Author: jazzdept

Concert with Wayne Bergeron, April 26

As if our semester wasn’t already loaded up with impressive guest artists

The trumpet powerhouse that is Wayne Bergeron will be visiting Houston this week to perform with the MSM Jazz Orchestra at the Katy Jazz Festival on Friday, April 26 at 7:30p. Wayne Bergeron stands out as a god among regular trumpet players for his extraordinary abilities as a lead player, soloist and session musician working in the recording and film industry. If you have watched a major motion picture or live television in the past twenty years, there is a good chance that you are already familiar with Bergeron’s trumpet solos. His website boasts a healthy resume of his credits. Here’s an example of another day at the office for Bergeron as he overdubs a solo for “Scooby Doo”:


As always, we are honored to be able to perform with a masterful musician. Bergeron’s presence and his years of professional experience are essential to our students’ education. We are fortunate to be able to provide an evening of first-class entertainment with such talented musicians for you to enjoy.

Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra with Wayne Bergeron
Friday, April 26 at 7:30p
Katy Jazz Festival (ticket info / map)
Quantum Mechanics opens

Program is as follows (in no particular order):

Woody’s Gold Star – John Fedchock
A Game of Inches – Gordon Goodwin
Friend Like Me – arr. Bill Liston
High Clouds & A Chance of Wayne Tonight – Tom Kubis
You Go to My Head – J. Fred Coots, arr. Tom Kubis
Farewell to BirdlandNeal Finn
Besame Mucho – Consuelo Velázquez, arr. Steve Wiest

April 9-16, Vacek Jazz Artist Residency with Bill Evans

From April 9-16, our Vacek Jazz Artist Residency welcomes the great saxophonist, Bill Evans.  The last time Evans visited MSM, he gave a thrilling performance at our 2009 jazz festival. He made such an impression on our students and guests that the jazz department has been eagerly anticipating his return ever since. This time, he will be expanding on his methods of improvisation and performance practice with our students for a whole week. His latest efforts in jazz education can be found at Truefire as part of their ongoing lessons and workshop series. Here’s a clip:

We could not be more happy to welcome Bill Evans back to MSM and we hope that you will take part in making his residency an educational and joyful one.

The concert will take place Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30p

Click here for the full schedule of activities

All Vacek Jazz Artist Residency events are for the purpose of musical education and are therefore open to the public at no cost, unless otherwise noted. We invite all music educators and students to come take part in an inspirational week of jazz.

A real live one – The 15th Moores School of Music Annual Jazz Festival

Lew Soloff

Lew Soloff (Photo credit: nadworks)

featuring Lew Soloff

February 22 & 23, 2013

Holy smokes, this is going to be a great one! We are welcoming back the great Lew Soloff to MSM and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Lew gave one of the best performances in the history of our jazz festival the last time he visited in 2004. He is not only a trumpet player of tremendous talent, but also someone who brings some of the best music you will hear performed by a big band. Click here for the write-up by the UH Communication School’s Mike Emery.

Friday evening’s concert will showcase The Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, a big band made up of Texas-based jazz professionals, while Saturday evening’s performance belongs to Lew Soloff with the MSM Jazz Orchestra.* It promises to be an exciting event full of masterful musicianship, education and great jazz. If you are a student, teacher, professional musician or just a jazz fan we guarantee that you will not want to miss this weekend’s activities!

The Moores School of Music Jazz Festival features performances from middle and high schools throughout the day as well as two free clinics with Lew Soloff and the Jazz Orchestra at noon each day. No admission fee is required to observe these school performances or clinics.

*Purchase tickets to all evening events by clicking here, both concerts will start at 7:30p.

Click here for more information on the festival, including schedule, ticket information and details on how your school can participate.

There are so many events to look forward to in 2013

The 2012-13 school year has seen unprecedented growth in the MSM jazz department. Beginning this fall, the initiation of a jazz combo program has established two more  permanent jazz ensembles that rehearse and perform each semester and the Vacek Jazz Artist Residency brought a new depth to our curriculum with lectures, lessons and performances from a visiting jazz artist for a week. That is already, by most accounts, quite a bit.

But there is so much more going on in 2013.

