Blending influences and traditions to create new legacies...
The Faculty Jazz Group features both the full-time and adjunct jazz faculty at West Chester University. Special guests include instructors from the Summer Jazz Camp. Everyone contributes a chart to this great once a year concert. This year's group features:
Internationally renowned vibraphonist Tony Miceli has been performing steadily on the jazz scene since 1980. In All About Jazz, Vic Schermer describes him as ... "a vibraphonist of astonishing virtuosity, musical resilience, and inventiveness. His vibes playing is nothing short of phenomenal."
Tony plays with the highest caliber musicians. As a group leader, sideman, and recording artist, he has performed with numerous top musicians including David Liebman, Jimmy Bruno, Ken Peplowski, John Blake, Diane Monroe, John Swana, Joe Magnarelli, Steve Slagle, Larry McKenna, and many others. He is the proud originator of The Jōst Project, a band of jazz artists who reach new generations for jazz by playing the music they recognize -- classic rock. He is also proud to play with the Irish musicians who bring back the music of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Playing vibe improvisations with singer Joanna Pascal, they performed in a concert called "Mozart Reloaded" at Philadelphia’s prestigious Kimmel Center, Joanna Pascal’s rendition of a Mozart opera aria. With crossover violinist, Diane Monroe, he is now working on a project using jazz, folk, and classical influences.
He is a performer, educator and innovator, not just as a musician, but also as the creator of www.vibesworkshop.com, his vibraphone online school of music with over 3,000 members. Traveling around the world, he has recently performed in such countries as Spain, Ireland, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Belgium and Patagonia. Based in Philadelphia, he performs and leads vibraphone workshops throughout the USA including Colorado, North Dakota, Delaware, Idaho, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Diane Monroe is more than simply a fine performer. She is a violinist whose versatility and expressive artistry consistently bring audiences to their feet. Her visibility as a jazz artist began with her long-standing membership as first violinist of the Uptown String Quartet (with Lesa Terry, Maxine Roach and Eileen Folson) and the Max Roach Double Quartet. With those ensembles, she performed with Cecil Bridgewater, Trumpeter; Odean Pope, Saxophonist and Tyrone Brown, bassist, and has recorded on the Soul Note, Philips/Polygram, and Mesa/Bluemoon labels.
In addition to her contributions as a side-person, Monroe has been leading her own ensembles for more than 15 years. The Diane Monroe Quartet appeared on the Kennedy Center’s Women in Jazz Festival in 2012 and has performed at many other venues. She has developed a program for her sextet – "What Is This Thing Called Freedom" – that features vocalist Paul Jost and her longtime musical partner, vibraphonist Tony Miceli. She and Miceli released their debut recording, Alone Together (Dreambox Media), in August 2014. All About Jazz sums up the recording: "Monroe and Miceli are adept and resilient musicians of the highest caliber, so they are able to weave their combined sounds into many expressive variations that create "tone poems" and tell stories."
Monroe is in demand as an educator, panel specialist and leader of jazz improv workshops, rhythm clinics and master classes. The Verbier Festival Switzerland 2000, highlighted her summer as soloist/conductor of the Fiddlefest Jazz String Orchestra. During this festival, Monroe conducted the string orchestra students in a spontaneous collaboration with the violinist Kennedy, in a blues medley. In 2007, Monroe conducted the jazz string section for the Saxophonist James Carter with his quartet, in a presentation at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall entitled, "Gardenia’s for Lady Day." At last season’s ASTA conference, she chaired a panel, "Improvised music in the classroom," which included distinguished composer/pedagogue, David Baker.
Featuring Andy Lalasis (bass) and Bob Shomo (drums).
"I guess it all started the day I was born in 1947", music composer, arranger, and keyboard wizard, Barry Miles. "The doctor was a serious jazz buff and he was playing a Benny Goodman record while he was delivering me. My parents have always been into music and when I was just a toddler, my father who owned a record store, would bring home be-bop records of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie which I would play incessantly on my little 78 phonograph. When I was four I started taking piano lessons from my uncle and when I was seven I started drum lessons. My father noticed my early musical ability and took me to sit in with some great musicians who were passing through town." One of the musicians who heard Barry was Woody Herman and through his association with Woody, Barry performed on some major TV shows and concerts which led to his early membership in the musician's union at age nine. In his pre-teen years, he got the opportunity to perform with some of the greatest jazz legends including Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Roy Eldridge, Buck Clayton, Coleman Hawkins, and John Coltrane. "I remember playing a concert in Newark, N.J. with then 19 year old Wayne Shorter and in a darkened backstage area I heard a gruff voice behind me say 'you sound good, kid'. I turned around and discovered it was Miles Davis!"
