Friday, August 24, 2007

The Jazzschool Fall 2007 Classes and Programs

Ten years ago, pianist/ composer/educator Susan Muscarella envisioned a school that would teach jazz performance to beginners as well as aspiring professionals from all walks of life. The Jazzschool began operations in Berkeley in September 1997, and as its 10th fall quarter comes into view next month, Muscarella, the school's Founder and Executive Director, is exhilarated about the road taken and energized about the ones ahead.

"For me," says Muscarella, "this anniversary year brings a renewed affirmation of our mission to preserve the past, celebrate the present, and promote the future of this uniquely African-American art form, jazz, and the many styles of music from throughout the world that are so beautifully intertwined with it."

The Fall 2007 Jazzschool catalog, which details the exceptional range of classes, workshops, and programs available to students of all levels for the new quarter running from September 24 through December 16, speaks volumes for the accomplishments and imagination of Muscarella and her faculty. "The Jazzschool remains dedicated to creating 'tailor-made,' tangible opportunities for its students to refine their craft, express themselves artistically, and simply enhance their everyday lives in the classroom and on the stage," says Muscarella.

Youth Programs & Scholarships

The Jazzschool's collaboration with Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA) continues to grow this fall. BYA Director Nikki Williams and her staff are working with the Jazzschool to offer once again Alan Hall's unique class "Rhythm Rocks on the Road" on a weekly basis throughout the 2007-08 academic year at BYA's west Berkeley facility. BYA student and pianist Dessirree Harvey, recipient of this year's Dick Conte Jazz Piano Scholarship, has started private instruction in jazz piano.

Two new youth scholarship funds have been created: the Black American Youth Scholarship Fund, established by San Francisco jazz and blues vocalist/recording artist/clubowner Kim Nalley, to forward the music education of deserving Black American youth; and the Marian McPartland Scholarship Fund for Women in Jazz, established in honor of internationally renowned jazz pianist McPartland who has inspired countless young women to follow and realize their musical dreams.

The new Committee on Diversity and Outreach will help provide financial assistance to enhance, contribute to, and expand the school's outreach efforts to underrepresented communities in general and the African-American community in particular.

Vocal Frontiers

Vocal department chair Laurie Antonioli has designed a new series called "Vocal Frontiers" which will debut this fall with three very different singers in both concert and workshop settings: Theo Bleckmann, Inga Swearingen, and Rhiannon (with Joey Blake and David Worm). "These vocalists are pushing the boundaries of jazz singing through improvisation and spontaneous creativity," says Antonioli. "An impressive group!"

In addition, there are a number of not-to-be-missed vocal concerts planned for the fall, by Ed Reed, Faye Carol, Margie Baker, and Greg Murai.

On Sunday 9/16, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, the Jazzschool will host a Vocal Open House at the school at which vocal teachers will make presentations and students will be on hand with questions and to sign up for classes. Among the new class offerings this fall are: Kim Nalley, The History of Vocal Jazz; Nicolas Bearde, The Soulful Side of Jazz; Juliet Green, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Ensemble class and Vocal Jazz Toolbox; Eastern European Songs and Vocal Techniques, taught by various members of the Kitka vocal ensemble; Lyric Writing, Laurie Antonioli; Beginning Vocal Jazz Performance, Dr. Margie Baker; Two Levels of Latin Standards, Maria Marquez; and Indian Singing Level One, Ann Dyer.

Fall Program Highlights

New instrumental workshops include: a lecture/demonstration by Cuarteto Latinoamericano de Saxofones, in collaboration with La Peña Cultural Center; a master class offered by guitarist Bobby Broom; "From Africa to Afrocentric Innovations Some Call 'Jazz,'" a workshop taught by noted UCSC musicologist, composer, and performer Karlton Hester; sarod master Rajeev Taranath giving a master class on Indian Classical Instrumental Music; "Freeing the Improviser Within," taught by Stephen Swell; workshops on Jaco Pastorius and Miles Davis by Justin Hellman; Dayna Stephens presenting a composition and arranging workshop; and more!

A PDF version of the Jazzschool Fall 2007 catalog may be downloaded from the school's web site ( For a hard copy, please write

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