The Independent Ear

The Keen Eye of Keter Betts

Keter Betts exhibit
So what is it about playing the bass and developing a keen eye for photography? Remember those three superb coffee table photography books by one of the great jazz bass pioneers, Milt Hinton (“Bass Line”, “Over Time”, and “Playing the Changes”)? And what a gracious, storytelling man he was! One can absolutely feel the stories poring forth from the roving photographic eye of Milt Hinton in his on-the-road chronicles of the jazz life in those pages. I fondly recall one agreeable afternoon in Fano, Italy, a lovely beach town on the Adriatic Sea coast where Umbria Jazz producers had come to extend the abundant charms of their festival from the Etruscan hillside charms of Perugia to the “Italian Riviera”. As we sampled an amazing array of seafood at a large roundtable with fellow journalists, Milt regaled us with tales of early jazz lore. At one point his gracious wife Mona piped up “…he can remember what happened in 1925, but can’t remember what he had for breakfast this morning!” As always, Milt was strapped with his trusty camera, but I never got to ask him how he came to be not only one of the finest exponents of his instrument, but also such a keen photographic chronicler of his age.

A few years later came an assignment from the Smithsonian to conduct an oral history interview with bassist Keter Betts at his Silver Spring, MD home. You remember Keter, right?
Keter Betts
THE EVER-EBULLIENT KETER BETTS
Keter was the steady bulwark behind so much of Ella Fitzgerald‘s small group work; with a fat sound and warm-heart, the ebony-hued presence of Keter, with his quick smile at some inside bandstand joke, the presence who gave lift to Ella’s girlish, scat-tastic flights. During our interview I asked him about the Billie Holiday contention that the most important musician in her ensemble was always the bass player. He responded that for his place on Ella’s bandstand, he always strategically planted himself directly behind Ms. Fitzgerald and aimed his bass at a figurative bullseye he’d paint directly in the small of her back; that was one key to their long partnership.

Keter Betts shot
ONE OF KETER’S IMAGES OF THE FANS

Another major bullet point in Keter Betts’ career was his lengthy stint with another of the DC area’s musical pillars, guitarist Charlie Byrd. Though the modest Keter spoke about it with no apparent rancor, fact is the development of the 60s bossa nova craze might not have been quite the same without the bassist. Ahead of Byrd, and certainly ahead of Stan Getz – the biggest commercial beneficiary of all – it was Keter Betts who visited Brazil and carried home the compatible idea of jazz and bossa nova, hipping Byrd to the possibilities and leading to the historic Jazz Samba recording session at DC’s All Souls Church on 16th Street, just up the hill from the capital’s storied U Street (“Black Broadway”) district.

keter betts kbcpress
A KETER BETTS PRESS PHOTO SHOOT OF THE CHARLIE BYRD TRIO, KETER ON BASS

Betts was also bitten by the shutterbug. A significant sidebar to his career was capturing visual moments for posterity, particularly around the DC scene. Encountering musicians along the way who needed publicity shots, Betts even grew a side business of accommodating those self-marketing requirements of the trade, becoming an adept headshot hunter. Now, nearly 10 years after his ’05 passing on to ancestry, the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County (MD) has mounted a wonderful exhibit of Keter Betts’ photographic artistry. (Full disclosure: Suzan Jenkins is the CEO of the AHCMC.) Curated by Amina Cooper, from the collection of Keter’s daughter Jennifer Betts come images that tell stories of U Street jazz lore, capture delicious slices of the arc of DC’s understated master chanteuse Shirley Horn, Byrd and other stalwarts like fellow bassist Wilbur Little, bringing to life several angles on the DC scene and the broader world as Mr. Betts experienced it. An additional treat, courtesy of the longtime Silver Spring, MD-based monthly JazzTimes, is a wall dedicated to the masterful work of ace JT photog Jimmy Katz.

Keter exhibit
A FAN VIEWING THE CURRENT EXHIBIT

So just what is it about bass players and the art of photography? Both Milt Hinton and Keter Betts are lavishly credited with mentoring another highly-skilled contemporary bassist, DC’s own Herman Burney. Tall, bespectacled and professorial in bearing, the affable Burney brings ample bottom and gravitational lift to whatever bandstand has the good taste to engage him. Spend enough time around Herman Burney and your image is likely to be captured by his trusty, ever-present camera. A major component of “Bassically Yours,” the current Keter Betts photo exhibit, is three free programs featuring Herman Burney, including a conversation that promises to explore this whole bass player/photographer equation.

