Denison's Jazz Guitar Festival Features Stellar Performers for 10th Anniversary
Posted: October 23, 2006
The 10th Annual Jazz Guitar Festival is bringing back some of its most popular players to fill the weekend with music. Renowned musicians -- including the Rick Peckham Trio, Stan Smith, Doug Richeson, Guy Remonko, Howard Alden, Trio da Paz, Pamela Driggs, Tim Cummiskey and Chris Buzzelli -- will present three concerts and fill an afternoon with clinics. The opening concert is at 8 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 3). Saturday evening's concert is at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday (Nov. 5), the Festival wraps up with a 3 p.m. concert. All of the concerts are in Burke Recital Hall and are free and open to the public.
The Festival is hosted by Denison's instructor of guitar, Tom Carroll, and the featured players at the Friday opening concert are The Rick Peckham Trio and Stan Smith with Denison faculty members Doug Richeson and Guy Remonko.
Saturday, starting at noon and running until 5 p.m., a series of clinic sessions is planned for the Burke Rehearsal Room. The clinics will be followed by the 7:30 p.m. concert featuring Howard Alden and the Trio da Paz, whose players are Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta and Duduka da Fonseca.
The Sunday final concert at 3 p.m. will include Romera Lubambo and Pamela Driggs, The Howard Alden Trio, Trio da Paz, Carroll, Peckham, Smith, Cummiskey and Buzzelli.
Carroll, the originator and coordinator of the Festival for all its years, joined the Denison faculty in 1980 and since 2000 has been coordinator of jazz studies. Leader of his own trio, his first recording as leader was "City Lights," with a live performance disc being released in 2002. An affiliate artist with the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus, Carroll has performed at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, at the Columbus Jazz and Ribs Fest and at several I.A.J.E. conventions with Hank Marr.
Howard Alden began playing the guitar at age ten in his native California, inspired by recordings of Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Benny Goodman. When he was 20, Alden decided to go east for a summer in Atlantic City with vibraphone legend Red Norvo. In 1991 he recorded with George Van Eps and was inspired to take up the seven-string guitar, which he now plays exclusively. He coached Sean Penn on how to play the guitar for his portrayal of the fictional Emmett Ray in the Woody Allen movie "Sweet and Lowdown" and played all the guitar solos on the soundtrack. Alden also served as the musical director and guitarist for an all-star touring group commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival in 2004.
Trio da Paz features three of Brazil's most in-demand musicians. The group updates the infectious spirit of jazz-oriented Brazilian music with harmonically adventurous interactions, daring improvisations and dazzling rhythms. The Trio's critically acclaimed debut recording, "Brazil from the Inside," received the "Indie" award for best album of the year. Guitarist Romero Lubambo has worked with Dianne Reeves and Kathleen Battle; bassist Nilson Matta has joined Yo Yo Ma and Paul Winter; and Duduka da Fonseca has collaborated with John Scofield and Tom Harrell. The Trio has performed with Charlie Byrd, Herbie Mann, Lee Konitz, Kenny Barron and Nana Vasconcelos.
Rick Peckham, a native of Norwalk and graduate of Ohio State, has played annually in the Denison Festival. Now teaching at Berklee College of Music, Peckham's recording "Left End" echoes of the rock guitarists of the '70s and '80s and takes its name from a Led Zeppelin-influenced band that Peckham liked as a teenager. But the album's music doesn't fall into any one category -- some pieces are completely improvised numbers that explore textures and tone colors; one is influenced by an African-flavored beat and one even takes on the certified jazz classic by Thelonious Monk, "Evidence." Drummer Jim Black and bassist Tony Scherr are the other members of Peckham's Trio.
A Nevada native, Pamela Driggs began her career with jazz and pop groups, but her life-long passion for Brazilian music led her to Salvador, Bahia, where she honed her knowledge of Portuguese and the rhythms and melodies of Brazil. She returned to the United States, formed the jazz group Brasilia and toured for several years. In 2000 she recorded a solo album, performing American standards to Brazilian classics, pop originals to bossa nova. Currently, she frequently performs with Romero Lubambo, composing music and lyrics as a guitar/voice duo. Jazz flutist Herbie Mann calls her "one of the best new voices in jazz" and Jazziz magazine selected her as one of the top voices of "the new Jazz Culture."
