Buddy Rich: In a Zone of His Own
Unlike the New York Jazz Museum, the Wilbur Ware Institute, also founded in the 1970s, continues its mission to preserve the history of jazz as seen and experienced by the innovators and master musicians who create, perform and perpetuate the art form. This is done by creating performance opportunities, seminars, workshops and other educational opportunities by and enlisting the musicians as primary sources while focusing on young people and using seasoned members of the community. The Institute is named for bassist Wilbur Ware who died in September 1979. Among the organizers were Ware's widow, Gloria, and Clifford and Sandra Jordan. It also seeks to ensure appropriate compensation and benefits for musicians, to establish a mentoring program that includes pairing master musicians with novices, and to seek greater national and international exposure within mainstream and popular culture for these music masters, using whatever technology and techniques prove effective, with an over-all goal of perpetuating the music that has been called "America's National Treasure." For information, phone / fax 347-523-9886 or go online to www.wilburwareinstitute.org
Savannah Music Festival to Welcome High School Bands
Swing Central Jazz has chosen a dozen high school jazz ensembles to take part in the 2013 Savannah (GA) Music Festival. Participating students will interact with professional jazz musicians, perform in showcases on Savannah's River Street, play in competition rounds, and attend a variety of SMF performances during their three-day stay, from March 27-29. The bands will be competing for $13,000 in cash awards. The bands are:
Agoura (CA) High School Studio Jazz Band; Agoura High School Jazz Band "A"; Charleston (SC) School of the Arts Jazz; Camden (NJ) Creative Arts Jazz Band; Denver (CO) School of the Arts Jazz Workshop Orchestra; Downers Grove South (IL) High School Jazz Ensemble; Grissom (AL) High School "A" Jazz Band; Lower Moreland (PA) High School Jazz Ensemble; Overton (TN) High School Blue Jazz Ensemble; Savannah (GA) Arts Academy Jazz Band; Tarpon Springs (FL) High School Jazz Ensemble; Lovett (GA) High School Jazz Ensemble.
The 2013 Swing Central Jazz clinicians are Jim Ketch, Marcus Printup, Terell Stafford: trumpet; Bill Kennedy, Stephen Riley, Jack Wilkins: saxophone; Wycliffe Gordon, Ron Westray, Paul McKee: trombone; Dave Stryker: guitar; Jason Marsalis, Leon Anderson, Herlin Riley: drums; Carlos Henriquez, Rodney Jordan, Rodney Whitaker: bass; Marcus Roberts, Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, Bill Peterson: piano. The SMF, which takes place March 21-April 6, is in its twenty-fourth year.
January 10, 2013, was a dark day for Swiss jazz, as that country lost not one but two of its leading lights: entrepreneur Claude Nobs and bandleader George Gruntz. Nobs, age seventy-six, was founder and manager of the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. He had been in a coma for several weeks following a skiing accident in the mountains overlooking Montreux. He founded the Montreux festival in 1967 with pianist Geo Vournard and journalist Rene Langel, with support from the then-president of Atlantic Records, Nesuhi Ertegun. Gruntz, a pianist, composer and arranger, led the popular George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, known for its free-spirited and stylistically unorthodox approach to big-band music, from 1972-2012. Like Duke Ellington, Gruntz wrote with specific members of the orchestra in mind, and they included over the years trumpeters Jon Faddis and Woody Shaw, saxophonists Lee Konitz and Joe Henderson, drummers Elvin Jones and Paul Motian, and many other stars from Europe and the States. Gruntz was eighty years old.