Jazz and Freedom Festival

 

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Website: http://jazzandfreedom.com, http://capitalbop.com 

News: Jazz and Freedom Festival

Produced by: CapitalBop and JTTB Records

  • Cost: $20 suggested donation, portion of the proceeds benefit EmpowerDC
  • 411 New York Ave NE
  • Where: Union Arts
  • 4 pm – 12 am
  • When: Sunday, January 18th, 2015
  • Groups: Guest Panel of Speakers including Rusty Hassan and Fred Foss
  • Bullettes Octet,
  • Trio OOO,
  • Reginald Cyntje and Herman Burney duo
  • Alison Crockett,
  • Nasar Abadey and Jamal Moore duo
  • Jazz and Freedom Octet

Washington, D.C. – On Sunday, January 18th, 2015, there will be a Jazz and Freedom Festival at Union Arts Warehouse from 4 pm to 12 am in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. The festival will feature a guest panel of speakers and six bands followed by a jam session at the end. The festival is produced in conjunction with CapitalBop (http://capitalbop.com) and JTTB Records (http://jazztothebone.com). Union Arts is an underground warehouse for artists and it will be a warm atmosphere with food and donations accepted. A portion of the proceeds will go to Empower DC, a non-profit dedicated to helping the DC community (http://empowerdc.org).

At 4 pm on January 18th at Union Arts, there will be a panel discussion on jazz and its role in social activism featuring Fred Foss and Rusty Hassan. Fred Foss played saxophone and woodwinds with Hugh Masekela and Lionel Hampton, among others. Rusty Hasssan runs a jazz radio show at WPFW-FM and is very knowledgable about the history of jazz and its ties with freedom and justice. Then, at 5 pm, “Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes” all female octet will perform a tribute to Mingus. Following that will be free jazz ensemble “Trio OOO” at 6 pm. Then, Reginald Cyntje (jazz trombone) and Herman Burney (bass) will perform a jazz duo at 7 pm. At 8 pm, local songstress and outspoken hero Alison Crockett will perform selections from her one woman show, “Is this it? My American Dream.” Following her performance will be a duo with Nasar Abadey (percussion) and Jamal Moore (saxophone) at 9 pm. At 10 pm will be the Jazz and Freedom Octet, an ensemble created to promote peace and social justice by performing music that inspires freedom. The Jazz and Freedom Octet comprises of Jessica Boykin-Settles on vocals, Grant Langford on tenor sax, Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, Elijah Easton on tenor sax, Shannon Gunn on trombone, Sam Prather on piano, Karine Chapdelaine-Walker on bass, and Savannah G. Harris on drum set and will be joined by Tony Martucci on congas for this performance.  

The idea for this festival was was the brain-child of Shannon Gunn, local jazz trombonist and high school music technology teacher who runs a non-profit record label called JTTB Records (http://jazztothebone.com). She was inspired by a similar performance where her professors at Michigan State University performed as part of a Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend celebration in 2003. She approached Gio Russonello and Luke Stewart of CapitalBop (http://capitalbop.com), a blog that keeps tabs on the local jazz scene, to see if they might be interested in co-producing the festival at the Union Arts location. The two entities united their forces in pulling in artists and speakers together and turned the event into a fundraiser for EmpowerDC, a local community activist group whose mission is to enhance, improve and promote the self-advocacy of low and moderate income DC residents in order to bring about sustained improvements in their quality of life. (http://empowerdc.org) Half of the door donations will be donated to EmpowerDC.          

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Jazz and Freedom Octet to Perform for the Jazz and Freedom Festival 2015

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The Jazz and Freedom Octet is an ensemble created to promote peace and social justice by performing music that inspires freedom. The Jazz and Freedom Octet comprises of Jessica Boykin-Settles on vocals, Grant Langford on tenor sax, Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, Shannon Gunn on trombone, Sam Prather on piano, Karine Chapdelaine-Walker on bass, and Savannah G. Harris on drum set.

The Jazz and Freedom Octet will perform two shows for the Jazz and Freedom Festival 2015. They will start on Saturday, January 17th at a house show in Falls Church, Va. Then, on Sunday, January 18th, they will be last show at 10 pm for the Jazz and Freedom Festival at Union Arts located at 411 New York Ave NE in Washington, D.C. Please contact Shannon Gunn if you’d like more information or to book a reservation for the house show. $20 donation suggested for each show.