In the early 60's, throughout high-school, Barry continued his musical studies: Harmony and Theory with Dika Newlin who herself had been a student of composer, Arnold Schoenberg, classical piano with Olga Von Till, who had studied with Bela Bartok. (Olga, at the time, was also teaching famed jazz pianist, Bill Evans who had gone a decade earlier to the same high-school as Barry). Barry simultaneously was studying jazz piano with acclaimed teacher John Mehegan and during the summers went up to the Eastman School of Music to study arranging and orchestration with Ray Wright, Manny Albam, and Fred Karlin. Along with school and private study, Barry maintained his own band which performed concerts and TV. He played a State Department tour of Europe and recorded and composed all the music for his first album, "Miles of Genius" on Charlie Parker-MGM Records (1961). Many great young musicians were introduced to the public in Barry's group in the 60's, including Woody Shaw, Eddie Gomez, Richard Davis, and Ron Carter.
By the mid-60's, Barry came to the conclusion that "because of the developments in mass communication, people have the opportunity to hear music from all over the world and the result will be the fusion of many diverse elements into various new styles". The outcome of this concept was the recording of Barry's "Syncretic Compositions" (1966) featuring Lew Soloff, Robin Kenyatta, Walter Booker, and Don Perullo, and it's probably the first "fusion" album in an acoustic setting containing elements of jazz, classical, rock, and Eastern music. It was recorded at a live concert at Princeton University which Barry graduated from in 1969. While at Princeton, Barry studied electronic music and experimented with the early versions of the sophisticated synthesizers available today.
Upon graduation, Barry recorded an album for Poppy- RCA Records and through the 70's continued to pioneer his fusion concept by recording seven more albums and touring all over the world with his quartet, Barry Miles & Silverlight. Many more great musicians were introduced through his band and recordings including Al Di Meola, Vic Juris, Pat Martino, John Abercrombie, Eric Kloss, Lew Tabackin, and Barry's brother, Terry Silverlight. In between engagements, Barry did studio work playing on hundreds of pop, R&B, and jazz recordings, including Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train To Georgia". Between 1980 and 1994, Barry was the musical director for Roberta Flack and through Roberta he composed and arranged music for the Richard Pryor movie, "Bustin' Loose" as well as contributing as a producer/composer/arranger/performer on a number of her albums.
In the early '90's, Barry renewed a long association with Al Di Meola by performing with the Al Di Meola Project and collaborating in the production, arranging, and writing of Al's "Kiss My Axe" album. Throughout the '90's to the present, Barry has composed music for several hundred national and international TV and radio commercials along with numerous Miramax movie trailers. More recently, he performed and arranged with Roberta Flack on the "Songs From the Neighborhood" album, which won the 2006 Grammy for best children's album, and her 2012 album of Beatles songs for Sony/ATV. Once again, Barry has collaborated with Al Di Meola on his highly acclaimed albums, "The Consequences of Chaos" (2006), and "In Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody" (2011). Barry is proud to have performed and assisted on Terry Silverlight's albums, "Diamond In The Riff" (2008) and "In Concert" (2011). Barry also produced and arranged the 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammys) "Jazz Album Of The Year", and has just released a solo piano album, "Home And Away – Volume One".
Maria Schneider's music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization." She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence. There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries.
Maria Schneider's music blurs the lines between genres, making her long list of commissioners quite varied, stretching from Jazz at Lincoln Center, to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, to collaborating with David Bowie. She is among a small few to have received GRAMMYS in multiple genres, having received the award in both jazz and classical categories, as well as for her work with David Bowie.
Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with twelve GRAMMY nominations and five GRAMMY awards. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare. Her album, Concert in the Garden (2004) became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales, even more significantly, it blazed the "crowd-funding" trail as ArtistShare’s first release. She’s been awarded many honors by the Jazz Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT and JAZZTIMES Critics and Readers Polls. In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, presented Schneider with an honorary doctorate, and in 2014, ASCAP awarded her their esteemed Concert Music Award.
Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy and in 2014, testified before the US Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about digital rights. She has also appeared in CNN, participated in round-tables for the United States Copyright Office, and has been quoted in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Google, digital rights, and music piracy. Most recently, she and concerned colleagues in New York have launched a widespread campaign on behalf of music-makers, MusicAnswers.org.
Her recent collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted in his single called, "Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)," and brought her a 2016 GRAMMY (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals). Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY for their latest work, The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album).
Fourteen of the finest high school jazz ensembles from around the region will be performing and working with the WCU faculty at this day-long festival. These young musicians demonstrate that the future of jazz is in good hands.