Powerhouse pianist Harold Mabern has been a member of the William Paterson jazz faculty for an amazing 36 years. A veteran of bands led by Miles Davis, George Coleman and many others as well as recording numerous solo projects, Mabern continues to be in demand on the worldwide jazz scene, not losing an ounce of strength or energy. As part of the continuing 40th anniversary Jazz Room season, this quartet is entirely comprised of Mabern’s former WP students who have all gone on to build significant careers. The band will also feature two other special guests who are both WP alumni and Mabern's former students: trumpeter Fred Hendrix, and vocalist Alexis Cole will appear in a purview of her April Jazz Room concert.
Admission: General Public $15 • WP faculty, staff, alumni, and senior citizens $12 • Non-William Paterson students $8 WP students are admitted free. • All tickets are an additional $3 on show day.
Each Jazz Room concert is preceded by a “Sittin’ In” meet-the-artist session one hour prior to performance. Free to all ticket holders. Audience members have a chance to meet and interact with that day’s artist in a question-answer format.
Junior Vega’s onstage presence combines with the high-energy WP Latin Jazz Ensemble, led by longtime faculty member Chico Mendoza. In what has now become a tradition at these concerts, the guest soloist shares the spotlight with the talented improvising soloists who make up the membership of the Latin Jazz Ensemble. The repertoire will consist of contributions from Junior Vega as well as arrangements from Chico Mendoza, in a concert that will certainly provide some heat on this winter afternoon.
Junior Vega Discography at Discogs
Saxophonist Joe Lovano is one of the major voices on today’s jazz scene. From his long relationships with the big bands of Woody Herman, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, to his tenure with the legendary Paul Motian-Lovano-Bill Frisell Trio, to his own best-selling recordings and touring bands, Lovano is one of the most influential saxophonists today. For this event, Lovano returns “home” (he taught at WP for many years) to collaborate with the students of the WP Jazz Orchestra, including premieres of four new arrangements for this concert by WP graduate arranging students.
Grammy-nominated Philadelphia-based organist Joey DeFrancesco has been a fixture on the jazz scene since his discovery by Miles Davis in the 1980s. He has recorded more than 30 albums since his 16-year-old debut on Columbia Records, and has played internationally with such luminaries as Arturo Sandoval, Larry Coryell, Frank Wess, John McLuaghlin, Elvin Jones, George Benson, Pat Martino, John Scofield, and many others. DeFrancesco’s swinging Philly exuberance will shine during this concert with his own working band – and as a bonus, his top-level trumpet playing will be showcased as well!
William Paterson jazz alumnus, drummer Mark Giuliana has become one of the leaders among modern drummers, bridging styles between jazz, swing, funk and hiphop with his tremendous technique and command. Giuliana was already a well-known member of the young jazz community, and his career skyrocketed when he was a member of the trio that backed the legendary David Bowie on Bowie’s final album. Giuliana continues our 40th anniversary alumni celebration as he brings his working jazz quartet to our stage, performing his own compositions and inspiring our students.
Award-winning vocalist Alexis Cole is at the heart of today’s New York jazz vocal and cabaret scene. After graduating from William Paterson in the mid-90s, she became a member and featured vocal soloist with the remarkable jazz big band ensemble at West Point Academy. Today, she has moved on to establish a major reputation as a virtuoso vocalist, in command of a wide array of repertoire and always in touch with the jazz traditions. Today’s backing trio also consists of fellow William Paterson alumni, including two recent arranging master’s degree recipients, pianist/musical director Scott Arcangel, and drummer Joe Spinelli.
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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