Harvard Alums Return to Celebrate 30 Years of Making Music
Harvard University will celebrate thirty years of educational programming
in jazzinteraction between students and masters, the study of diverse
literature, and commissions of world premieresApril 2-7, 2002. Tenor
saxophonists Don Braden 85 and Anton Schwartz 89, and Thelonious
Monk Award winner vocalist Sara Lazarus 84 will be among the Harvard
Jazz Band Alumni/ae to appear with the Harvard Jazz Bands. An April 6th
concert will showcase a broad range of world premieres commissioned by
the Office for the Arts over the years, from Carla Bleys first work
for big band format "Ups and Downs", to Buck Claytons
"Harvard Swingster". The residency is presented by the Office
for the Arts at Harvard and the Harvard University Jazz Band, and is funded
in part by the Richard J. Scheuer, Jr. Fund.
On Wednesday, April 3, 2002 at 7:30 p.m. Learning From Performers will
present an informal panel on "art after college" with guest
artists and band respondents. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Reid
Tonkens Room, Winthrop House, and is free and open to the public. A jam
session will follow.
The alumni/ae guest artists will appear with the Jazz Band at a celebratory
concert in Sanders Theatre on Saturday April 6, 2002 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets
are on sale at the Harvard
Box Office, $12, general; $8 students and seniors, call 617-496-2222
(TTY) 617 495-1642. Sanders Theatre is accessible. Free parking is available
at Broadway Garage, corner of Broadway and Felton Streets.
The Jazz Program at Harvard was initiated in 1971 by Director of Bands
Tom Everett and has been
developed with the Office for the Arts since 1976. In 2001 Nathaniel Dickey
joined Everett as Assistant Director. The goal of the program is threefold:
to provide an opportunity for Harvard undergraduates to work directly
with masters of the art form, to honor artists who have made a significant
contribution to American music (often including the commission of new
work), and increase public awareness of the artists music. "There
is no substitution for intense involvement in an artist's creation and
the insights provided directly by the artist," says Everett. Guest
musiciansoften isolated from the liberal arts environmentalso
benefit from this symbiotic educational experience.
A remarkable array of significant artists has played with the Harvard
Jazz Band over the years, In 1980, Bill Evans, with John Lewis, performed
one of Evans last concerts for the premiere of Lewis' "The
Gates of Harvard." Carla Bley, who now arranges primarily for big
bands, had her first commission in 1986 for that format at Harvard. Soon
after a 1990 Harvard residency brought attention to trumpeter/arranger
Buck Clayton, he received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters
Trombonist/composer J.J. Johnson's last works for brass were commissioned
and premiered at Harvard in 1996. A later recording received two Grammy
nominations. New works have also been commissioned from Steve Lacy, Andrew
Hill, Steve Swallow, Benny Carter, and Anthony Braxton, among others.
In April 2000, the Boston Globe wrote "Harvard University director
of bands Tom Everett has been staging annual repertory events with guests
artists for nearly three decades that often put the pros to shame in terms
of conceptual ingenuity".
Over the years, the Band has focused on the literature of Duke Ellington
and complete retrospective concerts of the music of Charles Mingus, Charlie
Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Benny Carter, Buck Clayton, Clark
Terry, and J.J. Johnson. Other literature has ranged from the classic
arrangements of Count Basie and Fletcher Henderson to the modern jazz
of Gil Evans and Charles Mingus, and the jazz-rock of Michael Gibbs and
Harvard Jazz Band alumni/ae have remained active in jazz either by an
occupation in music, through their children becoming involved, or by simply
remaining jazz fans and supporters. According to Tom Everett, "Thirty
ago there wasn't a course on jazz at Harvard; today the Afro-American
Studies department has the Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African-American
Music. We have more students today seeking improvisational involvement
than we have opportunities. We're going through a stage where the music
is crossing into different disciplinesdance, visual artsit
is less isolated on campus than it was 30 years ago."
Visiting Artists in Jazz
Born in Cincinnati in 1963 and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, saxophonist
Don Braden has been described by Roy Haynes as "
the new young lions of the tenor saxophone". At Harvard Braden studied
engineering, played in the Harvard Jazz Band, and worked with the undergraduate
community group Citystep. "Both as an undergraduate and as a professional
jazz performer," Band Director Everett says, "Don Braden has
retained an open mind to all influences and a genuine enthusiasm for the
music". In 1984 Braden moved to New York City where his first gigs
were with the Harper Brothers Quintet, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and
vocalist Betty Carter. After touring with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet,
he recorded with Betty Carter on her Grammy Award-winning album, "Look
What I Got" (Verve-Polygram). Following world tours with Tony Williams,
Roy Haynes, and others, Braden was a member of the Freddie Hubbard Quintet
from 1989 to 1991. Since then he has worked with Tom Harrell, the Mingus
Big Band, Kenny Barron, J.J. Johnson, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, the
Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and others, as well as with his own groups. Peter
Watrous of the New York Times has described Don Bradens playing
brilliant and assured
"Brighter Days" is Bradens eleventh CD as a leader and
features his working quartet: Xavier Davis on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass,
and Cecil Brooks III on drums. As a sideman he has recorded on nearly
fifty CDs. His compositional work includes a number of independent films
and four years as composer for the CBS sitcom "Cosby". He also
co-wrote the theme for Cosbys current CBS cartoon series, "Little
Bill". Bradens first big band composition/arrangement, "Landing
Zone", commissioned by the Office for the Arts, will be featured
at the Harvard concert. Braden serves as Music Director/teacher for Litchfield
Performing Arts and the New Jersey Performing Arts Centers Jazz
for Teens Program and also teaches at William Paterson University. He
is the recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation (in conjunction with Chamber
Music America) Jazz Composition grant for a new work for his Octet. His
web site is at www.DonBraden.com.
While studying English literature at Harvard, Sara Lazarus 84
played tenor saxophone in the Sunday Band and sang with the Monday Band.
" When I first met Sara as a freshman, I knew she was heading somewhere
special when she proudly acknowledged that she and Clifford Brown shared
the same hometown, Wilmington, Delaware", recalls Tom Everett. She
met Harvard Artist in Residence Illinois Jacquet who encouraged her to
focus exclusively on music and invited her to sing with his big band.
In her senior year, Lazarus won Downbeats award for "Best Jazz
Vocal SoloistCollege Division". After graduation Lazarus moved
to Paris and began working in club and concert settings. She formed a
quartet, drawing inspiration from Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, and Sarah
Vaughan. In 1994 a panel that included Shirley Horn, Dianne reeves, and
Jon Hendricks awarded Lazarus first prize at the Thelonious Monk International
Jazz Vocals Competition. "Miss Lazarus can swing and she enunciates
well, " wrote Peter Watrous in the New York Times, "and she
can improvise. She scatted a chorus of agile bebop ideas. Her voice was
warm and supple." Lazarus returned to Paris to be with her husband
and young sons, and continues to work with her trio throughout France.
She has performed at the Marciac Jazz Festival and Paris JVC Jazz Festival,
and on French television and radio. In 2000 she was joined bassist/arranger
Patrice Caratinis eleven-piece ensemble. The group recorded a live
album and will tour with the Orchestre National dIle de France.
Her first album for the Candid label is in preparation.
Anton Schwartz 89, who held the Harvard Bands first
tenor sax chair after Don Braden85 and before Joshua Redman90,
studied with Warne Marsh during college. In describing Schwartz as a young
artist Band Director Tom Everett says, "Antons original compositions
and unique tone are distinctive among todays tenors".
Born in 1967 in New York City, Schwartz earned a BA from Harvard in Mathematics
and Philosophy. He then moved to the San Francisco area to obtain a masters
from Stanford University. In 2000, he released "The Slow Lane"
(AntonJazz AJ-1002), following his critically acclaimed debut album "When
Music Calls". Both recordings feature his San Francisco-based ensemble
of pianist Paul Nagel, bassist John Shifflett, and drummer Jason Lewis.
Downbeats Dan Ouellette described "When Music Calls" as
a "collection of captivating melodies
that swing with graceful
elegance, effervesce with spirited vigor, and romance with soulful emotion"."
Since 1994 Schwartz has taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. His saxophone
playing was heard on the sound track of Mirimaxs 1996 "Albino
Alligator," starring Matt Dillon and Faye Dunaway. Master saxophonist
Illinois Jacquet said of Schwartz " you play the tenor sax like its
meant to be played". His website is www.antonjazz.com.
The Office for the Arts maintains a non-circulating video and audiotape
archive of visiting artists in jazz, which is available to students and
scholars through the Morse Music Collection, Hilles Library, Radcliffe
Quadrangle. For more information, call (617) 495-8676