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Jazz Band and Combos

Matthew McGarrell, Director

Jazz at Brown has a history as old as the style itself. Alumni who played with earlier Brown jazz groups include Red Balaban, '51, former owner of Eddie Condon's and Jimmy Ryan's Jazz Clubs in New York, trombonist Stan Vincent, '57' of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band. In recent years the jazz program at Brown has grown to include instrumental instruction, courses in history, transcription and analysis, composition and arranging, and improvisation, an eighteen member big band, and combos, all available for academic credit. Jazz musicians of the highest caliber such as Associate Professor Dana Gooley, Ed Tomassi, Ron SanFilippo, Paul Mason, Dave Zinno, Bill Vint, Francisco Pais, Yvonne Monnett, and Paul Kolesnikow teach these courses and offer private instruction in our Applied Music Program.

Central to the jazz program is the eighteen-member big band. It consists of five woodwind players (who play saxophones most of the time), eight brass players (four trumpets and four trombones), a vocalist and a "rhythm section" of piano, bass, drums and guitar. This arrangement of musicians has been the traditional jazz "big band" format since the days of the great Ellington, Basie and Goodman bands in the 1930s The band's repertoire has included classic jazz pieces by such composers as Duke Ellington (at a 1990 collaborative retrospective of Ellington's music with the Brown Dance Extension) as well as modern jazz works by Thad Jones, Herbie Hancock, Bob Minzer, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Dave Holland. World class musicians such as James Moody, Carl Fontana, Rick Margitza, Dave Pietro, Gerald Wilson, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Dick Hyman, Annie Ross, Tito Puente, Joe Henderson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Slide Hampton, Gary Burton, Phil Markowitz, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, Ingrid Jensen, Conrad Herwig, Eldar Djangirov, Jim Doherty, Anat Cohen, Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Gerry Mulligan have performed with the Brown Jazz Band in concerts on campus and in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal, New York (in Carnegie Hall), London and in Tokyo (at Suntory Hall), Hiroshima, Gotenba, Japan, as well as Amsterdam (at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the renowned jazz club Bimhuis) and in Madrid, Spain (at the jazz club Clamores, and at the Unversidad de Alcala de Heneres). In recent years, the Jazz Band has traveled to Rome, Italy, Coimbra, Portugal, Reykjavik, Iceland and Dublin, Ireland. The Brown Jazz Band rehearses in Fulton Rehearsal Hall on Mondays 7.30-8:50pm and Thursdays 6:10-7.30pm. Plans for 2013-14 include a performance with saxophonist Melissa Aldana and a concert tour to Havana, Cuba.

Three combos, ranging in size from four to eight musicians will rehearse for 90 minutes, either on Tuesday nights at 8pm, Wednesday afternoons at 2pm, Wednesday afternoons at 4pm or Friday Afternoons at 4:30pm. They will be coached by Paul Mason, Dave Zinno and Ron SanFilippo, professional jazz musicians who teach in the Applied Music Program at Brown.

Brown University Jazz Band, Spring 2013