Keter exhibit-Jennifer
KETER BETTS DAUGHTER JENNIFER BETTS AT THE OPENING

Important Dates:
Friday, March 20 2015, 6pm – 8pm
The Betty Mae Kramer Gallery & Music Room Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place Sliver Spring, Maryland 20910
Monday-Friday, 9 AM – 6 PM

Exhibition Tour with Curator Amina Cooper
Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 12:00pm

Bass Choir Performance and Panel Discussion with Herman Burney, Kris Funn, & Victor Dvoskin Thursday, April 16, 2015 6:00pm – 8:00pm

A Special Performance of The Herman Burney Trio
featuring Herman Burney, Reginald Cyntje and Harold Summey Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 6pm

Exhibition Lecture – Bassist Herman Burney in Conversation with Willard Jenkins
Thursday, May 14, 2015 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Website: www.creativemoco.com/BassicallyYours

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The correct DIY recording approach

Drummer Jae Sinnett, who is based in the Tidewater area of Virginia and whose exploits as jazz musician/radio show host/chef/television cooking show host have been chronicled by the Independent Ear, has long made his own recordings. And frankly, in this digital age when the record label business is only a shadow of its former self, a time when artists are increasingly taking the DIY approach, its always good – especially for those contemplating either starting their own imprint or actively making a record – good advice from one who knows can go a long way towards a successful release. Jae recently weighed in with some pragmatic, common sense for independent artists making records.

Jae Sinnett
Considering most of the music being produced today is “self-produced”, here’s a little of the breakdown for musicians recording their CD independently. This can apply to different genres but I’ll focus on jazz here.

Once you’ve decided on the music, then you have to choose the right musicians to play it. That means clearly understanding the music concept and the abilities of the musicians and what they’re honestly capable of producing. Little things you may not think of such as you wanting to use a click track in the studio, but can the drummer play to one comfortably? Can the other musicians? Is reading necessary for your music? Can these musicians read the charts? If not, do you have MP3 files that clearly represent the music you’re producing? How many CD’s do you want to produce?
I would recommend no more than 1,000 out of the gate. Out of that number, if you want some sort of national and international airplay, you will need to send out, at your expense, 250-400 CD’s. This can be written off as a loss on your taxes because they’re used for promotional purposes at your expense. Some of these go to press too for potential reviews. Over the years I’ve wasted hundreds of CD’s in sending to places that were pointless so you have to do the research. Mailing costs can soar too so be specific. Once your music is starting to get played on jazz radio.
Don’t let that blow up your head.
Recording studio comics

The reality is you won’t see much return in terms of sales…hard copies or downloads. If you pop up on the national radio charts at number 40 it won’t make much difference outside of your ego if you reach numbers 20, 15 or 10. Seriously. I’ve been there a few times. You’ll be lucky too if you see 50-200 CD sales directly related to jazz airplay over the course of a couple of months. If you’re one of the lucky ones signed to a label, they can push it more for you but the results won’t be that much more… on average way less than 1000 WORLD WIDE!!! Downloads of songs…in the range of 15-150 if a song gains some traction and the money you get depends one where it’s downloaded from. Some just choose to listen over and over again like on Spotify which will bring you less than a PENNY per play. Can you say INSANE!
Recording studio comics 1

From those downloads you might get a check for $25-$100 over the course of a few months. Seriously folks. You might get a check from SoundScan for less than $150 for your airplay once or twice a year. You might get a check for that same amount from BMI or ASCAP if you’re a member. All for airplay on radio and internet broadcasting outlets such as Pandora and Spotify. Key word is MIGHT. How much money did you plan on spending on your recording? Now if you’re not gigging much, that’s all the money you’ll see that is directly related to the sales of your CD. If you’re gigging you’ll sell most on your gigs.

There’s been debate as to whether you should sell your CD’s at your performances for $20, $15 or $10. When I sold for $15 I ended up with about 60% more product left in my boxes. When sold for $10 they moved more freely. You might sell anywhere from 5-50 CD’s on average, per gig, depending on the gig, so again, look carefully at your return potential.

