Summer jazz workshop participants showcasetheir work in concerts

PUTNEY — The Vermont Jazz Center is preparing for its 42nd iteration of the summer jazz workshop. The week-long program takes place on the campus of The Putney School. This workshop encourages intermediate to professional level students from down the street and around the world; while in Vermont they polish their improvisational and musicianship skills while enjoying a hiatus.

The workshop began in 1974 when Hungarian guitarist, Attila Zoller, formed the Attila Zoller Guitar Clinics. Over the years, the summer workshop has grown in numerous ways, most notably through increased numbers of students and staff, but also by developing a vocal program under the caring guidance of Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton. Because the workshop has taken place now for 19 years at the Putney School, a sense of rhythm has been achieved through repetition. Returning students visit each summer and nourish friendships, develop their musical skills, and live their dreams. Both students and faculty consider this week in the country the highlight of their year.

Pianist Bob Werbel, who has been attending the program for more than a decade, told the VJC last week "It's my favorite week of the year, I wouldn't miss it for anything." There exists a natural, intergenerational balance where participants of all ages learn from each other, gleaning from both the wisdom of jazz's "old school," the pedagogical advancements put forth in today's developed system of jazz education and the freedom that is synonymous with the word "jazz."

The Vermont Jazz Center's summer workshop emphasizes the importance of improvisation and small-group dynamics, encouraging participants to find their own voices using the jazz language. The courses offered include jazz theory, master classes in each instrument, focused listening and faculty led ensembles. The atmosphere is friendly and productive; participants and teachers alike form bonds that last a lifetime. The summer workshop stands as the pinnacle of the VJC's educational year thanks to a phenomenal world-class faculty — teachers who are brilliant players but still have a vested interest in the unique journey brought to the program by each student. Eugene Uman is artistic director and Ginger Morawski is the summer workshop administrator. There are dozens of community volunteers who contribute to its smooth operation.

This year's program will feature approximately 55 instrumental and 20 vocal students under the tutelage of over a dozen highly regarded musician/teachers. They will meet and enjoy the excellent musical facilities at the Putney School where they will unite into instrumental and vocal ensembles and each day partake in master classes, formal performance groups, and classes in jazz composition and theory. In the evenings, evoking the Zoller spirit, students and faculty will jam until the wee hours of the morning. The students offer a performance on the final evening of the workshop and the faculty will deliver their own.

The Vermont Jazz Center Faculty Concert, today at 8 p.m., will present vocalists Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton, Jason Palmer (trumpet), Jeff Galindo (trombone), Scott Mullett, Michael Zsoldos (saxophone), Dominque Gagne (flute), Lu s Perdomo, Harvey Diamond, Ray Gallon and Eugene Uman (piano), Freddie Bryant (guitar), Marcus McLaurine, Malik McLaurine, George Kaye, David Picchi and Cameron Brown (bass), Franciso Mela, Brian Adler and Claire Arenius, (drums) and Julian Gerstin, (percussion). The ticket price for the faculty concert is $20, $15 for students. Local music students are admitted free of charge.

On Friday, the VJC Summer Workshop Student Concert will showcase faculty-coached student ensembles with numerous vocalists and several piano trios. This concert will be divided into two sections, the first will start at 3:30 p.m., and the second show will resume after a dinner break at 8 p.m. Singers will be accompanied by a professional jazz trio and the piano trios will be assisted and perform with a faculty bassist. Also performing will be five faculty-coached ensembles, usually comprised of two or three horns, piano, bass and drums. For the student concert, a $5 donation is suggested.

All concerts will take place at The Putney School's Michael S. Currier Center and are accessible to all.

For more information, visit, or call 802-254-9088.


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