Jazz News & Notices

Concert Season for 2017

On March 6th, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band released 'Dixie Jass Band One Step' and 'Livery Stable Blues' for the Columbia Gramophone Company.  These sides became hits and gave Americans across the country their first taste of America's original art form, jazz.  "Erie Celebrates 100 Years of Recorded Jazz" is a year long celebration of the music that followed this inauguration, presented by JazzErie, the sponsors listed below, and the Pennsylvania Partnership for the Arts.

JazzErie's Series has so far presented a number of great events:

  • Presentation by jazz author Mark Gridley at Gannon University, co-sponsored by the Schuster Foundation and Gannon University,
  • "Celebrating Swing" concert with Long's School of Dance and the Presque Isle Swing Orchestra,  co-sponsored by Long's School of Dance.
  • Next Generation Concert at McLane H.S. featuring student bands and the Misery Bay Big Band with Sal Andolina.  Co-sponsored by Gen. McLane H.S. and Band Boosters.
  • JazzErie's Annual Jazz & Blues Walk, featuring the Bruce Johnstone Trio, co-sponsored by the Erie Art Museum and participating venues.
  • "Thumbscrew" avant garde jazz with Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek  and Tomas Fujiwara, at PACA. Produced by PACA, co-sponsored by JazzErie.
  • WQLN "spimds Around Town" concert re-creating the legendary 'Jazz at the Philharmonic" format, co-sponsored ny JazzErie and WQLN.

JazzErie Celebratges 100 Years of Recorded Jazz


Weds., Sept. 6   Tom Rainey Trio, with Ingrid Laubrach - reeds, Downbeat Award-Winner Mary Halvorson - guitar and Tom Rainey - drums.  PACA, 1505 State St.  8:00 p.m. Donation encouraged.

Fri., