18th Vail Jazz Workshop commences

You’ve heard of young musical prodigies, seen movies about them discovering their uncanny knack to play a particular instrument like a professional adult when they are only 5 years old and surmount obstacles such as poverty, loss and relocation. But just imagine the energy and combined prowess that abounds when you get 12 of such characters together as one well-tuned team ready to play their hearts out.

The summer grand finale of the Vail Jazz Festival is the five-day live music Labor Day Weekend Party. Bringing in the country’s top contemporary jazz artists, to ensure a future of continued stardom, every year the festival selects 12 teenagers from across the country for an intensive, 10-day workshop with mentors John and Jeff Clayton, Bill Cunliffe, Wycliffe Gordon, Lewis Nash and Terrell Stafford.

After the intensive training, the 12 students transform into the Vail Jazz All-Stars and perform throughout the weekend party, kicking off Thursday for Jazz @ Vail Square and again Saturday and Sunday.

Of course, every one of the students arrives with an inspiring story behind his talent.

Drummer Adrian Cota’s begins when he was 2 years old, listening to his father’s Latin band rehearse at their home in Sinoloa, Mexico. Surrounded by a family of musicians, the young Cota would spend so much time listening and would get so absorbed that one time he fell asleep on one of the speakers. “The reason why I chose drums is I always hear a pulse. I think it started when I was very little. I always liked to be precise – that’s how I see myself. I like pulse, something that’s always there.” says 17-year-old Cota, who started his senior year of high school last week.

Driven by his desire and supported by his family who wanted him to have a real opportunity to steer his talent into the spotlight, Cota left Mexico three years ago to live with an uncle in Los Angeles.

He has made great strides so far, not only selected as a drummer for the Grammy Band Jazz Combo and receiving full scholarships for several residency and jazz programs, but Cota has also managed to adopt a full command of the English language during his short time in the U.S.

Cota has received a full scholarship to this year’s 18th Annual Vail Jazz Workshop. “I couldn’t speak that much English when I got here. I learned most of it here,” he says. “I knew it was something that I really needed. There was no other option. I had a lot of struggle with it, but I got better. I told myself I’m going to learn English. When you want something and know you need it, it just happens.”

It’s with that same drive and commitment that Cota aims to one day be surrounded by his whole family – who visited him for a few days before he made the trip to Vail – and lead his own band.

“You might think I’m getting a little deep right now, but everything is related to love. I moved here and knew it was going to be hard,” Cota says. “But I had a dream. I knew I was going to accomplish it. I would like to be together with my family. If they were here it would be amazing. But my dad is the director for our own family band in Mexico. He’s pretty well-known there. I really want them to be here at some point. I want to stay here and make music.”

As far as being selected for the Vail Jazz Workshop, Cota is still in awe that he was even considered for it. “I was really excited first of all that I got recommended. Lewis Nash is one of my favorite drummers. I saw him in concert once. That inspired me a lot,” he says. “When I auditioned and I got in, I couldn’t believe it. It’s such a beautiful feeling to really want it and then get it. I was prepared, though. If I didn’t make it, I would be glad just that I got the interview.”

Raised in New Orleans in the care of his grandmother, 17-year-old trombonist Jeffrey Miller comes from a different background but his story is equally inspiring. He too, is driven by a love for music … and a good bit of talent, too.

“Music is literally my life,” Miller says. “So, the only thing I really do besides music is school. I go to Ben Franklin High School for my academics and then NOCCA in the afternoon. Ben Franklin has a pretty rigorous curriculum, so I can be pretty hard to juggle that AND my music. For example, since my sophomore year, I’ve been performing every Wednesday night with Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor from 8 p.m. to sometimes 12 a.m. You can see how that would be challenging to do that and go to school the next day.”

Miller still manages to “do the regular teenager stuff, like movies and dating,” but he has some notches on his belt that a scarce few 17-year-olds posses, playing with jazz greats and also appearing on the HBO series “Treme.”

But the performance at Carnegie Hall is his standout achievement to date. “There are a lot,” he says of his musical highlights so far. “But if I had to choose, it would be performing at Carnegie Hall when I was 15 with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. It was a sold out concert and I was just so thankful from the plane ride out there to the performance itself because not many people get to say that they’ve played Carnegie Hall, let alone at 15. I don’t mean to sound cocky or anything, but I was just so thankful and blessed. And it was my very first time in New York at all, so that in itself was a new experience for me, you know?”

