums (conga and djembe), call-and-
Michael’s wife Alicia Olatuja, and the late    response vocals, and the Yoruba language,
neo-soul artist Lynden David Hall.             while working comfortably with musical
      On Speak, Olatuja finds commonali-       vocabularies more familiar to Western
ties among the various genres that have        ears—neo-soul balladry, hip-hop, modern
shaped his artistry, beginning with the in-    jazz, and deep groove.
digenous, traditional sounds that formed             The opening track, “Ma Foya” (Yoruba
his roots during his youth in Nigeria. “I      for “don’t fear”), is built upon a propulsive
grew up in a church that sang Yoruba           West African hi-life rhythmic pattern and
Christian songs and played Yoruba-style        classic Philly soul vocals. It features a lead
music,” he recalls. “I honed my skills play-   vocal by Hall over a battery of grooving
ing in many Yoruba music bands. So when        hand drums, massed background vocals,
it came to songwriting, this influence         and guitar.
came out naturally.”                                 On “Unconditional,” Olatuja plucks his
      At age 11, Olatuja picked up a bass      bass strings in tandem with smooth guitar
guitar for the first time, and within five     licks and evocative keyboard lines as wife
years was playing professionally, absorb-      Alicia (who co-wrote the song) pays trib-
ing everything he heard until then—soul,       ute to the value of a lover who remains
jazz, R&B, gospel, and more. Influences        true and steadfast. One of the most ex-
such as guitarist George Benson and jazz       hilarating tracks on the album, “Yi Yipada”
bassists John Patitucci and Richard Bona,      is highlighted by a deep, odd-metered
who Olatuja calls his “teacher and mentor,”    bassline, intricate keyboard work, and
helped shape his musical world. Addition-      precision drumming all in tight interplay
al schooling in both the United Kingdom        with scatted vocal improvisation.
at Middlesex University and in the United            Lyrically, the music on Speak is also
States at Manhattan School of Music            infused with Olatuja’s strong Christian
sharpened Olatuja’s chops and allowed          roots. The ballad “Altar Call” speaks about
him to mix it up with world-class artists      someone who realizes that God is calling
who quickly came to appreciate his gifts.      them to a better life, to have the freedom
      His 2004 move to New York City gave      to choose what is right.
him the impetus he needed to put it all              “Walk With Me,” a traditional gospel
together. “As a writer, New York encour-       number—and the only tune on Speak not
aged me to be original, because there are      written or co-written by Olatuja—glides
so many artists out there,” he says. “Jazz     along on a syncopated bass ostinato,
                                  Who’s Who
reminiscent of McCoy Tyner and Kenny           Lizz Wright, Wayne Shorter, David San-
Kirkland, and develops into a straight-        born, Dianne Reeves, The Crusaders, Kurt
ahead groove, leading to an exploratory,       Rosenwinkel, John Patitucci, Stefon Harris,
nuanced conversation among all the             Kenny Garrett, Pat Metheny, Nicholas Pay-
instrumentalists.                              ton, Patti Austin, Mark Turner, Joe Lovano,
      The nine-minute “Mama Ola,” which        David Sanborn, Roy Hargrove, plus playing
features saxophonist Jean Toussaint and        on numerous film soundtracks by Spike
pianist Jason Rebello, is a poetic jazz        Lee and other filmmakers, is not nearly
tribute to Olatuja’s late mother, Comfort      enough for the uber-talented Scott. While
Bola Olatuja, and hosts the most complex       excelling in the business of playing music,
musical interaction on the album. “Le          Scott decided to plunge head first into the
Jardin” (The Garden), with vocal by Onaje      business of running a record label.
Jefferson, is pure R&B in the mode of clas-          In preparation for his debut record-
sic Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway.          ing as a leader, Scott discovered the need
The title track, infused with a hip-hop sen-   for himself and other artists to have a new
sibility, features rapper TY inspiring the     platform from which they could release
listener to “Speak! Speak up!”                 their music. The drummer also had no
      Olatuja is taking what he’s learned      desire to place the destiny of his first
and helping other artists realize their own    recording in the hands of a traditional
dreams. In addition to planning his own        record label. In an effort to cross stylistic
busy touring schedule, he co-produced          and cultural divides, bypass the corporate
ObliqSound artist Somi’s forthcoming           structure, have complete creative control
album, which includes a track featuring        over the finished product, and expand
the legendary Hugh Masekela.                   the jazz community to nascent followers,
      Olatuja’s deep spirituality and un-      World Culture Music was launched with
shaken belief in the power of the positive     the release of Scott’s Oracle: The Source.