Guitarist and composer Stan Smith is on the music faculty at Capital University where he has been the head of the jazz/contemporary guitar curriculum since 1978. He also serves on the staff of the National Guitar Workshop and has written "Jazz Harmony on the Guitar?: A Linear/Structural Approach" which was published by Hal Leonard. Smith was a member of the Moacir Santos band in Los Angeles and has played with Ali Ryerson, Mark Vinci and David Amram. He has received fellowship awards from the Ohio Arts Council and the Greater Columbus Arts Council as a composer and his works have been performed internationally and recorded by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Michael Cox, The Keith Henson Octet and The Afro Rican Ensemble. He also has released several CDs under his own name, including "Pathways," "No Discussion" and "Silent Memory."
Chris Buzzelli began playing at age nine and was playing professionally as a teenager. He studied at Trenton State College (N.J.) and earned a bachelor's degree at North Texas State University becoming a member of the prestigious One O'clock Lab Band. He completed a master's degree in music education in 1983 and joined the Bowling Green State University faculty where he is a professor and director of the guitar program. He has written for the Jazz Educators Journal, Just Jazz Guitar and American String Teacher. His arrangements and original compositions for jazz guitar ensembles are played around the world. Buzzelli maintains an active playing schedule and has played at the Classic American Guitar Show in Long Island, N.Y., and at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society event in Nashville. He has been playing a seven-string instrument since 1995.
Tim Cummiskey is a member of the Jazz Studies faculty at Ohio State's School of Music and on the music faculty at Kenyon College. A contributing writer to Downbeat Magazine and Just Jazz Guitar, he was a featured player in an edition of 20th Century Guitar Magazine. He studied at the Berklee College of Music and earned his bachelor's degree in jazz studies at Capital in 1994 and a master's degree in guitar performance at Bowling Green State University. His first recording as leader was "Alone Together" on the Cojazz label. He has performed with Gene Bertoncini, Hank Marr and Frank Vignola as well as numerous Ohio-based musicians.
Guy Remonko is professor emeritus of music at Ohio University and serves as an affiliated studio instructor of percussion at Denison where he directs the Latin-Jazz Percusion Ensemble and plays with the Faculty Jazz Quintet. An active clinician and performer, he has served on the faculty of the Summer Drumset Workshop since 1980 and is an artist/clinician for Yamaha Drums. He has played with the Rochester Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Pearl Bailey, Jack Wilkins and Dave Samuels. Remonko also writes for Modern Drummer, Percussive Notes and The Instrumentalist magazines.
Doug Richeson performs on the string bass and electric bass. An instructor at Capital University's Conservatory from 1987 to 1993, he now serves on Denison's faculty and at Ohio University in Athens. He also served as a guest clinician at the American School of Double Bass in 1999. In 1993 he joined the Tony Bennett organization and toured 300 days a year in the states and internationally. He performed on three CDs -- "Steppin Out," "M.T.V. Unplugged," and "Here's to the Ladies" all of which were Grammy Award-winning. "M.T.V. Unplugged" was album of the year. Among the headliners Richeson has played with are Phil Collins Big Band, Ralph Sharon, Count Basie Orchestra, Quincy Jones and Rosemary Clooney.
Denison University,10th Annual Jazz Guitar Festival Opening Concert with the Rick Peckham Trio and Stan Smith, guitar, Doug Richeson, bass, and Guy Remonko, drums; 8 p.m., Friday (Nov. 3) Burke Recital Hall. Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6220 to confirm information.
Denison University,10th Annual Jazz Guitar Festival clinics; noon to 5 p.m., Saturday (Nov. 4), Burke Rehearsal Room. (see the Denison music department web site for specific times). Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6220 to confirm information.
Denison University,10th Annual Jazz Guitar Festival Concert with Howard Alden and Trio da Paz; 7:30 p.m., Saturday (Nov. 4), Burke Recital Hall. Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6220 to confirm information.
Denison University,10th Annual Jazz Guitar Festival Final Concert with Romera Lubambo with special guest, vocalist Pamela Driggs, Howard Alden Trio, Trio da Paz, Tom Carroll, Rick Peckham, Stan Smith, Tim Cummiskey and Chris Buzzelli; 3 p.m., Sunday (Nov. 5), Burke Recital Hall. Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6220 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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