When asked where he sees himself in the future, Miller doesn’t mince words. “You know, standard rich and famous-type stuff,” he says, but is then quick to delve into his more profound ambitions and also gush with gratitude to his one-woman support team.

“I’m not in it just for the money, of course,” Miller says. “I want to change the world with my music. I want my music to make people feel happy, or emotional … just any way they want to feel. But the only reason the money wouldn’t be such a bad idea is because of my grandmother. Since my mom passed when I was a year old, she’s been raising my twin sister and me. Really, without her, I definitely wouldn’t be who and where I am today. She is the one who always supported my endeavors and sacrificed so much so that I’d be where I am today and the least I can and WILL do is make sure I pay her back for all the time, money and love she’s selflessly given to me. I want to be rich for her. I want to change the world for her. I want HER to be happy, and I want her to see that all her hard work and sleepless nights were in no way in vain.”

Miller has also received a full scholarship to the Vail Jazz Workshop. The Vail Jazz Workshop is funded through individual donations from supporters of The Vail Jazz Foundation.

Don’t miss the Vail Jazz Workshop AKA Vail Jazz All-Stars, which, in addition to Cota on drums and Miller on trombone, are comprised of Ashwin Prasanna on drums, Kyle Tilstra on trombone, John Michael Bradford and Fernando Ferrarone on trumpet, Cole Davis and Nashir Janmohamed on bass, Jamael Dean and Micah Thomas on piano and Alejandro Ramirez on alto saxophone.

Following their performance Thursday, their mentors themselves will play a set.

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.


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

Jazz Goes to School Sextet to Fill Vilar With Sounds of Jazz – Public is invited!

April 24, 2013 – Vail, Colorado – When Jazz Goes to School wraps up its fifteenth year in Eagle County with three special jazz performances at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on May 6 & 7 featuring the Jazz Goes to School Sextet, members of the public are invited to attend. “This is such a rich and exciting performance that we want to open it up to the whole community,” said Robin Litt, executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation. Tickets are available to the public for the three performances at $15/adults and $5/children. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Vilar Center Community Performance Fund. Performances take place at 9:30 am and 1:00pm on Monday, May 6th and at 9:30 am on Tuesday, May 7th . Ticket can be purchased at www.vilarpac.org or by calling 970-845- TIXS (8497).

The fourth and final session of the Jazz Goes to School educational program, entitled “A Tribute to the Giants of Jazz”, features a selection of tunes that have shaped the history of jazz in America. Local jazz musician and professional jazz educator, Tony Gulizia (keyboard and vocals), directs the Jazz Goes to School program. “The concert includes legendary jazz tunes by Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and others”, said Gulizia. “We also perform a medley of blues compositions authored by the fifth graders as part of the concert – their lyrics are priceless!” said Gulizia.

Tony Gulizia’s brother Joey, also a professional jazz musician and educator (drummer), joins Tony on stage, as does Andy Hall (bass), Roger Neumann (saxophone), Mike Gurciullo (trumpet) and Michael Pujado (congas and percussion). The sextet presents a dynamic, foot stompin’ show that pulls together all the concepts taught in the first three classroom sessions, as demonstrated in some of Jazz’ finest works.

Jazz Goes to School is presented by the Vail Jazz Foundation (VJF), a 501 c3 charitable foundation dedicated to the perpetuation of jazz through performances and education, with a focus on young musicians and young audiences. The program educates over 1,100 fourth and fifth graders annually in the Eagle County School District RE-50J, plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, The Vail Academy, Stone Creek Charter School, St. Clare of Assisi, and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Jazz Goes to School has exposed over 15,000 school students to jazz music since inception.

New in 2013, elements of Jazz Goes to School will be offered to local and visiting youngsters in three free interactive sessions called “Jammin’ Jazz Kids” on July 7, July 28 and August 18th in conjunction with Jazz @ The Market on the Solaris green. “We can’t wait to bring parts of Jazz Goes to School’s successful and engaging programming to the community in a new environment,” said Litt, “Kids will have hands-on educational and entertaining opportunities to learn the fundamentals of jazz.” Youngsters, ages 6-12, will play a variety of percussion instruments – maracas, bongos, congas, tambourines, xylophones and Orff instruments in the programs, which will take place at 11am on each of the respective Sundays. Participating children will also listen to and join with jazz musicians in playing music and learning the art of improvisation.

Jazz Goes to School is sponsored in part by Alpine Bank, Vilar PAC Community Use Fund, Colorado Mountain Express (Official Transportation Provider), Eagle County RE-50J School District elementary school PTOs, PTOs of the private and charter schools, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, United Way Eagle River Valley, Vail Resorts Echo, Vilar Performing Arts Center, AmericInn, Antlers at Vail, Local Joe’s Pizza, and numerous private donors.

