Vail Jazz honored for paving educational path

Founder Howard Stone receives prestigious Downbeat Jazz Education Achievement Award.

Howard Stone has served as more than just a springboard for many young musicians’ career paths. But you’d be pressed to get him to admit it.

Try asking him about all the years he hosted the crew of Vail Jazz Workshop students in his very own home or about the time he personally bought shoes for a particularly necessitous young student and he consistently plays down his role.

So it’s no surprise when asking him about the extremely prestigious award he won this spring – the Jazz Education Achievement Award from Downbeat Magazine – that he immediately deflects all credit.

“I’m not an educator,” he says. “There is no question I started the program, but I want the individuals who actually educate to be recognized. It’s one thing to sit in a room and dream up an idea. Sometimes you want to slap idea people.”

Nobody wants to slap Stone. They just want to give him the award.

The education program he “dreamed up” is the Vail Jazz Workshop, launched 22 years ago when Stone realized after one year of organizing the Vail Jazz Festival that he should also establish a tideway for the future of the art form, enlisting famed bassist John Clayton as head mentor.

Each year, the Workshop hosts 12 of North America’s top teenage musical prodigies for 10 intensive days of focused training, all without the help of written music. Since the inaugural workshop, the team of educators has included John Clayton and his brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton (whose role was temporarily filled by Dick Oates for two seasons), as well as pianist Bill Cunliffe. Trumpeter Terell Stafford and drummer Lewis Nash joined the mentor team 21 and 17 years ago, respectively, followed by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon six years ago.

“There is a healthy understanding of the importance of “giving back, moving things forward and investing in the future,” John Clayton says of the Workshop.

“Some of it gets to be pretty emotional because you see the students at the beginning of the week and share so much,” Stafford adds. “You get to watch incredible relationships blossom.”

Attending the Vail Jazz Workshop has become such a benchmark achievement that organizers receive more than 140 applications from up-and-coming musicians for the 12 spots each year. All arrive with resumés reading like those of accomplished pros and leave with the distinctive, incomparable ability to play by ear.

The Vail Jazz Workshop has cultivated 250 students over the past two-plus decades and many have gone on to illustrious musical careers, including Grammy Award winner Robert Glasper, Beyoncé band member Tia Fuller and award-winning documentary Keep On Keepin’ On star Justin Kauflin.

“The Jazz Workshop allowed me to learn from some of the greatest jazz musicians around and gave me the chance to learn alongside peers that challenged and inspired me to strive to always improve,” Kauflin said during a return visit to Vail in 2014 with various other Vail Jazz Workshop Alumni.  “I’ve been able to keep in contact with faculty and students after the workshop and am so fortunate to be a part of such an elite network of musicians.”

Workshop days are intense. Step into any one of them and you are likely to find students glued to their instrument in heavy concentration of each note or clustered around the mentors, hanging on their every word. After the week of training, Workshops students graduate to the status of Vail Jazz All-Stars and get to take their freshly cultivated skills to the stage, opening the annual Vail Jazz Party over Labor Day weekend, followed by a set from Vail Jazz Workshop Alumni and the mentors themselves, dubbed the Vail Jazz Party House Band.

 

But the education efforts of Vail Jazz continue all year. Following the advent of the Vail Jazz Workshop, Stone teamed up with local piano paragon Tony Gulizia to launch Vail Jazz Goes to School, a four-part educational series delivered to every elementary school in the valley. Here, fourth and fifth graders learn the art of syncopation, the 12-bar blues and improvisation as well as lessons in the history and evolution of jazz music. Since its inception in 1998, Vail Jazz Goes to School has educated more than 18,000 young students. Gulizia’s team is comprised of his brother, Joey Gulizia on drums, Andy Hall (bass), Roger Neumann (woodwinds), Mike Gurciullo (trumpet) and Michael Pujado (congas and percussion).

In 2013, also with Gulizia in the instructional seat, Stone’s next brainchild came into fruition. Vail Jazz introduced Jammin’ Jazz Kids, a free, hands-on class offered to 4 to 12-year-old children every Sunday in July preceding the weekly Vail Jazz@ The Market performance. Gulizia and fellow musician/mentor Brian Loftus equip the crowd of youngsters with xylophones, congas, tambourines, bongos and maracas, and within a few magical moments, the kids are thundering out amazing rhythms. For several children, the experience is pivotal in encouraging instrumental hobbies.

True that Stone is not the teacher conducting the hand-to-hand and ear-to-ear exchanges in these educational sessions, but they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for him.

“There’s something to be said for creators and something more to be said for doers,” he says.

But doers cannot do until the creation is in place. The musical community, young and old, novice and pro, have Stone to thank for this.