JazzCast Ep. 24: Reginald Cyntje Part 2

JazzCast_Ep24_Reginald_Cyntje_2Welcome back to the JazzCast, Episode 24, where we finish up an interview with Reginald Cyntje!  I’m happy to state that Reginald’s album, “Elements of Life” was just named one of the top five albums for 2014 by CapitalBop blog. Go Reggie! (And every album on that list is excellent, please check them out!) In this episode we get deep into the meaning behind the music as well as more philosophical matters. You can also check out more of Reginald’s music by going to the previous episode as well.  Most of all please support Reginald by purchasing his album on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, or from his website. He is running a 20% sale so check it out! Also please check out his new book, Stepping Stones, 15 studies in improvisation! I believe that Reginald wrote a bunch of new music since this episode (which was recorded in August) so please keep an eye out for what he puts together in 2015, I know it will be great. I hope you enjoy this in depth interview!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Vision for 2015

2015_new_yearIt’s time to write an actual blog post and start letting everyone know about how some things will get tweaked in the next year or two. This morning I sat down and spoke with my father about my plans, and he was very confused so this is partly to clear that up for him. This website has been a tool as a “temporary” place to hang my hat for my podcast, but now it will become a permanent home for the podcast and I am going to take all my personal music related stuff (performances, etc) and migrate all of that over to shannongunn.net. (Currently that’s just a splash page with links to everything else I do.) In the meantime, Jazz to the Bone is going to become more of an entity upon itself. I hate to use the word record label, but that’s the best term to describe it at the moment. But this “label” isn’t going to be like any other out there – artists will retain 100% royalties/earnings, in fact artists will still distribute under their own label name, and the entity will be a vehicle for their success, and not concerned with the end product. How is that possible? Read on.

This site will become the home of Jazz To The Bone (a.k.a. JTTB), a non-profit record label focused on recording and producing music that would not necessarily sell. In other words, a sustainable record label that will not depend on the sales of music to pay its bills. How, you might say? By focusing on high profit margin products. First in line will be education. Think about it, once you create a course online, all you have to do is drive traffic and then all income is passive income (income you earn without having to actually work). There is a huge demand for people wanting to learn to play instruments, record, and manage their finances and invest. (I threw finance in there because when I talk about this to other musicians, it seems to pique their interest more than anything else.) Other high profit margin items might include coffee, among other things. Once the entity gets established, and is running for a couple of years, we can go into development and raise funds through grants or corporate sponsorships and get proper 501(C3) status. Until then, though, the label will focus on giving high quality recordings utilizing the equipment I already own and use. At this point I am just a few mics and plugins short of having a pretty good little portable studio.

In return for sales on education, money will go toward producing concerts, festivals, recordings, promoting, and generally helping musicians. The podcast will be part of that, as well as this blog and education programs. All education programs will be offered online, with easy and quick access to an instructor for any questions that may come up. How will you do that, you ask? Working on that right now as a graduate student in Instructional Design and Technology at George Mason University. Each course will be offered online, videos will be on YouTube, and students will be able to download their lessons onto a Kindle. Eventually an online magazine will develop with updated links and articles about the topics of interest. All of this can be done for free now, with technology. I will be piloting a course called “Chords 101” to move in this direction in the next month. I created this course to teach my music technology students chords without having to read music, so they can play along with popular music and come up with their own chord progressions. Be watching for the Kindle version to arrive second week of January.

There are some people doing this already – with robust education programs in the DC metro area. But nobody can offer that plus the recording side as well. One thing I’ve found is that when you distribute sheet music, you should also distribute a video to show people how to play it. I would love to see this “Jazz to the Bone” not only record and promote music, but to be offered as a publishing arm for musicians, but with a twist – each published song would have tutorials, videos, and links to people performing it as it should sound. Once again 100% of income goes back to the artist.

There is really no overhead for any of this – except for the server costs, which I already have to pay anyway. Everything can be developed for free using technology. Artists can use this to their own discretion – and it will be merely a platform for their product. Traffic is cheap. Dowloading/uploading from a site is not. There are ways to do that, though, that will be free – Amazon S3, dropbox, archive.org, it can all be done for free.

