Thursday, June 10, 2010

Introducing: the New Directions Ensemble!

About a year ago, I wrote a proposal to the board members of the Hartford Jazz Society suggesting and outlining the benefits of their establishing a band to publicly represent the organization, and to assist in accomplishing their goals for education and audience generation. This proposal was enthusiastically accepted. The 10-piece group, aptly named the Hartford Jazz Society’s “New Directions Ensemble”, will make its debut performance on Monday, 08/02/2010 at 6PM in Bushnell Park.

The instrumentation of the group will be alto, tenor and bari saxophones, 2 trumpets, French horn, trombone, piano, bass and drums. Although the instrumentation will be fixed, the personnel will be somewhat fluid from gig to gig, and representative of the rich diversity within the Greater Hartford jazz community. The ensemble will feature seasoned, musical professionals sitting side-by-side with up-and-coming young jazz musicians, thereby providing informal mentorship to serious younger players in the Hartford jazz scene.

It is fortuitous that this new initiative coincides with the Hartford Jazz Society’s 50th anniversary celebrations. It sends a strong message that the institution not only honors it’s past, but has an eye to the future.

I will serve as the group’s Composer-In-Residence and saxophonist Kris Allen will be the Artistic Director. Here is the roster for the debut performance, including links to their individual web sites:

Kris Allen - alto saxophone
Jovan Alexander - tenor saxophone
Lummie Spann - bari sax
Josh Evans - trumpet
Larry Gareau - trumpet
Bob Hoyle - French horn
Allie Bosso - trombone
Alex Eckhardt - string bass

Our follow-up performance will take place the following week at Black-eyed Sally’s in Downtown Hartford, from 8 – 11 p.m.

Leading up to these performances I plan to write regular blog postings describing my work and creative process in composing and arranging the music we will be playing. As always, your feedback and comments will be welcomed.

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