Brattleboro's Vermont Jazz Center to launch new classes Sept. 19


BRATTLEBORO >> The Vermont Jazz Center will host a new 10-week session of classes beginning the week of Sept. 19 (excepting Woman's Harmony Vocal Jazz Ensemble, which begins Tuesday, Sept. 13).

Courses include an expanded youth program for ages 10 to 16, a bebop ensemble led by Scott Mullett (Blue Note Ensemble), Anna Patton's popular Vocal Harmony Chorus and the VJC's Latin Jazz Ensemble.

This year's offerings include a new class from percussionist/musicologist and VJC Board President, Julian Gerstin. He will be introducing a broad range of percussion instruments from Africa and Latin America and their corresponding rhythms. Participants will learn basic techniques and grooves for each instrument. This "percussion ensemble" is an overview of percussion instruments from Africa and Latin America that includes active jamming on actual instruments using authentic rhythms.

Consider joining a combo and learn how to perform classic jazz compositions while being guided by one of the VJC's professional faculty. If you've never improvised, that's no problem. There are opportunities for all including classical musicians intrigued by jazz's structure and improvisational opportunities.

Sessions are 10 weeks long (except for Youth Jazz, which is eight weeks). Prices and starting dates are listed on the VJC website, Register by contacting Ginger Morawski at

Monday, 5:15 to 6:45 p.m., Blue Note Ensemble Scott Mullett, instructor. Tuesday, 3:45 to 5 p.m., Youth Jazz Ensemble, Eugene Uman, instructor. Tuesday, 5:45 to 7:30 p.m., Women's Harmony Vocal Jazz with Anna Patton. Wednesday, 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., Latin Jazz Ensemble, Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman, instructors. Wednesday, 6 to 7:30 p.m., VJC Sextet (full), Rob Freeberg, director. Thursday, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Latin/African Percussion Ensemble, Julian Gerstin, instructor.

The Blue Note Ensemble will focus on the repertoire from landmark Blue Note recordings of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mullett states that this era represents for him, "the heartbeat of American jazz." The repertoire performed by this ensemble will include jazz standards and originals recorded by the bands of Art Blakey and the jazz Messengers, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter.

The Youth Jazz Ensemble is for youth who are interested in adding improvisation to their musical toolbox. This ensemble will use simple tunes written by jazz masters Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley and others as vehicles for taking off. The tunes we will start with are simple, catch melodies that encourage participants to want to delve deeper into the jazz repertoire.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble is for individuals who wish to learn and play jazz influenced by rhythms of Latin America. Emphasized styles include salsa, son, rumba, danzon, bolero and cha cha chá from Cuba (and Puerto Rico); cumbia, bambucco and porro from Colombia; bossa, samba, partido alto and samba reggae from Brazil.

Anna Patton will lead Women's Jazz Harmony Vocal Ensemble, which will sing arrangements of songs from the swing era as well as contemporary pieces in the jazz idiom. The ensemble will work on blend and precision in close harmonies in the style of groups like the Andrews Sisters and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. We will also spend some time working on aural skills and playing with chord progressions. Recommended for singers who read music and/or have quick ears. The group is not auditioned, but does take on some challenging material.

The Latin and African Percussion and Rhythms includes many instruments and many styles, more than bongo and cowbell. Julian will introduce you to instruments from Ghana, Cuba, Brazil and Martinique, from drums of many kinds to bells, shakers, and scrapers.

All are invited to attend Wednesday night jam community sessions — they're held from 8 to 10 p.m. every week. All levels and all instruments are invited.

Check out the VJC's website at and find class descriptions and further information on all the VJC's offerings. The phone number at the VJC is 802 254 9088 and leave a message for Ginger. You can also email Eugene Uman at No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, please call to find out about the VJC's scholarship and extended payment options. Assistance is available thanks to a generous grant from the Thompson Trust.

To register, or for questions about scholarship assistance, contact Ginger Morawski For questions about Anna Patton's classes, contact the instructor directly: For all other inquiries contact Eugene Uman at


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