Programming Update 7/4/16: Jazz Heritage Series
An Independence Day special on HPR-2, from 9:00 p.m. to midnight (HST): the United States Air Force Band's 2016 Jazz Heritage Series. The guests for this year's radio broadcast (the series' ninth season) are vibraphone virtuoso Stefon Harris, the duo of trumpeter Marvin Stamm & pianist Bill Mays, and tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf.
If you are new to our program, this three-part radio broadcast features the premier jazz ensemble of the U.S. Air Force, the Airmen of Note. The “Note” was created in 1950 to carry on the stylings of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band, and is our nation’s longest standing military big band. Honoring its legendary roots while also paving new jazz horizons for over 66 years, the “Note” has a rich legacy of excellence and innovation. Some of the nation’s top jazz artists have appeared alongside the Airmen each season.
PROGRAM ONE -- Stefon Harris
Vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris is heralded as "one of the most important young artists in jazz" by the Los Angeles Times. His passionate artistry, energetic stage presence and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him into the forefront of the current jazz scene. Widely recognized and lauded by both his peers and jazz critics alike, Harris is committed to both exploring the rich potential of jazz composition and blazing new trails on the vibraphone.
A graduate of The Manhattan School of Music, Harris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical music and a Master of Arts in jazz performance. He is a recipient of the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, and he garnered Grammy nominations for "The Grand Unification Theory (2003)," "Kindred (2001)" and "Black Action Figure (1999)."
PROGRAM TWO – Marvin Stamm & Bill Mays
Marvin Stamm has been a first-call jazz and studio trumpet player in New York City since the mid-‘60s. He has played with a veritable “who’s-who” of the big band world, including the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Woody Herman’s “Thundering Herd” and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He currently tours the world as a guest soloist and leader of his own jazz quartet, as well as remaining active as an educator, clinician and mentor to scores of aspiring young musicians.
Bill Mays got his start on piano as a bandsman in the U.S. Navy and went on to solidify his status as a first-call session musician for 15 years in Los Angeles. He relocated to New York City in 1984 and has been one of the most sought-after pianists on the scene ever since, performing with the likes of Benny Golson, Gerry Mulligan, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughn. Mays is also a prolific composer and arranger, having written for myriad genres and ensembles, from duo to full orchestra, spanning jazz to classical, and everything in-between.
PROGRAM THREE – Walt Weiskopf
Saxophonist, composer, and author Walt Weiskopf was born in Augusta, Georgia and grew up outside Syracuse, New York. He took up his first instrument, the clarinet, at age 10 and began his saxophone studies four years later. After graduating from Rochester's Eastman School of Music in three years, he moved to New York City in 1980.
Weiskopf began his New York career performing with the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1981 at the age of 21. In 1983, he began a fourteen-year association with jazz pianist and arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi, recording seven albums and touring the United States, Japan, and Europe. Since then, he has made an impressive mark as both a leader and sideman with 16 critically-acclaimed CDs and countless sideman credits, including performing and recording with Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, and Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy.
Weiskopf is equally well-regarded as a composer and his CDs contain predominantly original work. His six books on advanced topics in improvisation are among the most respected in the field. He was a visiting associate professor at the Eastman School of Music from 2001 to 2008 and is currently Coordinator of Jazz Studies at New Jersey City University.
The second hour of "Evening Jazz" and the entirety of "Jazz After Hours" will be pre-empted on July 4, 2016 for this three-hour special.