lie at the heart of every track on Speak.      The critically acclaimed, artist-run label
It makes perfect sense that Olatuja titled     released its fourth recording, Synesthesia,
the album what he did—Speak speaks             from trombonist/composer Nick Vayenas,
volumes, and it speaks to everyone.            and also released The Wish from vocal-
                                               ist/composer Julie Hardy and Between

        endrick scoTT (drums), born            the Lines from guitarist/composer Mike
        July 8, 1980, and raised in Hous-      Moreno.
        ton, has been featured in Terence            Scott grew up in a household of
Blanchard’s band for the last several years    musicians. He first encountered the
and has appeared on the Grammy-win-            drums in church, where his parents and
ning and nominated recordings A Tale of        older brother were involved in the music
God’s Will and Flow, on which he contrib-      ministry. By 6 his parents (Stepheny and
uted original compositions and orchestra-      Kenneth) could see that the young boy’s
tions. Since arriving in New York City in      interest in the drums was a not a passing
2003, Scott has appeared on more than          fancy, so they set him up with sticks, a
twenty-one records as a sideman and on         pad, and lessons. “As a kid, I remember
the soundtracks to seven films.                listening to the music at church and feel-
      Touring the world and recording with     ing chills in my body,” Scott says. “I knew
the likes of Blanchard, as well as Herbie      then that music was my calling.” Years
Hancock, John Scofield, Maria Schneider,       later his hard work, and the great support
                                   Who’s Who
of his family, enabled Scott to attend the      wisdom of a veteran musician and the
renowned High School for the Performing         adventurousness of a perpetually curious
and Visual Arts (other graduates include        young artist.
Mike Moreno, Robert Glasper, Jason Mo-                In the words of Blanchard, “Kendrick
ran, Walter Smith III, and Beyonce) and to      is a true artist of the highest order. He is
go on to win DownBeat magazine student          not bound by the conventional wisdom
awards, plus the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz       of the music world. I’ve noticed that he
Award, presented by the International           never says ‘why,’ but rather ‘why not.’ He
Association for Jazz Education and the          is exactly what the music world needs—
National Foundation for the Advance-            someone with the vision and courage to
ment of the Arts. He was later awarded          press forward and expand the world of
a scholarship to attend Berklee College         music. I am blessed to have him around
of Music, where he majored in music             and look forward to seeing what he does
education. “Going to Berklee was pivotal        every time we play.”
for my growth as a musician,” he says. “I

met so many great, amazing musicians                      rice winsTon (saxophone) was
and friends.” As an undergraduate, Scott                  born June 13, 1970, in Tucson, Ari-
gigged with Pat Metheny, Gary Burton,                     zona. His mother, Martha, is one of
and Kenny Garrett. Upon graduation, he          three sisters, all of whom studied piano
already had offers from Joe Sample and          growing up in Toledo, Ohio. His father,
Blanchard.                                      Donald, a photographer and a graphic
      Scott is influenced by many drum-         designer, attended college in Chicago. An
mers, including hometown up-and-com-            interest in jazz lured his father to as many
ers Eric Harland and Chris Dave, as well as     performances as possible by jazz greats
masters like Tony Williams, Papa Jo Jones,      living or performing in the Chicago area,
Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, and Max Roach,         and he simultaneously accumulated a jazz
but he consistently displays his own dis-       record collection.
tinctive style with a brilliant use of space,          Winston was introduced to play-
timbre, dynamics, and propulsion.               ing music in elementary school when
      The title track of his debut CD, The      a friend informed him that joining the
Source, was originally recorded on Terence      school band would excuse him from some
Blanchard’s 2005 album Flow for Blue            classes. He began with the flute, and
Note Records. Flow features Scott and           quickly developed a level of proficiency
pianist and producer Hancock, who plays         with the instrument that surprised both
on Scott’s composition.                         his parents and his band teacher. Thereaf-
      Scott is one of the bright stars in an    ter, music became a priority. While he was
amazingly talented group of young drum-         still in elementary school, the junior high
mers on the scene today. He remains a           jazz band performed at his school. He was
first-call player for major artists because     immediately taken with the music, but
his humanity and compassion extend into         was informed if he wished to play in the
the notes and phrases he chooses to play,       jazz band in junior high, he would have
which makes his playing consistently ring       to learn the saxophone. In a weekend, he
true. These deep roots, connected to his        taught himself all the fingerings for the
mentors, inspirations, peers, parents, and      saxophone. He also reaped the benefits
church, enable Scott to be present and          of his father’s affinity for the music, being
in the moment, bringing to the table the        exposed to the best in jazz music thanks
                                  Who’s Who
to an extensive record collection. Further,    ston decided it was time to step out and
his father sought the best teachers and        chance it in the jazz world. From then on,
playing opportunities that Tucson could        it was jazz or nothing. Shortly after this
offer.                                         decision, former school colleague Payton,
      By the time he was a senior in high      by this time a Grammy Award-winning
school, Winston was playing in two Pima        trumpet player, contacted Winston to fill
Community College jazz ensembles, as           his tenor chair. He toured with Payton for
well as playing lead alto saxophone in         nearly a year.
