This high-level ensemble learns and performs the challenging and beautifully crafted music of the world- famous Yellowjackets, a band that for thirty years has successfully performed the jazz fusion compositions of Russell Ferrante (keyboards) and Bob Mintzer (tenor and EWI) along with phenomenal bassist Jimmy Haslip and creative drummer Will Kennedy. Expect to practice the tunes several hours per week outside of class with an occasional extra rehearsal.
Improvisation on 21st-Century Grooves
We will experiment with mixing current grooves and unusual modes and harmonies in a jazz improv context. The purpose of this class is to bridge the divide between jazz harmonies and groove vamps by combining both. Furthermore, heavy emphasis is on melodic development techniques. By the end of this class you will have a working knowledge of rock, funk, reggae, ska, dance hall, drum 'n' bass, reggaeton, house, 2-step, 32nd note hi-hat grooves, hip-hop, go-go, and clipped and bounce beats.
The Music of Herbie Hancock
The Herbie Hancock ensemble will transcribe, study and perform the music of Herbie Hancock. In this course, students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience in transcribing one album per week. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
Students in the Klezmer Music ensemble will study and perform roots music from the eastern European Jewish tradition and diaspora, focusing on dance music for weddings and celebrations, as well as various crossover styles such as Yiddish swing, Yiddish theatre, and contemporary jazz/experimental repertoire by John Zorn, Masada, and others. Students will also compose or arrange at least one piece in a Klezmer style for the ensemble. Students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience in performing Klezmer and Yiddish music, either instrumental, vocal, or both. Vocalists may sing in Yiddish and/or English and vocalese. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy. Students will also gain an appreciation for cultural context of the music.
Contemporary South American Folkloric Music
Focuses on the performance of modern arrangements of music from different South American countries such as: Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and others. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
Contemporary Middle Eastern Music
This ensemble will perform contemporary compositions and standard repertoire from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Central Asia. Emphasis is on improvisation, communication within the ensemble, developing a groove (including tunes in asymmetrical meters), and exploring the musical resources of the Middle East. Since the music is primarily modal, this ensemble offers students to an opportunity to explore dynamics, instrumental timbre, embellishment, and phrasing free from the constraints of complex harmony. Repertoire is chosen each semester, based on students' preference, from the work of artists such as: Fairuz, Abdel Wahab, Natacha Atlas, Laço Tayfa, Simon Shaheen, Charbel Rouhana, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, and many others.
A large ensemble modeled after afro-pop bands of West Africa but fused with American influences. Styles include afro-beat, soukous, and derivative American styles. The music includes covers, original compositions, and improvisations by the ensemble. The first half of the semester is organized in a workshop format. The second half is used to learn repertoire. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
The Celtic Music ensemble will study and perform the music of broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. In this course, students will participate in weekly, supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience in discussion, researching, and performance of specific styles. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, musicality, individual interpretation, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
Reggae Dub ensemble students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain musical experience through the study and performance of reggae dub artists including: Steel Pulse, Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammund, Gentleman, Willie Williams, Giant Panda, Cultura Profética, Groundation, Damian Marley, and many more. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
Middle Eastern Fusion
An advanced performance ensemble geared towards experimenting with different musical styles, traditional and contemporary, from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean, including Lebanese, Egyptian, Turkish, Algerian, Bulgarian, and Gypsy traditional styles (e.g. muwashshah, sama'i, kopanitsa). Listening will include traditional artists (e.g. Fairuz, Umm Kulthum, Sayed Darwish, Selim Sesler), as well as fusion artists who have successfully blended these traditional styles with more contemporary sounds and concepts (e.g. Simon Shaheen, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Bustan Abraham, Erkan Oğur, Hüsnü Şenlendirici, The NY Gypsy All-Stars, Laço Tayfa). Students will be exposed to a diverse repertoire, with a focus on odd meters and traditional rhythmic cycles (7/8, 10/8, etc.), as well as traditional Arabic modes and their place in contemporary composition and improvisation.
In this class we will experiment with microtonal arrangements of Western classical, Middle Eastern and other non-Western and jazz/fusion compositions. Joe Maneri's 72 equal temperament octave notation system will be explained. We will start with a selection from the following compositions: Eclipse (Mingus); Madoka Blue (Fiuczynski); Carrillo quarter tone string quartets; Hába quarter tone ‚études; Turkish, Arabic, and Chinese melodies; Beethoven fragments; MoonRing (3/4 tone diminished mode); and Apprehension (Fiuczynski). Students will have a working knowledge of notation, Western classical microtonal history, intonation, and ways of soloing and comping in a microtonal chord scale context. We will also experiment with dance hall, drum 'n' bass, reggaeton, merengueton, house, 2-step, 32nd note hi-hat grooves, hip-hop, go-go, clipped and bounce beats, and new experimental beats created by students.