Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The Bard Jazz Ensemble will perform works by noted composer James Jabbo Ware on Wednesday, March 20, at Bard College. The concert, presented by the Music Program, is free and open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Bard Hall.

"I chose Jabbo for this project, because his compositions reflect many forms of African American music. He's also one of the few composers today who uses a big band," says Thurman Barker, director of the Jazz Ensemble and associate professor of music at Bard. "Most importantly, he knows how to get players to develop self-expression, and I feel having him direct the Jazz Ensemble is a great experience for the students who are learning to play jazz."

The Bard Jazz Ensemble is composed of Bard students and guest artists who will perform this concert under the direction of Ware. Students include Samantha Boshnack, Patrick Harris, Edward van Gundy, and Gregory Smith on trumpets; Emily Grumbling, Max Lefer, and Sarah Porter on alto saxes; Bill Ylitalo on baritone sax; David Lang on tenor sax; Joe Bacci, Christopher Delamater, and Michael Morini on trombones; Matt Hopkins on guitar; Colin Harte on piano; Christine Neumann and Kyle Jasper on basses; Luke Massouh on drums; and vocalist Farihah Zaman. Erica Lindsay appears as a special guest on tenor saxophone.

James Jabbo Ware, the founder, composer, and arranger of the Me, We, and Them Orchestra, is also a noted saxophonist who has performed and collaborated with Slide Hampton, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Roscoe Mitchell, and John Stubblefield, among others. Brought up in the South with the influence of the church and the black community, Ware creates music around his life experiences. He says that his vision of the family as an ongoing historical unit to which all belong is symbolized by his concept of the big band as a family. Ware is the recipient of grants from the Buckner Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Meet the Composer Grants. His recordings include Heritage Is and Today's Move with the Me, We, and Them Orchestra, and Attica Blues, Attica Blues II, and Cry of My People with Archie Shepp.

"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 both raw muscle and fierce intelligence." Barker began his professional career at the age of 16, playing for blues singer Mighty Joe Young. Classically trained at the American Conservatory of Music, he saw his reputation as a drummer grow 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 has 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. His composition "Expansions" was premiered by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. He developed the Jazz Program at Bard College after joining the faculty in 1993. Barker has his own record label, Uptee, on which he recorded his album Voyage in 1986, and The Way I Hear It in 1998. His newest release on Uptee, Time Factor, is "a gem that reveals the depth of his talent . . . he makes music that's challenging and compelling," according to Steve Israel, music critic for the Times Herald Record.

For further information about the concert, call the Music Program at 845-758-7250.

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This event was last updated on 03-05-2002