Jazz Room Series

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About the Jazz Room Series

Inaugurated in the spring of 1978, the Jazz Room Series is the longest-running campus-based jazz concert series in the nation. With a tradition of encompassing the complete spectrum of jazz from New Orleans to the avant-garde, it features world-class professionals and William Paterson student ensembles. There are three series of concerts each year, including the six-concert Fall and Spring Jazz Room Series, and the weeklong Summer Jazz Room held the third week of July.

The Jazz Room has received over two decades of continuous grant support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, as well as numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The series has been featured on national and metropolitan-area media, including recorded broadcasts and live CD recording sessions.

The Jazz Room Series is directly connected to the William Paterson Jazz Studies Program. Unique among college and university programs, the Jazz Studies program is one of the few in the nation with an emphasis on small-group playing, improvisation, and a genuine commitment to the jazz tradition. Founded by music faculty member Martin Krivin and joined by trumpeter/arranger Thad Jones in 1973, the program was led by bassist Rufus Reid for twenty years, then by the great jazz pianists James Williams, Mulgrew Miller, and most recently Bill Charlap, who accepted the position in fall 2015. The program is co-led and coordinated by David Demsey. The artist/teacher faculty is made up of world-class New York area professionals.

The program is a true jazz environment in which students learn firsthand about the jazz world and the requirements for becoming a successful professional musician. Jazz majors come to William Paterson this year from twenty-six states and six foreign countries, including a number of Fulbright Scholars.

The University also presents the Summer Jazz Workshop for high school students. The University's Summer Jazz Workshop, active since 1994, is a week-long intensive program in late July, featuring classes, small-group rehearsals and performances, and clinics taught by William Paterson resident faculty and special guest clinicians.

William Paterson University is home to the Living Jazz Archive, which includes the personal music archive of legendary trumpeter and educator Clark Terry, as well as the archives of Thad Jones, James Williams and Michael Brecker. The Living Jazz Archive provides students, researchers, and visitors with the opportunity to explore original jazz manuscripts and other materials that are an important part of jazz history.

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WP Presents! and The Jazz Room Series events are made possible in part by a grant from the NJ Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Jazz Room Series Partner

  • Joe Lovano with the William Paterson University Jazz Orchestra
    Mar 03, 2024 @ 3:00 PM
    Location: Shea Center Auditorium

    Joe Lovano continues to be one of the premiere saxophone voices of today’s generation.  His is a master, with a totally unique improvisational voice and approach, whether he is playing with his own groups or as an honored guest with others.  His earlier career involved significant periods with the big bands led by Woody Herman and Mel Lewis, which will both serve as inspirations for this concert’s set list.  Lovano also has a deep connection to William Paterson, as a former faculty member and longtime guest artist.  This concert will feature arrangements chosen by Lovano for this occasion, as well as premiere performances of three big band arrangements created by WP graduate arrangers, on Lovano’s compositions.  This performance is sure to give a high-energy start to the spring concert series! 

    Admission: Public $15 • WP community and senior citizens $12 • Non-William Paterson students $8 • WP students admitted free with ID (1 ticket per student) at Box Office on day of show.
    Tickets are an additional $5 on show day.


     

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Mar 14, 2024 @ 8:00 PM
    Location: Shea Center for Performing Arts

    At a moment when musical streams are crossing with unprecedented frequency, it’s crucial to remember that throughout its history, New Orleans has been the point at which sounds and cultures from around the world converge, mingle, and resurface, transformed by the Crescent City’s inimitable spirit and joie de vivre. Nowhere is that idea more vividly embodied than in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which has held the torch of New Orleans music aloft for morethan60years, all the while carrying it enthusiastically forward as a reminder that the history they were founded to preserve is a vibrantly living history. PHJB marches that tradition forward once again on So It Is. The album redefines what New Orleans music means today by tapping into a sonic continuum that stretches back to the city’s Afro-Cuban roots, through its common ancestry with the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and the Fire Music of Pharoah Sanders and John Coltrane, and forward to cutting-edge artists with whom the PHJB have shared festival stages from Coachella to Newport, including legends like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and the Grateful Dead and modern giants like Beck, The Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, and the Black Keys.

