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Press Release

Bard's Music Program Celebrates Jazz Great Thurman Barker's 60th Birthday with a Concert on April 9

Emily Darrow


ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Wednesday, April 9, the Bard College Music Program presents Thurman Barker’s 60th Birthday Concert. Free and open to the public, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Olin Hall. No reservations are necessary; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Barker, associate professor of music at Bard since 1993, is a noted jazz musician who has recorded with Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, and Sam Rivers, among others. The concert, features the trio Trinity (Barker on drums and percussion, Lonnie Gasperini on organ, Sam Morrison on saxophone) and the Bard College Big Band, performing Barker’s music. The Big Band, directed by Barker, is celebrating the release of its first CD.

“This concert is very special to me,” says Barker, “not only because it celebrates a lifetime of creating music, but because it affords an opportunity for me to work with artists whom I have known since the earliest days of my career, and for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration.”

About the Performers:

“Thurman Barker proved he’s become one of the most astonishing, inventive drummers in jazz,” writes the Boston Herald. “He’s that rare combination: a drummer of raw muscle and fierce intelligence.” Barker began his professional career at the age of 16, playing for blues singer Mighty Joe Young. Barker was classically trained at the American Conservatory of Music, his reputation as a drummer grew quickly. He is a charter member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a jazz cooperative formed in 1965 in Chicago to teach music to inner-city youths. He has performed worldwide and recorded with Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Myers, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Sam Rivers, Billy Bang, Joseph Jarman, and Henry Threadgill. The World Music Institute commissioned two of his works: Dialogue was premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in 1994, and Expansions was premiered by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. He developed the jazz curriculum at Bard College after joining the faculty in 1993. Barker has his own record label, Uptee, on which he recorded his albums Voyage, The Way I Hear It and Time Factor, which is “a gem that reveals the depth of his talent . . . music that’s challenging and compelling,” according to Steve Israel, music critic for the Times Herald Record.

A soulful jazz organist from the state of Rhode Island, Lonnie Gasperini recently moved to New York City, where he continues to take his passion for organ jazz to another level. Part of his history includes opening for or performing with artists including Lou Rawls, Joe Lovano, Percy Sledge, George Benson, Melvin Sparks, Al Street, Wynton Marsalis, and Dianne Reeves, among others. In the late 1960s Gasperini toured with the group Cannabis; he is featured on their recently reissued CD A Joint Effort, which includes his tune “Only Rock in Stock.” Gasperini’s CD Turn Up the Gas is on Keyclick Records. Other recordings as a sideman, with guitarist Masami Ishikawa and drummer Fukushi Tainaka; with the Scott Gordley Trio in Off the Cuff; and with drummer Mark Texiera on Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. Gasperini’s original funk tune, “Witch Doctor,” is on Dr. Lonnie Smith’s CD Jungle Soul. Recent performances in New York include at the Knitting Factory, Garage, Smoke, Lenox Lounge, Bluenote, and Bethel Woods Jazz Festival.
Sam Morrison is a jazz saxophone and flute player/composer whose credits include playing with the Miles Davis Band. His performance with Davis at the Newport Jazz Festival, Avery Fisher Hall, was favorably reviewed in the New York Times, and the concert recording was released on the Jazz Masters CD label. Morrison’s record Dune from that period, on Inner City/East Wind records, won critical acclaim in jazz circles as a ground breaking fusion album. His next album, Natural Layers (Chiaroscuro Records) utilized the talents of the extraordinary drummer/producer Narada Michael Walden and incorporated world rhythms in a tapestry of funk, fusion, and jazz. Morrison has played with many legendary jazz greats, such as Gil Evans, Al Foster, Buster Williams, Woody Shaw, and Billy Hart. Morrison toured Europe playing the large jazz festivals. He is a member of The Children on the Corner band and the electric Miles reunion band featuring bass legend Michael Henderson and jazz tabla pioneer Badal Roy. Morrison studied music at Columbia University, where he hung out regularly at jazz clubs like Slugs and the Village Vanguard and at Fillmore East, where he heard the legendary rock bands. These influences can all be heard in his current release, Miles Away, on Brown Bag Records.


The Music Program Spring 2008 Concert Series continues on Saturday, April 19, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, with “Music Alive,” a joint program with the Bard College Conservatory of Music, coordinated by Blair McMillen. Featured on the program are Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and John Cage’s Credo in Us, for piano, tin cans, tom-toms, and radio.


Saturday, May 3, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, the Music Program presents the Hudson Valley Gamelan in a program of Balinese music and dance. Suggested donation $10.00.


Tuesday, May 6, at 8:00 p.m., in the Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, the Bard College Chamber Singers and Symphonic Chorus, under the direction of James Bagwell, director of the Music Program, perform Bard professor Kyle Gann’s Transcendental Sonnets as well as works by Bard student composers. Admission $5.00; free for children 12 and under.


The Bard Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, under the direction of Marina Rosenfeld, presents its spring concert on Wednesday, May 7, at 8:00 p.m. in Blum Hall.

The Bard College Big Band, directed by Thurman Barker, is featured in concert on Monday, May 12, at 7:00 p.m., in room 211 in Blum Hall.

The Da Capo Chamber Players, ensemble in residence at the Bard Conservatory, presents an evening of new orchestrations and compositions by Bard students, coordinated by Blair McMillen, on Wednesday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m., in Olin Hall.

The spring concerts conclude on Friday, May 16, at 8:00 p.m., in Olin Hall, with the Bard Orchestra, directed by Nathan Madsen, featuring the winner of the Music Program’s annual concerto competition.

For information on these events, call 845-758-7250 or visit

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To download high-resolution press images, please click on thumbnails below.
Thurman Barker Blair McMillen Hudson Valley Gamelan

James Bagwell, music director

Bard College Chamber Singers and Symphonic Chorus

Da Capo Chamber Players

Nathan Madsen, music director

Bard Orchestra


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This event was last updated on 04-10-2008