On Friday, October 26, Manhattan School of Music kicks off its year-long “Harlem Nights” Concert Series with “Harlem Hothouses,” ..…a concert tribute to The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce by MSM’s Grammy®-nominated Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, led by the renowned percussionist Bobby Sanabria, and featuring the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award Honoree, the legendary Cuban-born conguero, Candido. The Concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s Borden Auditorium, 120 Claremont Avenue at West 122nd Street near Broadway. A minimal ticket price is required for admission.
This season Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Program showcases two exciting events – the 30th Anniversary of Jazz at MSM and “Harlem Nights,” a year-long concert series celebrating Harlem. “Harlem Nights” has been designed to capture the musical spirit and heart of our Harlem community by spotlighting the music, musicians and performance venues that have called Harlem “home,” and have helped define Harlem as a center of the musical and cultural universe.
Manhattan School of Music and the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce have enjoyed more than a decade of collaborations on HARLEM WEEK and on the Harlem Jazz and Music Festival. In 2001, a ‘Master of Music’ concert at the school featured performers Joe Cuba and Gloria Lynne and attracted legendary visitors such as Ornette Coleman, Lionel Hampton, then-State Senator David Paterson, and Isaac Hayes among other notables. Manhattan School of Music students have performed at GHCC events such as “A Great Day in Harlem” at US Grant National Memorial Park, the “Harlem Miles” portion of the ING-New York City Marathon, and at free outdoor concerts at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building. For its 90th anniversary year, Manhattan School of Music was honored by the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce at the 2007 HARLEM WEEK Gracie Mansion kick-off.
In the 1940s and ‘50s, when jazz innovators such as drummer Max Roach, and John Lewis, pianist/composer, were already creative forces in bop and post-bop jazz, they were students at Manhattan School of Music. Lewis (1920-2001) began his studies at MSM in the mid-‘40s, when he was pianist for Dizzy Gillespie’s forward-thinking big band, and also a key member of the Miles Davis Nonet , which created the music for the now-classic Birth of the Cool recordings. By the time Roach (1924-2007) enrolled as a student, he had recorded with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and started working with Clifford Brown, in the legendary Max Roach Clifford Brown Quartet.
In those years, long before MSM had a jazz department, or the internationally recognized Jazz Arts Program, the school had the resources, faculty and atmosphere conducive to educating “the complete musician.” Ron Carter aspired to be a classical bassist when he attended MSM in the early 1960s, a goal that was still unrealistic for black classical musicians in the 1960s and ‘70s. Instead, while pursuing his degree, his jazz career blossomed quickly—he became one of the most sought after bassists in the studios and as a jazz artist.
Trumpet player Joe Wilder completed his degree in classical trumpet in 1963, when he was a seasoned big band veteran, an A-list studio player and a highly sought jazz musician. Donald Byrd also attended the school then as a totally accomplished musician. Among others who studied at MSM before 1982, the year a jazz program was first offered, included Dave Grusin, Larry Rosen, Hugh Masekela and Yusef Lateef, to name just a few.
In the fall of 1982, Manhattan School of Music became one of the first conservatories in the United States to acknowledge the prime importance of jazz as an art form by creating a jazz/commercial music department. Courses were offered toward a master of music degree in 1984, and a bachelor of music degree was added in 1987.
Justin DiCioccio became the department’s Chair in the fall of 1999 and under his leadership MSM’s jazz curriculum was completely restructured, including the creation of a new jazz DMA program in 2002, and most recently the Jazz Institute at Manhattan School of Music. He put into action his own approach to educate the “Complete Artist Musician” – as a performer, composer/arranger and teacher — by developing partnerships with public schools, community organizations, cultural institutions, and the music industry. He initiated the addition of a jazz component to the Precollege Division, making MSM one of the few institutions in the country to offer jazz programs at all levels. Mr. DiCioccio also directs international jazz programs, in partnership with Manhattan School of Music.
The awards and accomplishments of the MSM Jazz Community–alumni, former and current faculty and students, as well as many long-standing colleagues — boasts numerous Grammy® Awards as well as Grammy® nominees, new compositions, commissions, and ensembles of all description.
• NEA Jazz Masters include Max Roach, John Lewis, Joe Wilder, Yusef Lateef, Dave Liebman, MSM Artist in Residence, and the legendary Candido Camero, who at 91 is a regular soloist with the Grammy-nominated MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra directed by Bobby Sanabria
• MacArthur Fellows include Max Roach, Miguel Zenon and Jason Moran
• The 2012 60th Anniversary DOWNBEAT Critics Poll Winners included Vijay Iyer for Jazz Artist, Piano, and Jazz Album Accelerando; Jazz Group — Vijay Iyer Trio; Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone
• Rising Stars: Jamie Baum, flute; Linda Oh, bass; and Dan Weiss, percussion
• 2012 Jazz Journalists Awards named Ambrose Akinmusire, Trumpeter of the Year; Wycliffe Gordon, Trombonist of the Year; and Vijay Iyer, Pianist of the Year
• Monk Institute Winners: 2008 Saxophone — Jon Irabagon, 1st place; 2007 Trumpet — Ambrose Akinmusire, 1st place; Jean Caze, 2nd place; and Michael Rodriguez, 3rd place; 2006 Piano — Gerald Clayton, 2nd place, and Aaron Parks,3rd place; 2005 Guitar — Miles Okazaki, 2nd place; 1999 Piano — Eric Lewis, 1st place; Jacob Sacks, 2nd place; 1998 Voice — Jane Monheit, 2nd place; 1996 Saxophone — Jon Gordon 1st place; 1990 Trumpet — Ryan Kisor, 1st place; 1998 Piano — Ted Rosenthal, 1st place
• Among other notable MSM jazz graduates are saxophonists Chris Byars, Bob Mintzer, Chris Potter, and Steve Slagle; trombonists Luis Bonilla and Steve Turre; bassists John Benitez, and Tom Morgan; Stefon Harris, vibes; drummers Obed Calvaire, John Riley, Kim Thompson, and Dan Weiss; pianists Fabian Almazon, Garry Dial, and Jason Moran; vocalists Theo Bleckmann, Hilary Kole, and Charenee Wade as well as the composers/arrangers Mike Abene, David Berger, Dick Katz, Rich DeRosa, Don Sebesky, and Richard Sussman.
A minimal ticket price is required for selected jazz concerts. To see which jazz concerts are ticketed, please visit the MSM website at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MSM Concert Office at 917 493 4428. The MSM Concert Office is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and one hour before curtain for ticketed events. Manhattan School of Music is located on the northwest corner of 122nd Street and Broadway, and is easily accessible by public transportation.
For more information about Manhattan School of Music and a full roster of performances, including the year-long “Harlem Nights” concert series, please visit http://www.msmnyc.edu.
Photo caption: The legendary conguero Candido (now 91-years-young) performs with The Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra now in its twelfth year under the direction of internationally renowned percussionist Bobby Sanabria. The Orchestra kicks off a year-long “Harlem Nights” Concert Series with “Harlem Hothouses,” a tribute to The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, on Friday, October 26.
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