Rick Keene Music Scene – All That Jazz

Jazz at Princeton University Announces Diverse and Compelling Season


 
October 12, 2019 – May 9, 2020
 
Guest artists include Portuguese vocalist/composer Sara Serpa with Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma, Chilean vocal sensation Claudia Acuña, & Grammy-nominated Cuban drummer & MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto
 
Faculty groups are led by Jazz at Princeton head Rudresh Mahanthappa, Trineice Robinson-Martin, Jay Clayton, Matthew Parrish, Darcy James Argue
 
2nd annual Princeton University Jazz Festival slated for Saturday, April 18, 2020

Jazz at Princeton University, helmed by acclaimed saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, presents a thrilling and diverse 2019-2020 season, October 12, 2019 – May 9, 2020. Highlights include performances by student groups joined by guest artists including acclaimed Portuguese vocalist/composer Sara Serpa with her Intimate Strangers project, Chilean vocal sensation Claudia Acuña, and Grammy-nominated Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto. After a resoundingly successful inaugural year, Jazz at Princeton will also present the second annual Princeton University Jazz Festival on April 18, 2020.
“I’m very excited about the depth and breadth of this year’s Jazz at Princeton program,” says Mahanthappa. “With the contribution of some of jazz’s most inventive artists working alongside our accomplished students, we are hosting concerts that will engage, inspire and entertain. Last year’s launch of the annual Princeton University Jazz Festival was a great success, and the second edition promises to be just as outstanding.”

Jazz at Princeton’s six major student ensembles include the Creative Large Ensemble directed by Darcy James Argue, Small Groups I and A directed by Mahanthappa, Small Group X directed by Matthew Parrish, the Jazz Vocal Collective directed by Trineice RobinsonMartin, and the Vocal Improvisation Ensemble directed by Jay Clayton.

2019-2020 Season

Saturday, October 12, 2019 –Rudresh Mahanthappa Tiger Quartet+ 
8 pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.  Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/rudresh-mahanthappa-tiger-quartet



Acclaimed alto saxophonist and Jazz at Princeton head leads a select group of students in a concert to kick off the season.

Friday, November 8, 2019– Sara Serpa’s Intimate Strangers
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/intimate-strangers.



A collaboration between Portuguese vocalist-composer Sara Serpa and Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma that draws inspiration from Iduma’s latest book, A Stranger’s Pose, a unique blend of travelogue, musings and poetry, with a foreword by Teju Cole. In a combination of music, text, image and field recordings collected by Iduma during his travels, Intimate Strangers explores themes of movement, home, grief, absence and desire in what Iduma calls “an atlas of a borderless world.” Co-sponsored by Jazz at Princeton and the Program in African Studies.

Sara Serpa – voice, composition | Emmanuel Iduma – text, spoken word
Sofía Rei, Aubrey Johnson – voice | Matt Mitchell -piano | Qasim Naqvi – modular synth 

Sara Serpa is a singer, composer, improviser who implements a unique instrumental approach to her vocal style. Recognized for her distinctive wordless singing, Serpa has been immersed in the field of jazz, improvised and experimental music since first arriving in New York in 2008.  Described by JazzTimes as “a master of wordless landscapes” and by the New York Times as “a singer of silvery poise and cosmopolitan outlook,” Serpa started her recording and performing career with jazz luminaries such as Grammy-nominated pianist Danilo Perez, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow pianist Ran Blake, and Greg Osby. Her ethereal music draws from a broad variety of inspirations including literature, film, visual arts as well as history and nature. As a leader, she has produced and released nine albums, (with labels Sunnyside Records, Clean Feed, Tzadik and Inner Circle Music); the latest being “Close Up” in collaboration with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and cellist Erik Friedlander. Serpa has collaborated with an extensive array of musicians including John Zorn, Guillermo Klein, Zeena Parkins, Mark Turner, Tyshawn Sorey, and Nicole Mitchell, among many others. She has performed her own music in Europe, Australia, North and South America, singing at international festivals such as Festa do Jazz, the Panama Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz de Montevideo, Wangaratta Jazz Festival and Adelaide Festival, Sopot Jazz Festival or venues like Bimhuis, Casa da Música, Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, The Stone, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Kennedy Center for the Arts, among others.