Now all of this has or should tell you how much you should invest into it out of the gate. Musicians waste thousands of their own dollars on recording projects and much of it will never be recouped. That’s the reality. It’s a break you down business that can take it’s toll on you because you’re not seeing perhaps the results you want for all the hard work and money you’ve put into it. I’ve seen for example musicians booking studio time and they’re in the studio PRACTICING!!! Good grief. When you’re in the studio the music should already be fully prepared. That’s about $125 per hour of you rehearsing songs you’ve should have already learned by that point.
Recording studio comics 2

Maybe some of this info will help. I’ve been doing this a long time on both the recording and broadcasting ends and believe me you would be amazed by the reality of the process. Perceptions run freely in this business but many times it’s far from reality.

Jae Sinnett

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Artists’ responsibilities: notes from a keen observer

My WPFW colleague, scholar, educator and all-around jazz stalwart around town, Rusty Hassan recently posted an interesting post-concert observation in Facebook that struck a chord. Anyone who has read the Independent Ear knows that as a frequent jazz performance audience member, as well as a presenter of the music, I’ve often written on the seemingly lost art of jazz artists connecting with their audience – many failing to make even minimal efforts at doing so. These attitudes do little to build the audience for the music, as Rusty has keenly observed. Musicians: don’t sleep this responsibility, lest you some day find yourselves only playing for your peers, and that ain’t no way to make a living!

Rusty Hassan
RUSTY HASSAN AMIDST SOME OF HIS TREASURES

The Artists’ Responsibility
by Rusty Hassan

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival had a panel discussion moderated by your partner, Suzan Jenkins, that intrigued me. It was titled “Is Jazz Education Killing The Jazz Audience” and featured prominent musicians who were also educators, Paul Carr, Delfeayo Marsalis, Connaitre Miller and Rufus Reid. As often happens at festivals with overlapping performances and and the opportunity to engage musicians in conversations, I missed the beginning of the session. I had been talking with James Carter about Leo Parker and Art Blakey–great excuse! When I entered the room it was evident that the provocative title related to a topic I had been concerned about for years, musicians relating to their audiences.

Each of the panelists related instances of young musicians, products of some of the best jazz education programs, giving performances where they had little or nothing to say to the audience.
The point of the forum was to emphasize how jazz education programs are producing musicians who are talented and proficient on their instruments but are unwilling to relate to their audiences beyond the performance. The attitude among younger artists coming out of the programs seems to be the performance should speak for itself and if Miles, Monk and Trane didn’t talk from the stage, why should I. The panelists all stressed that at a time when audience development is imperative for the music, musicians should communicate something about their music to the audience.

A couple of weeks after the Festival I attended a concert at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. It featured Tigran Hamasyan on piano with Sam Minaie on electric bass and Arthur Hnatek on drums. I took a friend who was visiting from out of town and is a casual jazz fan. Shortly after the performance I posted the following on Facebook: “A few weeks ago at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Suzan Jenkins conducted a forum with Paul Carr, Delfeayo Marsalis, Rufus Reid and Connaitre Miller about the importance of younger musicians connecting with their audience.

Tigran
TIGRAN HAMASYAN

On Friday I saw Tigran Hamasyan give a fascinating performance at the Clarice Smith Center. Tigran, originally from Armenia and a winner of the Monk Competition, obviously drew upon his Armenian musical heritage in his performance. Halfway through the concert he said something like, “Yo Maryland, was up? On bass, Sam Minaie. Arthur Hnatek on drums. I’ll now play one of my compositions, Out of the Grid.” That was all he said to the audience.

The program for the concert included a bio by Guardian writer John Lewis which includes a discussion of how Tigran incorporates Armenian themes in his music and Tigran’s liner notes to his album
MOCKROOT. It would have been helpful if Tigran told us the names of the compositions he was performing and a little bit about his music. When you are incorporating Armenian and classical themes into original compositions, the music doesn’t necessarily speak for itself. An object lesson of what Jenkins, Carr, Reid, Miller and Marsalis were emphasizing about connecting to the audience. I did enjoy the performance.”

That FB post generated considerable discussion with insightful comments from Paul Carr and Larry Appelbaum. My favorite was a brief one from Bobby Watsond. He said, “People like to hear the artist speak. Not my idea. This was told to me.” I saw Bobby perform a number of times with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in the 1970s where he would
announce the tunes for the band. But at some point before the end of the set Art would always get up from behind the drum set and address the audience. I suspect it was Mr. Blakey who told Bobby Watson that people like to hear the artist speak.

