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Jazz at Lincoln Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season of Swing University

Christian Wissmuller • News • July 15, 2021

Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly celebrates the 20th anniversary season of Swing University, the premiere adult education program offering engaging virtual classes for jazz fans, enthusiasts, and students of all backgrounds and levels.

To commemorate the milestone anniversary, Swing University announces Summer of Saxophone, a new summer virtual term focusing on jazz saxophonists including Sonny Rollins, Sidney Bechet, Benny Carter, Vi Redd, great saxophonists of the 1950s, the World Saxophone Quartet and more. The Swing University Summer Term runs from August 1 through September 8, 2021. Registration is open now via jazz.org/swingu.

“Swing University celebrates 20 years of providing more than 300 courses to more than 15,000 students!” said Seton Hawkins, Jazz at Lincoln Center Director of Public Programs. “From Bolden to bebop and from Armstrong to Zawinul, these courses have and will continue to explore the history of jazz and celebrate the great figures who created this beautiful music.”

This summer, the fun and informal Swing University classes, held virtually, will be taught by industry experts including Seton Hawkins and saxophonists Mark Gross, Oliver Lake, Allen Lowe, Yunie Mojica, Loren Schoenberg, Camille Thurman, and more. Participants will have the opportunity to explore jazz history, discuss new and classic tunes, and discover listening methods that will improve concert experiences.

Full Schedule:

The Lost Generation: Great Jazz Saxophonists of the 1950s
Instructor: Allen Lowe
Sundays, 3 pm ET
August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
In this course we will look at the variety and brilliance of 1950’s jazz saxophone. By looking at players both famous and obscure, we will make the case that the 1950s were one of the most fertile periods in jazz creativity. While bebop was the key frame of reference, new rhythm and harmony was the pressure point pushing the music just a little bit beyond its formal boundaries. These saxophonists combined brilliant technical facility with melodic invention and wit to set the stage for a brand-new form of modernism.

Pres: The Life and Genius of Lester Young
Instructor: Loren Schoenberg
Mondays, 7 pm ET
August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
In the pantheon of tenor saxophonists, few match the brilliance and impact of Lester Young. An icon of Swing Era cool, Young broke with tenor saxophone orthodoxy with a light touch, a melodic sense that defied bar lines, and a sense of swing so effortless that we remain enchanted by him nearly a century later.

Saxophone Colossus: The Music of Sonny Rollins
Instructor: Camille Thurman
Tuesdays, 7 pm ET
August 3, 10, 17, 24
Perhaps nobody in jazz today embodies the notion of a living legend to the degree Sonny Rollins does. One of the most influential and imitated saxophonists of all time, Rollins enjoyed a seven-decade career marked by some of the most transformational recordings in the music’s history.

Treat It Gentle: The Soprano Saxophone of Sidney Bechet
Instructor: Evan Christopher
Wednesdays, 7 pm ET
August 4, 11, 18, 25
This mini-course is about more than one giant’s mastery. Sidney Bechet’s vanguard approach to improvisation is nothing less than a foundation for recognizing and understanding artistry in the idioms of blues and jazz. Each week, we explore an aspect of Bechet’s mastery in improvisation.

Jeep’s Blues: The Music of Johnny Hodges
Instructor: Mark Gross
Thursdays, 7 pm ET
August 5, 12, 19, 26, September 2
Join Mark Gross, member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra for the last 30 years, as he discusses and explores the many facets of one of the most influential alto saxophonists in jazz: Cornelius “Johnny” Hodges!

The King: The Music and Genius of Benny Carter
Instructor: Loren Schoenberg
Fridays, 7 pm ET
August 6, 13, 20, 27, September 3
Join us for a five-week exploration of one of jazz’s most influential, versatile, and brilliant figures. Jazz’s greatest lead altoist, an outstanding trumpeter, a brilliant composer and arranger, and a master bandleader, Benny Carter was and remains one of jazz’s most towering masters.

The Great Saxophone Doublers
Instructor: Erica von Kleist
Saturdays, 3 pm ET
August 14, 21
Multi-instrumentalist Erica von Kleist discusses the history of woodwinds in jazz, from the clarinets and C-melody saxophones in New Orleans to the incorporation of piccolos, flutes, and double reed instruments in modern ensembles. Throughout it, we’ll explore some of the master jazz artists famed for their doubling skills.

Kippie and Zim: Iconic Saxophonists of South Africa
Instructors: Nduduzo Makhathini and Linda Sikhakhane
Saturdays, 3 pm ET
August 28, September 4
Rising South African jazz stars Nduduzo Makhathini and Linda Sikhakhane discuss two of South Africa’s greatest saxophone talents: Kippie Moeketsi and Zim Ngqawana.

Point of No Return: The Genius of the World Saxophone Quartet
Instructors: Seton Hawkins and Oliver Lake
Tuesdays, 7 pm ET
August 31, September 7
Seton Hawkins is joined by the master saxophonist Oliver Lake, a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet, as they discuss the history of this singularly exceptional ensemble.

Bird Call: The Life and Music of Vi Redd
Instructor: Yunie Mojicia
Wednesdays, 7 pm ET
September 1, 8
Saxophonist and educator Yunie Mojica takes you into the life, music, and world of a brilliant, yet unsung hero of the saxophone: Vi Redd.

For more information and to register, visit jazz.org/swingu.

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