We are kicking off the spring semester with our annual jazz festival, now in its 15th year. On February 22 & 23, we welcome back Mr. Lew Soloff, who is probably best known for his time with Blood, Sweat & Tears. Lew Soloff’s career goes much further and deeper than that, of course. He has become a musical journeyman and is heard on many recordings that span genre and style. He can do just about anything one can imagine on the trumpet, and we are thrilled to welcome him back. His last appearance at MSM was our jazz festival in 2004 where he gave a remarkable performance and is still probably our favorite jazz festival ever.

Then, from April 9-16, we welcome back Bill Evans, this time for the spring semester’s Vacek Jazz Artist Residency. Bill was our guest artist for the jazz festival in 2009. This time around, he’ll be staying with us for a week, giving lessons to students, leading many of the rehearsals and offering up wisdom that only a seasoned professional can give to eager students. The culmination of this work will be presented in a concert on April 16.

Finally, on April 26, the MSM Jazz Orchestra will perform with the great Wayne Bergeron as part of the Katy Jazz Festival. Trumpet players will surely want to check this out! If you’ve never heard Wayne perform live, then prepare to have your face melted. It’s great fun.

All this, plus the debut of several new works for big band (and big band + orchestra!) in the spring written by our very own MSM students. More on that later. 2013 will be a year characterized by fresh ideas and enthusiasm. We hope that you can join us.

Announcing the Vacek Jazz Artist Residency & its first guest artist, Dan Haerle

We are very excited to announce that the Moores School of Music Jazz Department will initiate a new guest artist-in-residency program this fall! The inaugural Vacek Jazz Artist Residency will welcome Dan Haerle to MSM from November 6-13.

During his week-long residency at MSM, Mr. Haerle will be involved with every facet our jazz department. For several decades, he has been a vital and valuable resource to jazz education and performance; we could not be more thrilled to host him. There is a wonderful interview in two parts by Bret Primack that we highly recommend to get to know Dan Haerle, his history and thoughts on education, performance and being a professional musician.

Concert schedule is as follows:

Saturday, 11/10

Improvisation clinic with high school students (email if interested)
Cezanne with Dennis Dotson, David Craig and Joel Fulgham

Tuesday, 11/13

Tuesday recital in Moores Opera House
Moores Opera House with MSM Jazz Ensembles (purchase tickets)

The Vacek Jazz Artist Residency is an ongoing educational component of the MSM Jazz Department that pairs visiting jazz artists and educators with our students for a full week each semester. The goal of this project is to give students a in-depth appreciation for all facets of the jazz tradition from an outside professional. The guest artist not only performs with each ensemble in the jazz department, but also gives lectures, clinics and lessons in improvisation, composition, theory, history and performance, ranging from broad to the very specific issues.

Welcome to fall – First concert is October 9

Ah, yes. Fall is finally here! Houstonians can finally return to the outdoors, enjoy the 6-week “changing of the leaves” and start looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. But most importantly, school is in session, which means that we’re rolling out another busy concert season at The Moores School of Music. October 9 is our first concert and looks to be a superb affair, but this is only preparation for what is to come with the jazz department’s record-setting season! We will have a total of three guest artists performing with the jazz ensembles this year and we are very excited to have secured a permanent guest artist residency program. (details forthcoming)

For now, though, we hope that you will be able to join us as we celebrate the tradition of jazz in yet another concert of firsts. In particular, this concert will premiere a new work by our resident drummer/composer/graduate student, Daniel Webbon, in addition to the ongoing series of Houston premieres for the Radiohead Jazz Project. And as always, there will be surprises. Would you expect anything less?! So please, come one, come all! We are thrilled to be presenting this music in such a great city as Houston during its finest season.

Tuesday, October 9 at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera HouseClick here to purchase tickets online.

Program is as follows:

Jazz Ensemble

 Alone Together, arr. Dave Wolpe
Spring Ain’t Here, arr. Bob Curnow
Look for the Silver Lining, arr. Jerry Nowak
Wind Machine, Sammy Nestico

Jazz Orchestra

Maxwell D. Cat, Paul Baker
How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, arr. Mike Crotty
Kid A, arr. Chuck Owen
The Peacocks, arr. Bill Holman
Surrey on the Fringe, arr. Daniel Webbon
Strike Up the Band, arr. Sammy Nestico

Woody Witt and Joe LoCascio Duo perform Friday, September 21

In 2009, the duo of saxophonist Woody Witt and pianist Joe LoCascio released the album Seasons Ago: The Songs of Alec Wilder. In this volume of rather obscure songs by one of American music’s great composers, the duo sought to explore and offer a wider perspective on Wilder’s work resulting in “ten tracks and ten moments of exquisite melody and harmony”.

