Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard Jazz Ensemble performs at Bard College on Thursday, April 10. The concert, presented by the Music Program, is free and open to the public and begins at 8:00 p.m. in Bard Hall. A talk about jazz and the jazz scene by Michael Dessen, a noted jazz musician, teacher, and scholar, immediately precedes the concert.

The Bard Jazz Ensemble will perform three works by James Jabbo Ware: "A Talk with the Past," "Don't Forget What It Is," and "Commercialized Pimp . . . Making Money"; and one by Oliver Lake. "Jabbo's 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 assistant professor of music at Bard. "And he knows how to get players to develop self-expression. We're lucky to have Ware lead the ensemble in a performance of one of his compositions."

The Bard Jazz Ensemble is composed of Bard students and guest artists including alto saxophonists Emily Grumbling, Leah Bertuccie, Sarah Porter, and Matthew Wing; tenor saxophonists Dave Lang and Geoffrey Wilson; baritone saxophonist Bill Ylitalo; trombonists Tucker Andrews, Travis Brecher, and Michael Morini; trumpet players Samantha Boshnack, Edward Van Gundy, and Amber Naite; bassist Christine Neumann; guitarists Matthew Hopkins, Joseph Fox-Boyd, and Jack Dwyer; drummer Luke Massouh; pianist John Esposito; and vocalist Farihah Zaman.

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

About the Artists:

"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," writes Steve Israel, music critic for the Times Herald Record.

Michael Dessen is completing a Ph.D. in music at the University of California. His dissertation focuses on some of the new directions in experimental and improvised music that emerged during the 1980s in the United States. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; the University of California, San Diego; and Hampshire College. As a trombonist, Dessen has performed with Yusef Lateef, George Lewis, Anthony Davis, and Glenn Spearman, among others. He holds a performance degree from the Eastman School of Music and a jazz composition degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His compositions are featured on recordings by the Cosmologic quartet, with which he performs. He is a featured soloist on Yusef Lateef's Fantasia for Flute and appears on Anthony Davis's opera, Tania. In addition, he has performed interactive and improvisatory computer music with Shahrokh Yadegari, Rand Steiger, Vibeke Sorensen, and Miller Puckette, and at the 2001 International Computer Music Conference in Havana, Cuba.

James Jabbo Ware, the founder, composer, and arranger of the Me, We, and Them Orchestra, is 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, influenced by 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 grants from Meet the Composer. 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.

# # #


back to top

This event was last updated on 04-01-2003