Emmanuel Iduma is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Born and raised in Nigeria, he has contributed essays and stories to journals, magazines, artists’ books, and exhibition catalogues. He is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), and received a 2017 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant in arts writing, for his blog A Sum of Encounters. He is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, where he obtained an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing. In 2017, he was associate curator of the Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He is the author, most recently, of A Stranger’s Pose.

Saturday, November 16 – Small Groups I and A – led by Rudresh Mahanthappa
8 pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-small-groups-concert-2.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Small Groups I and A, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, present an evening of jazz at its most intimate in a showcase of improvisation and inspiring interaction. 

Thursday, November 21– Jazz Vocal Collective – led by Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-vocal-collective-2.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Jazz Vocal Collective (JVC), Princeton University’s elite small jazz ensemble that features solo voice, will join director Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin and showcase their original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions. 

Internationally recognized as one of the leading pedagogues in gospel and soul voice training, Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin specializes in vocal pedagogy and performance practices for contemporary commercial music styles (i.e. jazz, pop, gospel, R&B, country, rock, music theater, etc.). As the creator of Soul Ingredients®, a methodology for nurturing vocal freedom and authentic musical interpretation and expression, Dr. Robinson-Martin regularly travels nationally and internationally teaching voice, lecturing and giving workshops.

Saturday, November 23– Creative Large Ensemble – Led by Darcy James Argue
8 pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.
Tickets and info: 609-258-9220 or https://music.princeton.edu/events/creative-large-ensemble-2.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Creative Large Ensemble led by Darcy James Argue continues to redefine the big band in an innovative program encompassing classic and contemporary repertoire.

Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue has toured nationally and internationally with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society. Argue made his mark with his critically acclaimed 2009 debut Infernal Machines. 2013 saw the release of Brooklyn Babylon, which, like Infernal Machines before it, earned the group nominations for both GRAMMY and JUNO Awards. His most recent recording, Real Enemies, released in the fall of 2016, earned a third consecutive GRAMMY nomination. Secret Society maintains a busy touring schedule, with European, Canadian, and South American tours and four appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival. Argue has also toured Australia and New Zealand leading the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. He has led performances of his music by the WDR Big Band, the Danish Radio Big Band, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Big Band Palácio das Artes, and the West Point Jazz Knights. Argue has composed works for chamber duo and string quartet, art songs for Newspeak, and created arrangements for the Atlanta Symphony. In 2015, Argue was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Jazz Gallery, the Manhattan New Music Project, the Jerome Foundation, and BAM, as well as ensembles including the Danish Radio Big Band, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the West Point Jazz Knights, and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Composers Now, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.

Wednesday, December 4– Jazz Small Groups in Concert – Led by Rudresh Mahanthappa
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-small-groups-concert-3.

Jazz at Princeton University’s small groups, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, leads student small groups in an energizing and beautiful evening of music.

Tuesday, December 10– Jazz Vocal Improvisation Ensemble – Led by Jay Clayton
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-vocal-improvisation-ensemble-2.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Vocal Improvisation Ensemble (VIE), directed by world-renowned Jay Clayton, presents its first performance of the year.

Jay Clayton is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer, and educator, whose work boldly spans the terrain between jazz and new music. Jay has gained worldwide attention as both performer and teacher. With more than 40 recordings to her credit, Clayton has appeared alongside such formidable artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Kirk Nurock, Julian Priester, Jerry Granelli, Jane Ira Bloom, Gary Bartz, Jack Wilkins, George Cables, Fred Hersch, Gary Thomas, tap dancer Brenda Bufalino as well as fellow vocalists Jeanne Lee, Norma Winstone, Urszula Dudziak and Bobby McFerrin. She has taught extensively throughout the world and was on the jazz faculty of Cornish College of the Arts for 20 years. She is currently on the jazz faculty at Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her book, “Sing Your Story: A Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing,” was published by Advance Music in 2001.