This time, the duo are at it again, tackling the music of Duke Ellington’s esteemed collaborator, Billy Strayhorn. Aside from his most popular tunes (“Take the ‘A’ Train”, “Lush Life”), Strayhorn’s repertoire consists of several lesser known wonders. To most jazz aficionados, his ballads “Chelsea Bridge”, “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” and “Isfahan” are probably the most loved. But Strayhorn’s swinging side was nothing to shrug off, as evidenced by the posthumous album …And His Mother Called Him Bill.

Last year, the LoCascio/Witt duo recorded many of these obscure Strayhorn compositions for an album in the same vein as the Wilder songs. While the album is still yet to be released, Friday evening’s concert will offer a great preview of what is to come. The two have played together for the past 20 years and their time together has enabled them to achieve, in Witt’s own words, “a strong level of musical communication. Very seldom do we rehearse for duo performances. Even the [Wilder and Strayhorn] recordings were put together with very little rehearsal time. Joe has really been the musicologist of the duo.  He transcribed all the tunes, for both projects.  Some of the Strayhorn tunes we recorded, I’ve never heard played in a small group setting.”

UPDATE: Read Chris Becker’s profile of Joe LoCascio at Culturemap

The concert takes place Friday, September 21 at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera House. Click here to purchase tickets online.

2012 spring concert takes place on Wednesday, April 18

It’s our final concert of the 2011-12 school year, so we’re taking it out with a bang. Our season closer will feature both big bands performing several new works. The concert will feature new arrangements based on the music of Radiohead (“There There”) to Tom Harrell (“Blue in One”) and the premiere reworking of an old classic (“Nature Boy”). As always, there will be something for everyone that is a fan of quality jazz music and we hope to see you there. Program and ticket information below.

Infernal Jamnation, Jeff Lopez
Nick Madden, baritone saxophone
Brett Bousley, guitar
Thanushka Lewkebandera, piano

Six P.M., arr. Mark Taylor
Thanushka Lewkebandera, piano
Brett Bousley, guitar
Jacob Starr, tenor saxophone
Alex Johnson, trumpet

Lili’s Song, Paul G. White
Alex Winkler, piano

Six by Six, Doug Beach
Thanushka Lewkebandera, piano
Michael Autry, guitar

Pea Shooter, Jeff Lopez
Zack Woolhouse, tenor saxophone
Chad Tumminello, drums

Sambanice, Rob McConnell
David Ramirez, piano
Ruben Sepulveda, tenor saxophone
Landon Petersen, guitar

Nature Boy, arr. Gerald Massoud
Gerald Massoud, bass

Dearly Beloved, arr. Rich DeRosa
Justin Neumann, baritone saxophone

Blue in One, arr. Ryan Gabbart
Landon Petersen, guitar

There There, arr. James Miley
Darrel Materum, soprano saxophone
Henry Darragh, piano
Cameron Kubos, trumpet

Sister Sadie, arr. Michael Abene
Henry Darragh, piano
Darrel Materum, alto saxophone
Gerald Massoud, bass
Rick Harris, trombone

Concert details

Wednesday, April 18, 7:30pm
Moores School of Music Opera House
$10 general admission / $5 students
Click here for ticket information and directions

Recap: 14th Annual Moores Jazz Festival

The 14th Annual MSM Jazz Festival welcomed several schools from across not only Houston, but the entire south Texas region, and (as usual) we were impressed by the amount of talent heard during our two-day event. Each year’s bands continue to improve their skills along with their competitive spirit. Our judging panel had to spend a LOT of time deciding the results of each day’s activities. We are truly encouraged and inspired by the abundance of great jazz ensembles throughout the state of Texas.