Altogether, Vail Jazz delivers more than 50 educational programs every year, imparting musical knowledge to more than 1,400 students annually.

2017 Vail Jazz Gala July 10

Vail Jazz’s educational programs would also not exist if it weren’t for the generosity of donors and supporters. The annual Vail Jazz Gala serves as the organization’s No. 1 fundraiser for its educational programming.

The July 10 event, From Bridge Street to Bourbon Street is bound to do exactly that –  transport audiences to the heart of New Orleans. Starring iconic, New Orleans-based vocalist John Boutté and a colossal combination of Vail Jazz Workshop Alumni, the evening delivers a soulful performance as well as an exquisite dinner, cocktail and appetizer reception. For more information or tickets, visit vailjazz.org or call 888-VAIL-JAM.

Sunday Jazz Kicks off the Festival Season

Vail Jazz kicks off its solid summer of free live music programs this Sunday

For live music lovers, Sunday is about to become the best day of the week. Beginning this Sunday (June 26), the extravaganza of free jazz kicks off for the summer.

If you’ve strolled through the sea of stimulation that is the Vail Farmer’s Market, amid the colorful booths, cute dogs, long-lost friends and sweet aromas, your ears have probably perked up to the soundtrack of energetic live tunes.

Vail Jazz @ The Market

These Pied Piper-like melodies are emitted from the Jazz Tent at Solaris Plaza, home of Vail Jazz @ The Market. Beginning June 26, a rotation of popular, Colorado-grown artists perform for free from 12 to 3 p.m. A spicy six-piece ensemble of bass, percussion, horns, keyboards and vocals, Ritmo Jazz Latino kicks off the summer with infectious Latin rhythms while the peppy, Brazilian melodies of Ginga with percussionist ensemble Bateria Alegria light up the Market stage on July 3. The eclectic lineup continues throughout the summer with The Girshevich Trio, Dexter Payne Quintet, Joe Deninzon with The Mark Diamond Trio, The Hennessy 6, Kathy Morrow Quartet, BLT and Bob Rebholz, Katie Glassman and Snapshot and wrapping up with Chuck Lamb JazzFusion Quartet.

Vail Jazz @ The Market offers a refreshing respite from the sun and crowds, with dozens of seats available in the tent. Audience members come and go as they please and a sashay around the tent is always welcomed.

Jammin’ Jazz Kids

Your kids have a unique opportunity to uncover and unleash their musical talent for free on four Sundays in July as Vail Jazz once again offers Jammin’ Jazz Kids. An engaging, interactive workshop, Jammin’ Jazz Kids puts the instruments (congas, xylophones and more) directly into the hands of the kids and with a little professional instruction from experts Tony Gulizia and Brian Loftus, strike up surprisingly melodious harmonies within minutes. The free workshops are open to children between the ages of 4 and 12, with registration at 10:45 a.m. on July 3, 10, 17 and 24 at the Vail Jazz Tent at Solaris in Vail. Workshops are scheduled for 11 a.m. and last 45 minutes.

Colorado High School band showcase

Speaking of young talent, these teenagers have obviously already spent years refining their craft. Top musicians from high school jazz programs in Denver hit the Solaris stage for a free performance at 11 a.m. for four Sundays straight, from July 31 to Aug. 28. Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts, directed by Paul Romaine, kicks off the inaugural showcase of high school band stars on July 31, followed by the Kent Denver Jazz Combo, directed by Stephen Hailey onAug. 7. Then comes East High School 6th Hour Jazz Combo Aug. 14 and Denver School of Arts, directed by Dave Hammond to wrap up the showcase on Aug. 21. Again, all performances are free and begin at 11 a.m. at the Vail Jazz Tent on the Solaris Plaza in Vail Village for four Sundays beginning July 31.

Vail Jazz @ The Remedy

If there is any question as to where to find the swankiest, most happening bar scene in Vail on Sunday nights, look no further than The Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons Resort. Local piano star Tony Gulizia and drummer Brian Loftus lead a rotating line up of visiting musicians in feel-good dining and drinking vibes. The Remedy delivers exactly what it promises, a reparative combination of classic and creative cocktails, dazzling wine list, scrumptious selection of culinary concoctions, expansive patio with stunning mountain views and the frolicsome sounds of live jazz every Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. July 3.

These free Sunday offerings are part of the 22nd Annual Vail Jazz Festival, which kicks off on June 24 with Vail Summerfest and wraps up 60-plus shows later with the Labor Day Weekend Vail Jazz Party. The Festival brings international touring artists to Vail for free and ticketed performances each week over a 12-week period.