Ticket to Jazz Goes to School Sextet on May 6 and 7 can be purchased at www.vilarpac.org or by calling 970-845-TIXS (8497).

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 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.



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.



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.



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.



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 .

Jazz Goes to School returns to Eagle County February 27 – March 1

February 20, 2012 – Vail, Colorado – Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation’s music education program for 4 th and 5th graders, returns to Eagle County schools starting February 27. This third session brings a trio of professional musician/educators into 14 local schools to share their love of jazz and American History, and to inspire young people to embrace America’s own art form, whether as spectator or musician.

The program is lead by musician/educator Tony Gulizia. “When the kids get to use their own hands to play an instrument as they do in this session, the beauty of the music really comes alive for them. They understand how it works and why improvisation is at the heart of all jazz music,” said Gulizia.

In this session, a trio of jazz musicians introduces the blues scale and other techniques used in improvisation. Students are taught the notes of the blues scale and musical concepts like dissonance. With this foundation, the older students then get a chance to try their hand at creating their own jazz by writing 12 bar blues compositions, lyrics put to a blues beat. At the final concert on April 30 and May 1 at the Vilar Performing Arts Centere a selection of the students’ blues compositions will be presented in medley to the delight of young composers, scattered in the audience. The surprise on their faces when they realize they just heard their lyrics is unforgettable.

“Most kids would never be exposed to jazz, much less understand its development and relevance to American history, without this program”, said Dawn Vallejos, music teacher at Eagle Valley Elementary School, which participates in the program. The program provides music teachers with a comprehensive curriculum, pre and post lesson plans and follow up activities, all of which complement the sessions with the musicians in the classroom.


About Jazz Goes to School

Jazz Goes to School, now in its fourteenth year, supports and promotes the jazz art form with a focus on educating young musicians and young audiences – fulfilling the mission of the Vail Jazz Foundation. Tony Gulizia (keyboard and vocals), directs the program for the Vail Jazz Foundation. The rhythm section for session three is completed by Gulizia’s brother Joey on drums, and Andy Hall on bass.

Jazz Goes to School is presented by the Vail Jazz Foundation (VJF) to Eagle County 4 th and 5 th graders, including all public schools plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, The Vail Academy, Stone Creek Elementary School and St. Clare of Assisi. Jazz Goes to School will reach over 1,100 Eagle County students this school year and has exposed over 11,000 students to this unique American art form since its inception.

Jazz Goes to School offers an interactive musical learning experience that enhances the basic school curriculum. The program is provided free of charge, thanks to the support of each school’s PTO/PTA and program sponsors including Alpine Bank, Vail Resorts Echo, Vilar Community Performance Fund, Colorado Mountain Express (Official Transportation Provider), Eagle County RE-50J School District, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, United Way of Eagle River Valley, Vail Valley Foundation, Vilar Performing Arts Center, and other corporate sponsors.

Eagle County 4th and 5th Graders Swing with Jazz Goes to School

January 5, 2012 – Vail, Colorado – Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation’s jazz education program for 4 th and 5th graders, returns to Eagle County schools January 9-12. The program features a quintet of professional musician/educators who travel to all 16 local elementary schools to share their love of jazz and American history, and inspire young people to embrace jazz: America’s own art form.

This second session of the four part program examines the foundation of jazz music; the rhythm section. “We want to introduce the kids to the heart of jazz; the cool combination of drums, piano and bass forms the core of all jazz music”, said program director Tony Gulizia. “Now we add in the saxophone and percussion to create a clean cool sound they love.” continued Gulizia.

The children have the opportunity to not only hear the quintet play, but also to participate by playing special melodic and percussion instruments. Later in the Jazz Goes to School curriculum, the older students try their hand at creating jazz music. The final concert includes blues compositions created by the fifth graders, performed in medley at the final concert.

Gulizia is not the only one who appreciates how Jazz Goes to School makes a difference for local kids. Vail Resorts Echo, the company’s philanthropy program, has identified Jazz Goes to School as a necessary and valuable way to help bring the arts back into our schools. Parents of 4th and 5th graders are encouraged to attend their children’s program next week to share their enthusiasm for what they learn.