This is just the tip of the ice burg for what I have planned for 2015 – as an artist, I’m also starting a new trombone quintet with two bones playing JJ and Kai and other straight-ahead goodness, and I’m working on a groove ensemble that will play more free as well. Bullettes will keep on working, as a septet or a big band as is needed, but that ensemble will remain straight ahead while I personally venture into free and groove oriented music. The JJ and Kai tribute band will be for literature and because I just love playing with other trombone players. I may also start a trombone quartet (four bones), but that will be a side project compared to the other things going on.

Right now, musically, I’m focusing on my Jazz and Freedom Festival which will be co-produced with CapitalBop during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend of 2015. I’m putting together a Jazz and Freedom Octet to perform Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite as well as other similarly themed songs. It’s going to be AWESOME.

This biggest need I see in the music industry right now is money. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH MONEY. Never enough money to pay personal bills, to put on projects, to record, to transcribe or arrange music. There are other ways to make money other than performance and sales. A label doesn’t need to make money, just be solvent, if the goal is to distribute music.

JazzCast Ep. 23: Reginald Cyntje Part 1

Square_FinalWelcome back to the JazzCast, Episode 23! Here we have an interview with Reginald Cyntje, jazz trombonist from the DC region. He will be talking about his latest album, “Elements of Life.” He has a really interesting story for each song, I hope you enjoy this interview. This was recorded in August, and I apologize that it took so long to get it out. There are some references to successful performances at Twins and Bohemian Caverns in August and September. The recording was actually finished in the archives, I just had to re-record the intro. Finally was able to get to it this holiday weekend. I’m hoping to hire out some audio helpers in the future so I can get these out weekly!

Please check out Reginald’s new book, Stepping Stones. You can find it on Kindle, Amazon, or at his website at http://reginaldcyntje.com.

Mentioned in this episode (links coming soon!):

 

JazzCast Ep. 22: Miki Yamanaka!

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Welcome to Episode 22 of the JazzCast, where you can hear curated listening sessions with jazz musicians! This week we have Miki Yamanaka, jazz pianist from Japan and masters student at Queens College. If you’ve ever been to Smalls, you’ve probably seen her or even played with her. She’s busy! If you like her music, please come out and support her show at the Fat Cat in New York on Thursday night, September 4th, at 7:00 PM. There is a cover charge of $3. Miki has an infectious laugh that everyone loves! I hope you enjoy this “interview,” although it’s more like two friends talking about her music, which was great. Thanks for listening!

Mentioned in this podcast:

(to be continued…)

 

JazzCast Ep. 21: JS Williams!

square_finalWelcome to the JazzCast! Today I have an awesome and touching interview with JS Williams, jazz cat and trumpet player from New York. I was really thankful to be able to find a few minutes as he runs back and forth between DC and NY to be able to dig into his latest album, the “Late Bluemer.” He plays with a stellar cast of musicians, including:

What I liked most about this interview was the fact that I would have never known the meaning behind the songs “Grim Reaper,” “Ambivalence,” and “Submission” without sitting down and talking about it. It gives a whole new meaning to his music, and as always, JS tells it like it is! I was also really impressed at his tribute to his various teachers – his father, grandmother, his middle school teacher, and Josh Landris – who taught him one lesson but made an everlasting impact. In honor of all the parents making this the “true” teacher appreciation week I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Please support JS Williams by downloading the songs if you like them!

Click here to access JS William’s iTunes album: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-late-bluemer/id604034578 

Click here to access “The Late Bluemer” on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jswilliams

Mentioned in this podcast: (links coming soon!)

JazzCast Ep. 20: Christie Dashiell!

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Welcome to the JazzCast! Today we have an interview with vocalist extraordinaire Christie Dashiell! Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Greenville, NC, contemporary award winning jazz vocalist Christie N. Dashiell honed her vocal skills at Howard University and then, later, the Manhattan School of Music. Dashiell’s history includes performances with Howard’s premiere vocal jazz ensemble, Afro-Blue. She has also performed at the Kennedy Center as a part of the 2010 Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead residency program. She is the recipient of Downbeat magazine’s Best College Graduate Jazz Vocalist and Outstanding Soloist awards in the jazz vocal category. Most recently, Dashiell appeared on season three of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” as a member of Afro-Blue and performs with the group, now known as Traces of Blue. Dashiell can be heard on several nationally released recordings including, John Blake’s Motherless Child, the Jolley Brothers’ Memoirs Between Brothers and as a Kennedy Center Discovery Artist on NPR’s “JazzSet” with Dee Dee Bridgewater. She has been seen in concert with Esperanza Spalding, Fred Hammond, Smokey Robinson, Geri Allen and Allan Harris.