For more information or questions please call Vail Jazz at 888-VAIL-JAM

Jammin’ Jazz Kids debuts July 7th – free interactive program for kids!

Is your child a future jazz star? Vail Jazz Festival launches Jammin’ Jazz Kids Sunday, July 7.

It’s true that certain children have a natural gift for music, but others just need to get their hands on an instrument to unveil their hidden talent. They get their chance this Sunday with the Vail Jazz Festival’s inaugural Jammin’ Jazz Kids.

Welcoming all children 6 to 12 years old, Jammin’ Jazz Kids features local piano sensation Tony Gulizia instructing a free hands-on jazz class using a variety of Orff instruments: tambourines, bongos, congas, maracas and xylophones specially set up with the blues scale. “It’s so important for children of this age to learn about the musical world and the importance of it,” says Gulizia, who has taught thousands of children’s musical classes throughout Vail Valley, including The Vail Jazz Foundation’s Jazz Goes to School program.

Children will discover the art of improvisation, the key focus of this first round of Jammin’ Jazz Kids. The series continues with a drum circle for children on July 28 and Latin percussion improvisation on Aug. 18. “It’s a lot more rewarding and has a much higher educational aspect when the kids are getting to learn hands-on,” Gulizia says. “You take the knowledge and the ability with you when you learn how to do it yourself.”

Jammin’ Jazz Kids takes place at the Jazz Tent in front of Solaris at the Vail Farmers Market on Sunday, July 7. The class is free and open to any child ages 6 to 12. Sign up from 10:45 to 11 a.m. The class is 45 minutes and precedes Jazz @ The Market, which features the Tony Gulizia Trio from 12 to 3 p.m.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

WHEN: Sunday, July 7 11 a.m., Registration 10:45 a.m.

WHERE: Jazz Tent at Solaris at the Vail Farmers Market & Art Show, Vail Village

COST: Free

INFO: vailjazz.org

Line up for 19th Annual Vail Jazz Festival Announced

March 20, 2013 – Vail, Colorado – The Vail Jazz Foundation announces the line-up of world class jazz performers for Thursday night Jazz @ Vail Square concert series and the Labor Day Weekend Jazz Party, both part of the 19th Annual Vail Jazz Festival.

“Last year’s line-up set the bar very high for Vail Jazz, but this summer’s schedule surpasses anything we have done in our 19 year history. While ‘Jazz’ is only a four letter word, it covers a lot of musical territory, including blues, Latin, swing, Brazilian, Gospel, straight ahead, bebop and beyond, and we will offer it all and much more over a spectacular 12 week summer Jazz Festival,” said Howard Stone, the chairman and artistic director of the Vail Jazz Foundation.

 

VAIL JAZZ AND BRAVO! VAIL

Vail Jazz will once again collaborate with Bravo! Vail by jointly presenting four performances, the first of which will be on June 28th at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. “The Golden Age of Jazz” will be Bravo! Vail’s season opener and will feature jazz artists Byron Stripling, Jeff Clayton and Wycliffe Gordon along with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jeff Tyzik. In addition, Vail Jazz and Bravo! Vail will once again present the very popular “Jazz After” series of jam sessions on June 29, July 10 and July 24, with performances by members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Tickets for Jazz After will go on sale soon.

 

JAZZ @ THE MARKET AND JAMMIN’ JAZZ KIDS

In addition, the very popular Jazz @ The Market returns to the Vail Farmers’ Market each Sunday, June 23- August 25th, with free shows in the jazz tent on the green at Solaris. For the first time Vail Jazz will introduce Jammin’ Jazz Kids, which includes elements of the popular Jazz Goes to School program as complimentary programming with the Jazz @ The Market series. On three Sundays, July 7, 28 and August 18, prior to the performance in the jazz tent, children ages 6 to 12 are invited to join jazz musicians for an interactive, educational jazz experience that allows each participant a hands-on opportunity to learn the fundamentals of jazz. Participating youth will play a variety of percussion instruments – maracas, bongos, congas, tambourines, xylophones and Orff instruments. In addition, they will listen to and join with jazz musicians in playing music and learning the art of improvisation.

 

JAZZ @ VAIL SQUARE

The 9-show series of Jazz @ Vail Square returns beginning on July 4 th and running through August 29th . The series opens on July 4 th as Vail Jazz pays tribute to “The Red, White & The Blues” featuring a double billed line-up of Vail favorite Curtist Stigers and New York blues man, SaRon Crenshaw and continues with Cuban sensation Wil Campa y su Gran Union, jazz guitar duo Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, John Pizzarelli Quartet, Tommy Igoe Sextet, Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers and the Clayton Brothers Sextet and their students, the Vail Jazz All-Stars. The All-Stars, twelve of the best high school-aged jazz musicians, will have spent 10 days leading up to Labor Day Weekend under the tutelage of the Clayton Brothers Sextet. The Vail Jazz Workshop is widely known as the pre-eminent jazz education program in the country for young jazz musicians and serves as a launching pad for future jazz professionals.

