Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Jazz Group will present a weekend of events featuring a clinic with an internationally known jazz trombonist and a symposium on a legendary jazz artist.
On April 14, the weekend starts with a visit by world-renowned jazz trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, who will critique WPI's Big Band and Jazz Combo at a jazz clinic on big band and improv techniques. Marsalis has been involved with educating youth in music for several years and has produced more than 75 major-label recordings, several of which have received Grammy awards and nominations.
On April 15, WPI will host a symposium on the life and music of Chicago-born jazz pianist, composer, and teacher Lennie Tristano. The symposium's discussion panel boasts recording artists, jazz historians and educators, Tristano's former students, and his son. Tristano began his professional career in Chicago in the 1930s, and when he emerged as an original voice in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s, he was considered a prime representative of "progressive jazz" by many critics and musicians. An uncompromising individualist, he transgressed the boundaries of jazz as well as conventional style categories of jazz history through a succession of innovations, exploring musical means that were considered avant-garde, evidenced by the 1949 recordings of free group improvisations, which predate the free jazz movement by a decade, his ground-breaking use of multi-tracking in the 1950s, and the intensified use of polyrhythm and chromaticism in the 1960s.
The symposium will feature a historical evaluation of Tristano's contribution to jazz and an analysis of his music innovations, teaching methods, and approach to improvisation. Panelists will be Connie Crothers, a pianist, recording artist, and one of Tristano’s students; Jimmy Halperin, a saxophonist, recording artist, teacher at the New School University of Jazz and Contemporary Music Program and Queens College (City University of New York), and former student of Tristano and Sal Mosca; Sal Mosca, pianist, recording artist, and former Tristano student; Euni Shim, WPI assistant professor of music; and Bud Tristano, guitarist, recording artist, and Lennie Tristano’s son. The moderator will be Monica Hatch, host of "Jazz Matinee" on WICN 90.5 FM, Worcester, Mass. Tom Reney, jazz historian and producer and host of "Jazz a la Mode," on WFCR 88.5 FM, Amherst, Mass., will interview the panelists.
Professors Richard Falco, WPI's director of jazz studies, and Shim are coordinating the symposium. Shim's book, Lennie Tristano: His Life in Music (University of Michigan Press), will be available at the symposium. Information may also be found there about the New England Jazz History Database, the culmination of a partnership between WPI and the Massachusetts chapter of the International Association for Jazz Education.
Admission to both events is free and open to the public.
Delfeayo Marsalis Big Band and Combo Clinic
3 p.m. on Saturday, April 14
Lennie Tristano Symposium
2-6 p.m. on Sunday, April 15
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Alden Memorial (both events)
100 Institute Road