Friday, January 10 – Jazz Small Group X – Led by Matthew Parrish
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-small-group-x-2.

The Princeton University Jazz ‘Ensemble X’ performs under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish. This ensemble evokes the small group tradition of the Art Blakey groups of the 50’s and 60’s where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a septet with several featured trio performances. 

Matthew Parrish is a sought-after performer, arranger, composer, producer, and instructor. Matthew’s warmth in his playing and loyalty to delivering heartfelt, passionate works is apparent in every note, every tune, and every interaction with his fellow musicians. Born in central California, Matthew has performed and recorded with top names in jazz including Regina Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paquito D’Rivera, Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Orrin Evans, Clark Terry, Dr. Jonnie Smith, Savion Glover, Bill Charlap, Houston Person, and many others. He has recorded over sixty works, including his debut CD Circles (2000) and his most recent recordings with Karine Aguiar.

Saturday, February 22 – Jazz Vocal Collective with Claudia Acuña
Hear the renowned Chilean jazz singer, songwriter, and arranger share the stage with Jazz at Princeton University’s Jazz Vocal Collective Ensemble (JVC) in a concert that bridges cultures and traditions. The JVC is Princeton University’s elite small jazz student ensemble that features solo voice, directed by Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin.

8 pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Tickets and info: 609-258-9220 or https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-vocal-collective-claudia-acu%C3%B1a.

Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger Claudia Acuña possesses one of the most beautiful and compelling voices in jazz and creative music. While singing primarily in Spanish, her music crosses language barriers to communicate with power and deep feeling. Born July 3, 1971 in Santiago and raised in Concepcion, Acuña established herself on the Chilean jazz scene in her early 20s. When she arrived in New York City in 1995, Acuña quickly gained recognition as a leading voice on a scene rapidly being transformed by a wave of brilliant Latin American musicians. She plunged into collaborations with masters such as Jason Lindner, Harry Whitaker, Arturo O’Farrill, Guillermo Klein, and bassist Avishai Cohen, who co-produced her critically hailed 2000 debut Wind From the South (Verve). Her five albums as a leader established Acuña as a creative force, from 2002’s Rhythm of Life (Verve) and 2004’s Luna (MaxJazz) through 2008’s In These Shoes (Zoho Music) and 2009’s strikingly beautiful En Este Momento (Marsalis Music). Whether putting her stamp on popular Latin American ballads, reimagining jazz standards from a South American perspective, or infusing Afro-Caribbean material with a wide rhythmic sensibility, Acuña stands out as a passionate and emotionally incisive singer with a gleaming, burnished bronze tone. For much of the past decade she’s put her recording career on the backburner to focus on raising her son. Instead of touring, she’s stayed closer to home, where her keen intelligence and intrepid spirit has made her the vocalist of choice for many of jazz’s most creative figures. She’s thrived by pursuing multiple musical directions with artists such as Susie Ibarra, Billy Childs, Henry Threadgill, the Rodriguez Brothers, and Elio Villa-Franca. Acuña brings all of her far-flung experiences to bear on Turning Pages, an album that documents a major creative leap. Her key collaborator was Colombian-born string wizard Juancho Herrera, who produced the album, co-wrote several songs, and had a major hand in most of the arrangements. As much as Turning Pages points toward the future, the album is also an act of reclamation and recovery, as Acuña takes stock of her past via songs new and old. It’s the work of a woman reborn from the ashes, stronger, wiser, and more expressive than ever. Ready once again to take on the world, she’s eager to reconnect with longtime fans and build new audiences.

Thursday, April 9 – Jazz Small Group X – Led by Matthew Parrish
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-small-group-x-3.