Tigran’s performance was in the smaller cafe style auditorium at the center. The audience consisted mostly of students with a few of us older folks in the mix. I imagine there were a number of music students who had participated in his workshop. Perhaps he felt that he had talked with most of the audience already. The program notes contained his illuminating discussion of the tracks
on his latest album which I presume were among the compositions he played. I’m perplexed as to why he didn’t convey some of this information to the audience without assuming everyone would read the entire program. At least he could have told us the names of the compositions so that we could read about them later. My friend who accompanied me to the concert commented that he felt Tigran’s performance lacked soul. Perhaps some explanation to the audience along the lines of what he wrote would have given my friend some insight into his Armenian soul.

I saw another pianist a few weeks later that was very much in contrast to Tigran in how he related to the audience. Wade Beach is a Washington area pianist who spent twenty years with the Airmen of Note. He currently performs with Andrew White. That particular evening he performed as part of a series of solo piano recitals at the Arts Club of Washington. The series features area pianists such as Allyn Johnson, Lafayette Gilchrest and Janelle Gill performing original material.
Wade Beach
WADE BEACH

Wade seems to be somewhat shy and humble but is an incredible pianist. He mixed in a few standards with his original compositions. He announced each tune with a few words of explanation about what went into the composition. He joked about academic jargon while explaining what a contrafact is musically, mentioning that Ornithology is based on the chords of How High The Moon. He related to the audience members so that they could relate to the complexity of his music. The audience at the Arts Club skewed older than that at Clarice Smith, probably mostly casual jazz fans like
my friend who had gone to see Tigarn with me or members of the Club.

In my conversations afterward folks told me they not only enjoyed the performance but they appreciated Wade’s commentary. This is not to say the audience did not appreciate Tigran’s performance; they obviously did, applauding for an encore. But I think Tigran may have lost one potential fan by not relating verbally to the audience.

Artists who feel that their artistry is such that they don’t have to talk to their audience often cite Miles Davis as someone who felt that the music should speak for itself. Well, he was Miles Davis. I’ll never forget taking my daughter Kenja to see Miles at Constitution Hall when she was in high school in 1985. He had large signs made up with the names of the musicians in his band. When Kenny Garrett soloed Miles would hold up the sign with Kenny’s name on it.

Miles related to the audience while demonstrating a sense of humor mocking his reputation as someone who would not communicate to his fans. My daughter got the joke. A few years later I took her and a Princeton classmate to hear Dizzy Gillespie at Blues Alley. While I was groaning at the jokes I had heard countless times, the audience was cracking up. They, of course, hadn’t heard those jokes before. Dizzy drew them into his music and made them fans.

Miles & Kenny
MILES & KENNY GARRETT DURING THE ERA OF MD’S BAND INTRO PLACARDS

Jazz has always had a “hipper than thou” syndrome. It’s part of the culture and most of of us who are part of the music revel in it. I certainly do. We love a genre that’s not the popular music of mass consumption. We’ll dis an artist who becomes popular as a sellout. If we love a particular artist, it is frequently at the expense of another. Jazz musicians are, of course, fans of the music as well as performers and have been the essential participants in this culture of cool from the beginning. This has certainly impacted the size of the audienceBut now the music needs listeners more than ever. I’m not talking about the death of jazz here. It will certainly survive. But musicians should be more inclusive in reaching out to the folks who come out to their performances.

I’m also not advocating the watering down of the artistry of the music. I’ve been to concerts by artists such as Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor where they have talked with the audience about the titles of their compositions and thanked them for coming out. On a positive note with the younger musicians, I saw Braxton Cook, a young saxophonist who studied with Paul Carr before going on to Julliard, relate very well to those who came out to the Bohemian Caverns to hear his group. He clearly absorbed the lessons Paul Carr imparted about stage presence. If only his young peers would do the same. Jazz is indeed a bit of a mystery to many who come out to hear the music and you want those who feel that way to feel welcomed, ultimately to come back and hear more.

Braxton Cook
BRAXTON COOK

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Jazz Takes a Stand

Black Lives Matter
JAZZ TAKES A STAND
By Ron Scott
Regardless of America’s ever-changing situation black music has always been its soundtrack depicting the mood of the times from war to peace, lynchings to chain gangs, segregation, civil disobedience, integration, to police brutality, and nonviolent resistance.

