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Monk Institute All-Star Sextet Visits Los Angeles Public Schools

Jazzed Magazine • News • March 8, 2013

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With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is introducing its “Peer-to-Peer” jazz education program in Los Angeles public schools and at UCLA through March 8. Combining performance with information, these “informances” are being presented by six exceptionally gifted public high school music students from around the country who participate in the Institute’s National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program. They also feature internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter Terell Stafford, as well as Kansas City vocal sensation and former Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition winner Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. J.B. Dyas. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring a musical performance for all students, followed by jazz workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their City of Angels counterparts.

“As young people are so influenced by kids their own age, who better to expose them to this great American art form than those of their own generation?” said Thelonious Monk, Jr., Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Trustees and son of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk.

The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Los Angeles tour include saxophonist Miles Berry, 18, from New Orleans; vibraphonist Joel Ross, 17, from Chicago; guitarist Nick Saia, 17, from New York; pianist James Francies, 17, from Houston; bassist Jose Albizu, 17, from Miami; and drummer Michael Mitchell, 18, from Dallas.

The weeklong stint includes two shows open to the public on Thursday at Vibrato. The octet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, as well as compositions from Stafford’s and Henry’s latest CD releases. Shows are at 7:00 and 9:00 PM.

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