“Vail Resorts supports Jazz Goes to School as an incredibly important program that teaches the wonders of Jazz to the children of Eagle County,” said Nicky DeFord, Manager of Charitable Giving for Vail Resorts Echo.Tony Gulizia (keyboard and vocals), directs the Jazz Goes to School program for the Vail Jazz Foundation. Gulizia is joined by his brother Joey, who is also a professional jazz musician and educator, on drums. Other musician/educators performing this week include Andy Hall (bass), Roger Neumann (saxophone), and Michael Pujado (percussion).


About Jazz Goes To School

Jazz Goes to School, which is in its 15th year, supports and promotes the jazz art form with a focus on educating young musicians and young audiences – fulfilling the mission of the Vail Jazz Foundation.

Jazz Goes to School is presented by the Vail Jazz Foundation (VJF) to Eagle County 4 th and 5 th graders, including all public schools plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, The Vail Academy, Stone Creek Elementary School and St. Clare of Assisi. Jazz Goes to School reaches over 1,100 students each year, and has exposed over 11,000 school students to a course about this uniquely American art form. The public is welcome to attend a session at one of the schools, please contact the Vail Jazz Foundation at 970-479-6146 to arrange a visit.

Jazz Goes to School offers a unique interactive learning experience that enhances the basic school curriculum and is provided free of charge, thanks to each school’s PTO and program sponsors, including Alpine Bank, Vail Resorts Echo, Vilar Center Community Performance Fund, Colorado Mountain Express (Official Transportation Provider), Eagle County RE-50J School District, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, United Way of Eagle River Valley, and other corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Vail Jazz Workshop alumni named prestigious 2009 Brubeck Fellow

June 24, 2009 — You may be familiar with the work of the Vail Jazz Foundation; perhaps you’ve enjoyed a Vail Jazz Festival concert, your kids may have told you about Jazz Goes to School, or you may have even heard of the Vail Jazz Workshop. But the Vail Jazz Foundation’s endless pursuit of supporting the jazz art form extends far beyond Eagle County, as do its results.

The Brubeck Institute, one of the most acclaimed jazz studies programs worldwide, recently announced The Brubeck Fellows for this coming year. Being named a Brubeck Fellow is one of the most coveted honors possible for a high school jazz musician.

Prestigious indeed, since the Brubeck Fellows become members of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, five recently graduated jazz musicians who have been selected to study jazz at University
of the Pacific for two years.

The Brubeck Fellows perform together at over 25 concerts each year around the U.S., which affords them a unique opportunity to gain performance experience while continuing their formal education.

And Downbeat magazine, which many consider to be the “Bible” of
jazz, recently named the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet as the finest college jazz group in the nation.

So what is the big deal? Well, for 2009, the Brubeck Fellows have been named, and each and every one of them is an alumnus of the Vail Jazz Workshop, an educational program of the Vail Jazz Foundation.

The Brubeck Fellows for 2009 are: Noah Kellman, piano, Zach Brown, bass, Corey Fonville, drums, Nick Frenay, trumpet and Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, saxophone.

“We are absolutely thrilled that five of our Workshop alumni have been recognized with this tremendous honor,” said Howard Stone, chairman of the Vail Jazz Foundation. “It’s a testament to each of them, and to the dedication and skill of our educators, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for their years of service supporting these young jazz artists.”

For the past 14 years, the Vail Jazz Foundation has produced a 10-day-long intensive jazz workshop in Vail that has helped shape some of the most promising young jazz artists of today.

The program graduates a dozen students each year, each of whom has been chosen from hundreds of highly gifted high school aged jazz musicians in North America. Grammy award winning bassist, composer and educator John Clayton leads the workshop, and he is joined by four other professional musician/educators, John’s brother Jeff Clayton (saxophone), Bill Cunliffe (piano), Terell Stafford (trumpet) and Lewis Nash (drums).

“The entire staff is consistently blown away at the quality and talent of these young musicians,” said Clayton, who also serves as Director of Education for the Vail Jazz Foundation. “It’s a true privilege to teach these kids and watch as they go on to achieve great success in later years.”

Mia Vlaar, executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation, said the 2009 workshop students will be announced in a matter of days.

“Once they’ve completed the workshop, we refer to them as the VJF All-Stars, in recognition of their accomplishment,” said Vlaar.

On Sept. 3 in Vail Square, 2009 VJF All Stars will take the stage with the Clayton Brothers Quintet and will perform as part of the Vail Jazz Festival.

“Last year the audience was mesmerized by the talent of these kids, and we expect the 2009 group will wow them as well,” said Vlaar.

The concert is free and takes place at 6 p.m. in a tented venue just outside the Arrabelle Hotel in the Lionshead area of Vail.

By realvail.com