Christie is performing at Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C. on Friday and Saturday, August 8th and 9th, with two sets each night at 8 and 10 pm. It looks like the 8pm on Friday night has already sold out, so be sure to get your tickets soon! You can get tickets here:  http://www.bohemiancaverns.com/tickets/.

Mentioned in this podcast:

NY Pics and more

IMG_3618Last Tuesday, I got to run up to New York for a bit to take a professional development course on teaching economics. I’m always at a loss of how to make econ easier, so it was a great way to get some new ideas that are actually fun and informative. I hate lecture! Looking forward to teaching the new year as a result. It will be fun! After the PD, I visited with my good friend Miki for a bit. Walked through Times Square and just loved it. The evening started out with a Barry Harris masterclass. The most amazing thing about the whole experience was watching how hungry the other students were. I was surprised at the diversity of ages – I thought it would mostly be younger cats, but it was all ages, to include seniors just learning to play.IMG_3629 Mr. Harris teaches a piano class first, where he plays something and then everyone (like 25 people) get up to the piano and try their hand at it. Takes forever but is informative and everyone was videotaping. Then came the singing lesson. He calls it ear training, but it’s more like karaoke, but with the same song over and over and over again. At first I was enjoying it because the song was difficult, and we all sang along, but when everyone got up to the mic individually it went a little long. As a result the instrumental lesson was only 22 minutes. However, there IMG_3622was more packed in that 22 minutes than all my college years combined, in some ways. He taught the way jazz should be taught, with the master singing and everyone imitating on their instruments. He started us off with scales (which, by the way, I wasn’t used to playing so fast, he does sixteenth notes at 240), to progress to patterns which he then strung together for sentences. Why isn’t everyone teaching this way? There should be a Barry Harris class at every college and university. IIMG_3655 recorded it on my phone and am slowing making my way through each night. I had difficulty understanding him sometimes, especially the difference between E and D and B, so it’s helpful to have the recording to go back to. That’s not all, though, I found myself at Zinc Bar to see Tivon Pennicott, and then Smalls which was alive and industrious. Met many new jazzers and was elated to see Laurence Leathers again! He was a freshman at MSU while I was a grad student. So many years ago. And now he’s famous, plays with everyone. Then, on Wednesday morning, I got to hang with Lynn Gruenewald, alto sax and flute player from MSU. I got to meet her beautiful dog Remo and catch up on life and happiness. She was actually looking after Ingred Jensen’s daughter (there was a Darcy James Argue rehearsal) so I got to see Ingred and family as well. Her daughter is so smart! I couldn’t believe how well she listened and how interactive andIMG_3641 verbal she was. And so there it is! I’m back again in NY this week as well to get some more Professional Development, and to see more jazz. I’ll also be conducting interviews for my podcast, yay! I’m writing this post as a test for this website, but it’s also fun to review the 24 hours of craziness that was New York last week. Looking forward to more jazz!

JazzCast Ep. 19: Elliott Hughes, Part 2

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Welcome back! This episode is part two of an interview with Australian composer and trumpet player Elliott Hughes. Episode 18 (part  1) was an introduction to large ensemble writing in Australia, and Episode 19 (part 2) is about Elliott Hughes‘ music and his Horizon Art Orchestra.

Elliott Hughes is a Melbourne based composer and trumpet player, who combines interests in jazz, contemporary classical chamber and orchestral music, and electroacoustic music. He has had his music performed in New York, Canada, Hong Kong and around Australia, releasing his debut recording in 2012 with his large ensemble Horizon Art Orchestra.  He has also worked collaboratively with theatre companies, scoring short films, and as a freelance arranger.

Elliott Hughes is coming to Washington, D.C. to have his music performed with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra on Monday, August 11th at 8 and 10 pm sets. Additionally, the Brad Linde Expanded Ensemble will perform his music at theJazz Gallery in NYC on August 12th, and at An Die Musik in Baltimore on August 13th. We hope you can make it out to one of these performances!

Upcoming Performances of Elliott Hughes’ Music:

Songs in order of appearance:

Mentioned in this podcast:

Part 1 Episode 18 Mentions:

Part 2 Episode 19 Mentions: