VJC Summer Jazz Workshop Kickoff Concert


GREENFIELD, MASS. >> The Arts Block will host the Vermont Jazz Center Faculty Sextet in a performance on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 8:30 p.m.. The Vermont Jazz Center Summer Workshop will be held starting Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Putney School where students from around the world join forces to live and breath jazz music 24/7 for an entire week. Freddie Bryant, the guitar instructor at the VJC's summer workshop, is the organizer of this event, he will be joined by VJC director, Eugene Uman (piano), Scott Mullett (tenor and soprano saxophones), Cameron Brown (bass), and Francisco Mela (drums). This concert will feature a repertoire that incorporates swing, Latin and funk styles performed by musicians of the highest caliber.

The concert will take place at the Arts Block, 289 Greenfield, Mass. Music begins at 8:30 p.m., tickets are $15 online in advance, $18 at the door. A brilliant young guitarist and composer, Freddie Bryant is a versatile musician skilled both in jazz and classical music, with an unerring ability to seamlessly traverse the two genres' divide. Receiving a Master's degree in classical guitar from the Yale School of Music, Bryant is currently in demand in the New York Jazz and Brazilian scenes, where he has worked with Elaine Elias, Tom Harrell and many others.

Pianist and composer Eugene Uman has worked for over almost two decades as director of the Vermont Jazz Center conducting educational programs and concerts. He has produced over 280 jazz concerts representing some of the better-known jazz musicians active today. Meanwhile, Uman offers classes in jazz related subjects such as history, theory and composition as well as private lessons in these subjects. He teaches jazz piano at Amherst College and established a university level academic jazz studies program in Colombia, South America. Uman's artist focus remains with the Convergence Project, a sextet that he put together to record and perform Uman's original music. They have release two albums to date. The Project references Colombian rhythms but has evolved to give a greater voice to Uman's love of vocal jazz, bebop, rock, gospel and funk roots.

Cameron Brown, a bassist, composer and educator, began his career in the mid- sixties, recording in Europe with George Russell and Don Cherry. Beginning in 1975, Mr. Brown anchored some of the most important ensembles of the seventies, eighties, nineties, and into the current century. Brown has helped young people around the world to nurture their interest in and passion for jazz and is on the faculty of the New School University.

Francisco Mela is a favorite among jazz's elite instrumentalists. Born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba. Mela moved to Boston in 2000 to pursue a degree at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music. The faculty soon recognized that Mela had much to offer students and promptly hired him to teach at the school. He quickly made a name for himself in the Boston scene, becoming the house drummer at the legendary Wally's Café Jazz Club and developed a concept for his own band, one that would feature the sounds of modern jazz with the traditional music he grew up with in Cuba. Since 2005, Mela has been an integral part of Joe Lovano's quartet and his new group "Us Five," and his latest project, Cuban Safari, is an amalgamation of his favorite bands that inspired him to become a drummer. His work is spirited evidence of his distinguished place among young group leaders.

This special event with The Vermont Jazz Center's Summer Workshop Quintet, will be at the Arts Block, Greenfield, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 6 at 8:30 p.m.


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