the University of Arizona Jazz Ensemble.             During this time, Winston developed
Professionally, he was performing in many      a strong relationship with trumpeter/
places in the Tucson area. He won numer-       band leader/film composer Blanchard.
ous awards for best soloist in local and       As the gig with Payton neared its end,
state band competitions and was awarded        a door with Blanchard opened. Follow-
one of only two positions representing         ing a call to play on one of Blanchard’s
Arizona in the McDonald’s All-American         movie scores, The Soul of the Game,
High School Band, which toured the             Blanchard asked Winston to fill in for his
United States for a month in the sum-          regular saxophonist on a couple of dates
mer of 1988 under the direction of Bob         with his band. Thereafter, Winston was
Curnow.                                        asked to join the band. His initial effort
      Following high school, Winston pur-      was recording Blanchard’s Columbia
sued his musical studies at California State   Records CD Wandering Moon with bassist
University at Northridge for one semester      Dave Holland and saxophonist Branford
before transferring to the University of       Marsalis. Subsequently, Winston recorded
New Orleans Jazz Studies Program. As just      four more CDs and ten movie scores with
one of a few students, Winston received        Blanchard, including six for writer/direc-
considerable one-on-one time with Ellis        tor/movie producer Spike Lee. He is also
Marsalis, as well as abundant playing time     featured on the Jazziz DVD Flow, docu-
with fellow students, including Nicholas       menting the world tour for Blanchard’s
Payton and Brian Blade. He also had the        Blue Note CD release Flow.
opportunity to study with saxophonist                Winston’s association with Blanchard
and composer/arranger Harold Batiste,          has afforded him opportunities to play
who eventually recruited Winston’s             with some of the best musicians in the
services for two CDs on Batiste’s own AFO      business, ranging from piano great Herbie
label.                                         Hancock, who produced and played on
      Living and going to school in New        Flow, to veterans Slide Hampton and
Orleans provided Winston the opportunity       James Moody. As part of a tour promot-
to meet numerous musicians and immerse         ing the music of Blanchard in Lee films,
himself in the vast musical offerings of the   Winston performed with Lou Rawls, Chaka
historic jazz city. It was in this environ-    Khan, Mavis Staples, and Gerald Levert,
ment that he developed relationships           along with performers such as Bilal and
with some of jazz music’s most promi-          Bruce Hornsby.
nent players, including Nicholas Payton,             When he wasn’t touring with
Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Mark       Blanchard, Winston was working at home
Whitfield, and Terence Blanchard.              with the best of the best musicians in
      After a three-and-a-half-year stint      New Orleans like Payton, Ellis Marsalis,
with a blues band on Bourbon Street, Win-      Steve Mazakowski, Mike Pellera, Johnny
                                    Who’s Who
Vidocovich, Roland Guerin, and Maurice             taking the opportunity to share his expe-
Brown, recording on a number of CDs in             riences as a touring professional with the
the process. Additionally, he became a             next generation of jazz musicians in and
sought-after private teacher, attaining            around Tucson. He feels strongly about
instructor positions at the New Orleans            giving back to the community that helped
Center for Creative Arts, Delgado Com-             him develop his craft. He has formed a
munity College, the University or New              partnership with bassist/educator Scott
Orleans, and Dillard University.                   Black and trombonist/educator Doug
     After living in New Orleans for six-          Tidaback called the Tucson Jazz Institute,
teen years, Hurricane Katrina forced Win-          which is dedicated to the jazz education
ston and his family back to his hometown           of middle and high school students across
of Tucson, where he now resides. He is             the city.

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