Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Rhythm Road


An all-star group of jazz musicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center's The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program comprising Alvin Atkinson on drums, Charlie Porter on trumpet, Ari Roland on double bass, and Eli Yamin on piano, will tour to:

- MALI: Bamako (August 18-24)
- INDIA: Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and New Delhi (August 26-Sept 7)
- CHINA: Chengdu and Guangzhou (Sept 7- 13)

The program, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is designed to foster cultural exchange with audiences worldwide. Tour activities include public concerts, master classes, lecture-recitals, workshops, jam sessions, media outreach, and collaborations with local musicians.

"Cultural diplomacy allows artists and audiences to share in a common experience that reaches beyond differences in culture, religion, language and generations and to connect as people without borders," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Professional and Cultural Exchanges Alina L. Romanowski.

Over the past two years Jazz at Lincoln Center has produced 17 Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad tours visiting 120 cities, in 66 countries, on 5 continents.

"In the historic tradition of such musical alumni as Armstrong, Ellington, and Gillespie, these tours focus on diverse geographic audiences and the dynamic interaction born of music. The emphasis on education as well as performance leads to powerful exchange for our audiences and musicians alike," said Susan John, Director of Touring for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

For more information on The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program, please visit the Jazz at Lincoln Center website at http://jazzlc.pmailus.com/pmailweb/ct?d=DcpVAQCHAAUAAAt3AAFVQg. In addition, you can listen to music and stories about the program for free on Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio at http://jazzlc.pmailus.com/pmailweb/ct?d=DcpVAQCHAAUAAAzFAAFVQg

Alvin Atkinson, Jr. (drums) grew up singing and playing music with his parents, who were the directors of their church's gospel choir. He became hooked on jazz at the young age of eight and has been balancing a career as a performer and an educator for over 15 years. Atkinson has played alongside artists such as Houston Person, James Carter, Cecil Bridgewater, Reggie Workman, Miguel Zenon, Maceo Parker, Luis Perdomo, Steve Turre, Vanessa Rubin, and Wycliffe Gordon. He has also performed at The White House for President George W. Bush and as the house drummer for the Emeril Live television show on the Food Network. Atkinson has toured both domestically and internationally and participated in a U.S. State Department tour of Africa and South America in 2004. He currently teaches Jazz Language and Rhythm Studies at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Middle School Jazz Academy and serves on the audition committee and sophomore jury committee at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City.

Charlie Porter (trumpet) is a New York-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader, and is equally at home playing both jazz and classical music. He has performed and recorded with such notable musicians as Paquito D'Rivera, David Taylor, and Kenny Drew, to name a few. A core member of Kristjan Jarvi's Absolute Ensemble, Porter has toured extensively in Europe and Australia. He earned his undergraduate degree at The Juilliard School and then studied for one year at The Paris Conservatory as a Fulbright Scholar with French master-trumpeter Guy Touvron. Among the many awards to his credit, Porter was the first musician ever to be awarded first prize in the National Trumpet Competition in both the jazz and classical divisions. He was recently commissioned by Chamber Music America and The Doris Duke Foundation to compose a suite for his septet. Porter is currently on scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music in pursuit of a Master's Degree in Jazz Performance, and he performs regularly with various groups in New York City.

Ari Roland (double bass) grew up inside the New York underground bop scene, where performing jazz music is always challenging. Roland began attending sessions with Barry Harris at age 12 and was quickly known as a standout player. He made his way into an inner circle of musicians, regularly playing in the company of saxophonist "C" Sharpe, Frank Hewitt, Jimmy Robinson, Lou Donaldson, Junior Cook, Vernel Fournier and others. After a stint at The Juilliard School, Roland found a home at Smalls jazz club, where he distinguished himself as the artist with the most appearances since the club opened in 1993. Roland also has toured extensively in the former Soviet Republics. Sketches From a Bassist's Album, Roland's recent CD on Smalls Records, has received widespread critical acclaim in both the U.S. and international jazz press.

Eli Yamin (piano) is a jazz pianist, songwriter and composer for film and stage, as well as creator/leader of various ensembles. A Steinway artist, he has toured internationally, recorded numerous CD's and seen his award-winning compositions performed at Carnegie Hall, on PBS television and in countless schools. Yamin is co-founder and Artistic Director of The Jazz Drama Program, a non-profit organization that uses the language of jazz to tell stories relevant to children's lives. He is the Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Middle School Jazz Academy and a producer of jazz and blues programs for CBS Saturday Morning, National Public Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio and WBGO/Jazz 88. From an early age, Yamin built close associations with jazz masters Walter Perkins, Illinois Jacquet, Barry Harris, Perry Robinson and Mercedes Ellington. He also has worked extensively with Wynton Marsalis, Bob Stewart, and David Sanchez, among others. Yamin holds a Master's Degree in Music Education from Lehman College, City University of New York.

U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through international educational and exchange programs. Through its Cultural Programs Division, the Bureau supports a variety of cultural exchanges programs that support U.S. foreign policy, foster America's artistic excellence, and demonstrate America's respect and appreciation for other cultures and traditions. The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program presents selected professional American performers of jazz and urban music on concert tours in countries with limited exposure to live American culture. Further information about Cultural Programs of the U.S. Department of State is available at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/citizens/culture/index.htm.

The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program is made possible with underwriting support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.

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