    Admission: Gold Circle $57, Orchestra/Front Loge $53, Rear Loge $47


     

  • Saxophonist Alexa Tarrantino
    Apr 07, 2024 @ 3:00 PM
    Location: Shea Center Auditorium

    Alto/soprano saxophonist Alexa Tarrantino is rapidly establishing herself as one of the most respected young saxophonists on the scene today, and is the newest member of the award-winning super-group ARTEMIS. Originally from Hartford, she earned degrees from Eastman and Juilliard, and went on to be a member first with DIVA Jazz Orchestra, then since that time has performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Cecile McLorine Salvant.  Her solo albums have become best-sellers, most recently featuring drummer Ulysses Owens and pianist Christian Sands, and she was nominated as a “Rising Star” in several recent Down Beat Magazine’s Critics Polls.  Her positive energy as a leader, composer, educator and performer will be evident in this performance. 

    Admission: Public $15 • WP community and senior citizens $12 • Non-William Paterson students $8 • WP students admitted free with ID (1 ticket per student) at Box Office on day of show.
    Tickets are an additional $5 on show day.


     

  • Trumpeter Peter Nater with the WP Latin Jazz Ensemble
    Apr 14, 2024 @ 3:00 PM
    Location: Shea Center Auditorium

    Peter Nater is one of the most in-demand trumpeters on the Latin jazz scene today.  He has been a member and Grammy Award winner with the numerous ensembles, including many legends: Harlem Jazz Orchestra, Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Ray Sepulveda, the Mambo Legends, the Bronx Horns, the Machito Orchestra, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Ruben Blades, and Marc Anthony.  This concert brings his high energy sound in collaboration with the William Paterson Latin Jazz Ensemble, led for over four decades by Chico Mendoza.  Every concert by this ensemble is an exciting event, but this one promises to be a special one because of Peter Nater’s long collaborations with a virtual who’s-who of Latin Jazz.

    Admission: Public $15 • WP community and senior citizens $12 • Non-William Paterson students $8 • WP students admitted free with ID (1 ticket per student) at Box Office on day of show.
    Tickets are an additional $5 on show day.


     

  • Wingspan: Reunion Concert
    Apr 28, 2024 @ 3:00 PM
    Location: Shea Center Auditorium

    This important event brings together again the members of the landmark, critically acclaimed Wingspan sextet that was led by the late great pianist Mulgrew Miller.  This band was perhaps Miller’s great “voice,” in terms of the showcase of his compositions, and his long collaboration with the world-renowned players appearing on this concert.  Wingspan was called “dependably hard-charging” by The New Yorker, and that energy is apparent in all their performances.  The ensemble has previously come together at Jazz at Lincoln Center with great critical acclaim, and this concert also promises to be thrilling.  Reuniting will be vibraphonist Steve Nelson, trumpeter Duane Eubanks, saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Nat Reeves, and drummer Carl Allen.  Pianist Danny Grissett will perform as the group’s pianist. 

    Admission: Public $15 • WP community and senior citizens $12 • Non-William Paterson students $8 • WP students admitted free with ID (1 ticket per student) at Box Office on day of show. Tickets are an additional $5 on show day.


     

  • Martin Wind All-Star Quartet, with Scott Robinson, Jim McNeely, and Matt Wilson
    May 05, 2024 @ 3:00 PM
    Location: Shea Center Auditorium

    This all-star foursome brings worlds of experience to our stage.  Multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson is a true virtuoso on everything from all saxophones, to trumpet and cornet, to such unusual creatures as the Theremin.  Pianist Jim McNeely spent many years with Stan Getz, and as a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra; he is one of the most influential arrangers today, and conducts worldwide.  Bassist Martin Wind is a busy jazz musician, has appeared on numerous movie soundtracks, and was one of the three finalists in the Thelonious Monk Bass Competition. Drummer Matt Wilson is an inventive and often humorous composer and bandleader, a virtuosic drummer, and appears in a wide variety of musical surroundings.  Together, these four create a blend of their commanding playing and their wonderful compositions that will close the Jazz Room Series out with a memorable musical event. 

    Admission: Public $15 • WP community and senior citizens $12 • Non-William Paterson students $8 • WP students admitted free with ID (1 ticket per student) at Box Office on day of show. Tickets are an additional $5 on show day.