Jazz musicians may not always be directly involved in protest marches, or on picket lines but their music has always been heard loud and clear. It’s the soul of black folks like the deep blues from the emotional river of Billie Holiday every time one hears her sing “Strange Fruit”. No the song isn’t about police brutality but it has everything to do with the killings of innocent unarmed black men, racism at its most sinister peak, and man’s inhumanity to man. Even today when folks hear “Strange Fruit” they get a chill visualizing the bodies hanging from those trees and the thought is this should never happen again.

The protesters in New York City, California, Cleveland, Ferguson and throughout America are saying the same thing “We do not want to see this again; unarmed young black men like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Timar Rice and many others being killed at the hands of police officers.” The song “Stand” by Sly and the Family Stone is an anthem for any protesters march. “Stand for the things you know are right/it’s the truth that makes them so uptight/Stand there is a midget standing tall and a giant beside him about to fall” for these purposes the giant is the system. These young men were “Young, Gifted and Black” as was the great poet Henry Dumas whose life was taken in 1968 by a Transit Policeman in a case of mistaken identity, he was 33 years-old just beginning a successful career.

I Can't Breathe

Young, Gifted, and Black” was sung by Nina Simone: “To be young gifted and black/ yours is the quest just begun. To be young gifted and black is where it is at.” When they are so quickly taken away as in the cases of Brown, Garner, and Rice then for the parents these are “Stolen Moments” (Oliver Nelson). The dreams, aspirations, and hopes are gone and all that remains are memories.
In Her song “Why? (The King of Love is Dead)” she notes “Is it too late for us, and did he die in vain.”

Simone’s song “Four Women” depicts four black women whose lives are based on their skin color; Aunt Sara probably a slave as she says “my skin is black/my back is strong/strong enough to take the pain inflicted again and again.” The pain crying out in black America started with Aunt Sara, and travelled through Simone’s characters “Safronia” and “Sweet Thing” both misused and disenchanted by society. Simone finishes on a high note with Peaches. “My skin is brown/my matter is tough/I’m bitter because my parents were slaves/I’ll kill the first mother I see.” When equality doesn’t work for the masses and the same deadly situations become a hideous habit in black communities then “Peaches” appears wanting action.

They call it civil unrest or “riots” But riots wouldn’t occur if the problems were met with viable plans and solutions rather than politicians, commissioners, and others constantly living in the American tradition of reactionary mode. Let’s talk about Rodney King in 1991, and deal with those issues so it won’t happen again but here it is again. Dr. Billy Taylor wrote “I Wish I Knew How It Feels to Be Free,” and today many are still wondering.

In 1960 Max Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now Suite was released on the Candid Records label. The cover reflects a sit-in of the Civil Rights Movement. The recording features five selections on protests, slavery, and the growing African independence movements of the 1950s. Only Roach and vocalist Abbey Lincoln perform on all five tracks, and one track features a guest appearance by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.
Unite for Justice

John Coltrane’s “Alabama” appears on his album Live at Birdland (Impulse 1963). It was written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, an attack by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four young black girls.

In 2012 Trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith recorded his 4/CD set Ten Freedom Summers that included “Emmett Till: Defiant Fearless” a tribute to the 14 year-old who was hideously killed in Mississippi, in 1955. Other titles in this collection include “Dred Scott, 1857″, “The Freedom Riders Ride,” Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 381Days”.
In the 1970s Chicago (Columbia Records) recorded their four-movement composition “Better End Soon.” The song reflects the tragedy of wars, and inequality, “people hating and hurting their brothers/they can’t understand/better end soon we can make it happen/we can change the world.”

The O’Jays say there is a “Message in Our Music.” “There is a message in our song/we are going to talk about all the things that’s been going down/so understand while you dance/trying to make you see things aren’t the way they’re suppose to be.”

Whether people are marching, dying, demonstrating, or crying there will be jazz warriors playing rhythmic sighs and bold tones of injustice and pain, and the hipness of the swing as it relates to blacks and every one of America’s freedom & justice movements.