The Princeton University Jazz ‘Ensemble X’ performs under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish. This ensemble evokes the small group tradition of the Art Blakey groups of the 50’s and 60’s where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a septet with several featured trio performances. 

Saturday, April 18 – Princeton University Jazz Festival
Noon, Richardson Lawn. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/princeton-university-jazz-festival-0.

A free day-long outdoor lineup of today’s top jazz stars coming together in exciting formations and alongside Princeton University’s exceptional student jazz ensembles. Further details TBA.

Tuesday, April 21 – Jazz Vocal Improvisation Ensemble – Led by Jay Clayton
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-vocal-improvisation-ensemble-3.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Vocal Improvisation Ensemble (VIE), directed by world-renowned Jay Clayton, presents its final performance of the year.

Thursday, April 23– Jazz Vocal Collective – Led by Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-vocal-collective-3.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Jazz Vocal Collective Ensemble (JVC), Princeton University’s elite small jazz ensemble that features solo voice, will join director Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin and showcase their original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions. 

Wednesday, April 29 – Jazz Small Groups I and A – led by Rudresh Mahanthappa
7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. Information at https://music.princeton.edu/events/jazz-small-groups-concert-4.

Jazz at Princeton University’s Small Groups I and A, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, present an evening of jazz at its most intimate in a showcase of improvisation and inspiring interaction. 

Saturday, May 9– Dafnis Prieto and Creative Large Ensemble
8 pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Tickets and info: 609-258-9220 or https://music.princeton.edu/events/dafnis-prieto-creative-large-ensemble.

Jazz at Princeton University’s season comes to a close with GRAMMY Award-winning Cuban-born drummer, composer, bandleader, educator, and MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto joining Darcy James Argue’s Creative Large Ensemble.

From Santa Clara, Cuba, Dafnis Prieto’s revolutionary drumming techniques and compositions have had a powerful impact on the Latin and Jazz music scene, nationally and internationally. Various honors include a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, Up & Coming Musician of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006, a 2018 GRAMMY Award and Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Dafnis Prieto Big Band Back to the Sunset, a GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Absolute Quintet in 2006, and a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist in 2007. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted master classes, clinics, and workshops throughout the world. He was a faculty member of Jazz Studies at NYU from 2005 to 2014, and in 2015 became a faculty member at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Since his arrival to New York in 1999, Prieto has worked in bands led by Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O’Farrill, Dave Samuels and The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill, among others. He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as a bandleader featuring several of his own projects and music. As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to big band, and including the distinctively different groups featured on seven acclaimed recordings as a leader: About The Monks, Absolute Quintet, Taking the Soul For a Walk, Si o Si Quartet: Live at Jazz Standard, Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, Triangles and Circles, and Back to the Sunset. He has received commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, and Meet the Composer. In 2016 Prieto published the critically acclaimed drumming instructional book, A World of Rhythmic Possibilities: Drumming Lessons and Reflections on Rhythms.

Jazz at Princeton University under the direction of Rudresh Mahanthappa serves to promote this uniquely American music as a contemporary and relevant art form.  Our goals are to convey the vast musical and social history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and emphasize the development of individual expression and creativity. Offerings of this program include academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, private study, and independent projects. They also have the opportunity to participate in academic courses from the music department curriculum that encourage the study of the historical, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom.

Hailed by Pitchfork as “jaw-dropping… one of the finest saxophonists going,” alto saxophonist, composer and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century. He has over a dozen albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Bird Calls, which topped many critics’ best-of-year lists for 2015 and was hailed by PopMatters as “complex, rhythmically vital, free in spirit while still criss-crossed with mutating structures.” Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for seven of eight years running in DownBeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2018), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2015-2017 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Polls and was named the Village Voice’s “Best Jazz Artist” in 2015. He has also received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, among other honors, and is currently the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University.

Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black WaterMother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa’s inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.

Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents’ native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio’s sonic ambitions.

Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar- driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, “I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight,” which can be heard on the quartet’s 2015 double- disc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1

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