Preferred seating will be available for $20 in advance; $25 day of show or for $99 for the nine-series Jazz Pass. “Preferred seating give guests the ability to get their choice of seats,” says Executive Director Robin Litt. “These tickets and the Jazz Pass allow you to arrive at your leisure and know that you will have a premium spot to enjoy the performance.” The remainder of the tent will remain free on a first-come, first-serve basis. Recommended donation of $5 is encouraged to support the 501(c)(3) Vail Jazz Foundation, which produces the Vail Jazz Festival and its unique educational programming that are at the core of its mission.

 

THE VAIL JAZZ PARTY

Labor Day Weekend marks the 19 th Annual Vail Jazz Party, a unique party format designed so every musician is featured every day of the holiday weekend, in many cases in a jam session format. Audience members have the opportunity to interact with performers in an intimate and special setting. This year’s Party features new and returning groups, accomplished soloists and a variety of special shows designed to both educate and entertain. 2013 will bring together a list of who’s who in jazz today. Favorites from 2012, Cyrille Aimée and Diego Figuerido, return after wowing Vail guests and residents in their debut appearance. Festival favorites, the Clayton Brothers Sextet (John Clayton, Jeff Clayton, Terell Stafford, Wycliffe Gordon, Lewis Nash and Bill Cunliffe) will perform throughout the weekend, together and in multiple configurations, serving as anchor and a major force at the Vail Jazz Party. Drummer Jeff Hamilton will be joined by his trio mates Tamir Hendelman on piano and Christoph Luty on bass. The Vail Jazz Alumni Quartet, all past members of the Vail Jazz Workshop and current touring musicians, will be composed of Sullivan Fortner, piano, David Wong, bass, Jimmy Macbride, drums and Tia Fuller, saxophone.

The Vail Jazz Party is known for its creative and entertaining educational programming through the presentation of muti-media presentations. Special shows in 2013 will include Shelly Berg’s MultiMedia History of Stride and Boogie Woogie Piano, Jeff Clayton’s Alto Show, Ken Peplowski & Diego Figueiredo’s Tribute to Charlie Byrd and the Bossa Nova Years, and Byron Stripling’s MultiMedia Salute to Miles Davis. The Vail Jazz All-Stars will also be featured in free performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The extremely popular Sunday morning Gospel show will once again be presented, but with some very special added features: joining Niki Haris’ Gospel Prayer Meetin’ will be the Mile Hi Gospel Ensemble; and the audience will be invited to sing along with Niki and the choir as songe lyrics will be provided to the audience.

Solosist include familiar faces to the Vail Jazz Party, including Ernie Adams ,drums, Karen Hammack, piano, Byron Stripling, trumpet and vocals. Newcomers to Vail will be Bruce Forman, guitar, Ken Peplowski, tenor sax, and Akiko Tsuruga, Hammond B-3 organ.

The Vail Jazz Party offers over 30 hours of jazz over a five day period, with jazz shows taking place at the Jazz Tent at Vail Square on Thursday night and during the days on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and at the event’s host hotel, the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort in the Ballroom on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Late night sets that go into the early morning hours take place at “Wing’s Place” at the Marriott and create a real jam session atmosphere for artists to stretch out and have a “musical conversation” with their peers. Jazz music floods Vail with over eight separate shows featuring multiple sets in each show.

When Howard Stone was asked to explain why the Jazz Party is so special, the usually loquacious Stone said, “Unfortunately, words cannot adequately describe the magic that takes place over the Labor Day Weekend. Suffice it to say that when you get 30 of the best jazz musician together with a crowd of passionate jazz fans in a beautiful place like Vail, great jazz happens.”

The line-up of artists for Jazz @ The Market and the Sunday night series, Jazz @ Kelly Liken, will be announced in early May.

 

PASSES NOW ON SALE

Patron Passes for the Vail Jazz Party are now on sale at www.vailjazz.org and by calling 888-VAIL JAM or 970-479-6146. The $385 Patron Pass includes priority access to all eight performances, exclusive opening night party on Thursday and dinner with the artists on Saturday. Gift certificates are also available. Tickets to Jazz @ Vail Square, Jazz After jazz jams and individual session tickets for Vail Jazz Party will go on sale soon. Lodging and travel discounts are provided to Jazz Party attendees. Information is available at www.vailjazz.org .