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NEC Jazz50 Celebration Spans Boston And NYC This Season

Jazzed Magazine • News • September 4, 2019

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New England Conservatory (NEC)’s Jazz Studies Department, the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory, celebrates its 50th anniversary this coming season by showcasing the department’s vibrant legacy. A year-long celebration of Jazz50 will include concerts and events in Boston and NYC featuring many of the school’s distinguished jazz alumni, faculty, students and special guests.

Boston events will include the NEC Jazz Orchestra with Alan Pasqua (alum) and Antonio Sanchez (alum) led by the department’s first chair Carl Atkinsand current chair Ken Schaphorst; Jazz Advance: The Legacy of Cecil Taylor (alum) featuring an all-star line-up including Matthew Shipp (former student), Bruce Brubaker (faculty), Dan Tepfer (alum), plus faculty membersRan Blake, Ethan Iverson and Joe Morris; a weeklong residency and concert by Luciana Souza (alum); and The Music of Gunther Schuller featuring the NEC Jazz Orchestra; Cosmosis: The Music of Dave Holland featuring Jim McNeely with the NEC Jazz Orchestra; The Invisible Choir, The Music of Ken Schaphorst and many more.

NYC events will include an NEC Faculty All-Star Group featuring Fred Hersch(alum, former faculty), and current faculty members Donny McCaslin, Billy Hart and Cecil McBee at the Jazz Standard; Dominique Eade (alum, faculty) and Fred Hersch (alum, former faculty) at the Jazz Standard; and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (alum) as well as the NEC Alumni Big Band at the Sheen Center.

“I’m very grateful for Gunther Schuller’s farsightedness and efforts in establishing the Jazz department in 1969,” says current Jazz Studies chair Ken Schaphorst. “I’m also grateful to the faculty and students who have established NEC as a leader in the world of jazz education over the past 50 years. It’s been deeply humbling to share the responsibility of shepherding this noble mission for the past 18 years, educating students in the transformational art form of jazz, developing communication between unique individual human voices. I’m excited to have this opportunity with Jazz50 to celebrate the achievements of NEC’s past and present, while looking forward to our future.”

“This anniversary provides us the opportunity to reflect on half a century of leadership in jazz education at New England Conservatory, and to celebrate the importance of jazz in both the history and future of American music,” says NEC president Andrea Kalyn.

Photo by Martin Zeman.

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