Friday evening’s concert featured the Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, Houston’s all-star big band, and Saturday evening showcased saxophonist Seamus Blake with the MSM Jazz Orchestra. This may seem biased, but both evening’s performances were superb. Seamus Blake especially delivered on Saturday evening, performing a mix of his own original music with classic jazz and one standout composition by Vickie Yang. We were very happy to have him visit and contribute his knowledge in the afternoon clinics, as well. Any fan of jazz will want to take notice of Blake now as his star continues to rise in the jazz world. He is a fantastic musician who already boasts a distinguished pedigree and certainly has a promising future.

Thanks to our judges: Joel Fulgham, Johnny Gonzales and Armin Marmolejo for their great work. A HUGE thanks goes out to each school and band director for attending our festival; it cannot exist without your support and we hope that both you and your students gained some experience, knowledge and joy from this year’s event.

Outstanding High School of the Festival
Spring High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Middle School of the Festival
Memorial Middle School Jazz 1 – Harlingen, TX

Outstanding Soloist of the Festival
Clayton Farris, HSPVA

Outstanding High School of Friday
Katy High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Soloist of Friday
Clayton Farris, HSPVA

Outstanding High School of Saturday
Harlingen High School Honors Jazz

Outstanding Middle School of Saturday
Crosby Middle School

Outstanding Soloist of Saturday
Jessica Davis, Harlingen High School

All-Star Awards

Crosby Middle School, dir. Don Heaselet
Marcel Camacho
Shelby Innmon

Dekaney High School, dir. Trent Cooper & Ramsey Hampton
Jose Escovedo
Henry Espinoza
Kahlil Pinson

Harlingen High School, dir. Ronnie Rios, Maria Coronado & Marc Telles
David Dorado
Aaron Gomez
Juan Maldonado
AJ Padilla
TJ Saenz

Hastings High School, dir. Erich Sonnier & Paul Brodt
Luis Chacon
Emmanuel Otinwa
Salvador Velasco

Hightower High School, dir. Eduardo Tito Hernandez
Ashley Bacon
Davonte Jackson
Lumina Meneres

Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts, dir. Warren Sneed
Ben Ackley
Paul Cornish
Jeremy Dorsey
Jeremy Dritton
James Francis
John Koozin
Blake Opper
Sterling Overshown
Andrew Sneed
Alex Wheeler

James E. Taylor High School, dir. Bruce Melville
Erik Jaimes
Thomas Zak

Katy High School, dir. Terence Gorton & Andrew Lee
Blake Meynig
Jessica Mortensen
Ryan Wollenberg

Lake Olympia Middle School, dir. Ray Hundl
Sahir Kahn

Memorial Middle School, Harlingen, TX, dir. James Keltner & Julissa Garcia
Dylan Flores
Alyssa Uribe

Quail Valley Middle School, dir. Kenny Borak
David Young

Pasadena High School, dir. Jacob Faske
Oscar Cruz
Eric Peña

Seven Lakes High School, dir. Geroge Archer & Jonathan Yoo
David Rebellon
Luis Quintero
Shane Smith
Austin Snowden

Spring High School, dir. J.D. Guzman
Victor Gonzalez
Theo Meadough
Zach Robinson

Spring Woods High School, dir. Jeffrey Munger
Kyle Guillemette

Waltrip High School, dir. Charlie Stephens & Jesse Espinoza
Jose Barrios
Mario Derreza
Johnny Olivares
Christina Peña
Carnell Simmons

The 14th Annual Moores School of Music Jazz Festival

Seamus Blake

Seamus Blake (Photo credit: TurboFreddy)

featuring saxophonist Seamus Blake

February 24 & 25, 2012

We are very pleased to announce that the 14th Annual MSM Jazz Festival will feature world renowned jazz artist Seamus Blake.

The Moores School of Music Jazz Festival features performances from middle and high schools throughout the day as well as two free clinics with Seamus Blake and the Jazz Orchestra at noon each day. No admission fee is required to observe these school performances or clinics.

Friday evening’s concert will showcase The Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, a big band made up of Texas-based jazz professionals, while Saturday evening’s performance belongs to Seamus Blake with the MSM Jazz Orchestra.* It promises to be an exciting event full of masterful musicianship, education and great jazz. If you are a student, teacher, professional musician or just a jazz fan we guarantee that you will not want to miss this weekend’s activities!

Click here for more information on the festival, including schedule, ticket information and details on how your school can participate.

*Evening events are ticketed