Jazz as Culture, Language, Being, and Music Series

By 
Elisabeth Nicula
January 28, 2009
Greg Osby
Kendrick Oliver
Mint Condition
Esperanza Spalding
Dave Khoshtinat of the Bob Marley Ensemble
Ron Reid, director of the Steel Pan Ensemble
Ricardo Monzon, director of the Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Geri Allen
Dennis Montgomery
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Rick Kinchen
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Berklee's Africana Studies/Music and Society initiative presents the Jazz as Culture, Language, Being, and Music series. The artists featured in these concerts, lectures, and interviews bring a fluid mix of scholarship, performance, pedagogy, cultural criticism, and music industry experience.

Africana Studies provides innovative, substantive, and sustained connective programs in black music culture at Berklee. Its focus is on the study of black music practice, history and meaning. This includes the study of traditional West African music, spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, r&b, reggae, soul, music in South America, Cuba, and the Caribbean, and contemporary urban music traditions. Africana Studies aids in curriculum and student development by increasing the understanding and appreciation of the music and culture, and the roles artists have had in transforming modern culture and society.

Except where noted, concerts begin at 8:15 p.m. in the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. For ticket information, call 617 747-2261 or visit berkleebpc.com.

February 3-Maria Schneider

Grammy Award-winning composer, recording artist, and band leader Maria Schneider's orchestral jazz music has been described as evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization. Schneider visits Berklee to talk about her work.

Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston. Free and open to the public.

February 5-Mint Condition

A quintet known for infectious r&b grooves atop a blend of rock, funk, and pop, Mint Condition is also lauded for musicianship that holds up to an old school jazz standard. The band is sure to give new meaning to its hit "You Send Me Swinging," and others, as it shows how jazz influences its sound. Mint Condition performs as part of the Sovereign Bank Music Series at Berklee.

February 10-Kendrick Oliver

Berklee alumnus Kendrick Oliver, who first led a big band 15 years ago during his sophomore year, combines go-for-broke swing and orchestral punch with a dose of spiritual uplift as the bandleader of the New Life Jazz Orchestra, playing tonight.

Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston. Free and open to the public.

February 12-Saying Sounds: The Bob Blumenthal Show with Greg Osby

Acclaimed jazz critic, author, and former RIAA commissioner Bob Blumenthal interviews Greg Osby, who shines just as brightly in his own realm. The saxophonist, composer, and producer has made an indelible mark on contemporary jazz as an ensemble leader and as a guest artist playing with Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, and many others. The evening will include live music by Osby's band.

February 17-Esperanza Spalding

The bassist, vocalist, and composer Esperanza Spalding performs with her band. As Berklee President Roger H. Brown told Down Beat Magazine, the faculty member and recent graduate "incorporates her voice with her instrument in a way in which neither is the accompanist."

Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston. Free and open to the public.

February 19-Soul of the Caribbean

Three student ensembles showcase the music of the Caribbean. The Bob Marley Ensemble, directed by Matt Jenson, the Steel Pan Ensemble, directed by Ron Reid, and the Afro-Cuban Ensemble, directed by Ricardo Monzon, bring some welcome warm weather to midwinter Boston. Grammy-nominated trombonist and Berklee alumnus William Cepeda will be a special guest performer for the evening.

February 24-A Visit with Henry Grimes

Avant-garde bassist and violinist Henry Grimes performs for the public during his Berklee residency. The evening also features an interview with Grimes, conducted by Ralph Rosen.

Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston. Free and open to the public.

February 26-Geri Allen

Pianist, composer, and educator Geri Allen presents the world premiere of her solo piano work, "Refractions, Flying Toward the Sound." Allen received a Guggenheim Fellowship to create this composition, which celebrates the humanity and embraces the continuity of innovation in jazz, as personified by three of the revolutionary pianist-composers—Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor.

March 12-Gospel Jazz with Dennis Montgomery and Friends

Minister and faculty member Dennis Montgomery presents an evening of gospel jazz.

Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston. Free and open to the public.

The Jazz as culture, Being, Language, and Music series is presented with support from the Office of Cultural Diversity, Office of Faculty Development, and the Liberal Arts Department.