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Jazz @ the Kennedy Center 2015/2016 season

Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center, outside of Lincoln Center, offers the most extensive jazz programming of any of the major arts centers in this country. We owe that in part to the stewardship of the late, great jazz renaissance man Dr. Billy Taylor, who did so much during his storied tenure as Artistic Director for Jazz at the KC to not only provide the music with a prestigious platform, but also to dismiss the barriers and perceived boundaries between jazz and other classic art forms. Countless now-dedicated jazz enthusiasts mark one or a series of Billy Taylor presentations at the Kennedy Center as the turning point in their personal evolution through the music as consumers and lovers of the sounds, citing Billy as their virtual tour guide who demystified the music for them.

Working alongside Dr. Taylor for much of his tenure, steadily building the music’s significant Kennedy Center profile was the witty and erudite KC administrator Kevin Struthers, who has now been in place for over 20 years. It was largely Kevin Struthers who, upon the passing of Billy Taylor, had the prescience to engage a younger artist, pianist-composer Jason Moran, to take Jazz at the Kennedy Center to the next level. And when I speak next level, I’m also considering the fact that not only have Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wayne Shorter with the National Symphony, Charles Lloyd, and Robert Glasper found welcoming stages at the Kennedy Center in recent times, so have Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, the group Yard Byard, and Maceo Parker during Moran’s tenure. Along the way not only has the Terrace Theatre (gotta say, after years of descending stairs to lower level jazz haunts, I’ve always loved the idea of jazz being presented on the penthouse level at the KC!) been a welcome home to the music, but the music has also seen the altering of Kennedy Center’s physical plant in the morphing of a multi-purpose room into the Kennedy Center Jazz Club, and a huge, yawning atrium into the Crossroads Club. The latter, primarily under Moran’s keen programming, is a standing club, with bar, geared towards attracting younger audiences for dance-worthy presentations like Glasper’s Experiment, Soulive, Maceo, Roy Hargrove‘s RH Factor and others. Not only does the Crossroads Club lend itself to the dance impulse, its also friendly towards those who love nothing better than hitting up their devices during a performance to inform their social media contacts of the haps.

(Here’s a link to an interview I did with Jason Moran last spring.)

http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=A79419

Earlier this week the Kennedy Center held its 2015/2016 season press announcement event, which covered its symphonic, dance, ballet, chamber music, opera, and jazz presentations, including several crossover efforts between KC constituent forms. In addition to Moran and artists representing the various forms, KC Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates introduced his new curated contemporary music series KC Jukebox, which among other programs on November 9 will present Lounge Regime: 100 Years of Ambient Music, which promises to take listeners on “an immersive journey through a century of ambient music, from today’s electronica to 1970s minimal is, to the “furniture music” of 1930s Paris.” This is decidedly not your grandmother’s Kennedy Center anymore! Bates will also collaborate with Moran next March in Jason + Mason at the Crossroads Club, on an evening of electric jazz that will include a DJ set by Bates alter persona, DJ Masonic.

This artist-curated crossing genres series will include several additional Moran collaborations, with classical pianist Jeremy Denk, choreographer Ronald K. Brown, a duo concert with Charles Lloyd, and a Gershwin program that will include his wife Alicia Hall Moran, an opera contralto. The Moran series bound to generate the most buzz – details of which led off Wednesday’s Washington Post account of the KC’s ’15/’16 season – is Jason + Skateboarding, a reprise of sorts of a fresh program Moran premiered at SF Jazz. Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media will run September 11-12, 2015. The Kennedy Center will build a skateboarding venue and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon will perform in interaction with the skateboarders.

In addition to the usual raft of Kennedy Center jazz presentations at the Terrace Theatre and the KC Jazz Club, other highlights of the ’15/’16 jazz season include presentations of NEA Jazz Masters Jimmy Cobb, Jimmy Heath, and Charles Lloyd; Joe Lovano‘s new Village Rhythms Band (with Liberty Ellman, Michael Olatuja, Abdou Mboup, and Otis Brown lll) a world premiere commissioned work by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, and the Discovery Artists series at the KC Jazz Club. Vijay Iyer will partner with the Brentano String Quartet on an evening October 15, and A Family Affair series will feature twins EJ and Marcus Strickland, The Whitfield Family Band (dad Mark on guitar and sons Mark Jr. on drums and Davis on piano), and twins Peter and Will Anderson Quintet, the two sets of twin brothers evenings inspired by Moran’s own experience raising twin sons, as he remarked during the press event.

That’s only part of an auspicious 2015/2016 Kennedy Center Jazz season; for complete details visit www.kennedy-center.org or Google Kennedy Center jazz.

Jason Moran

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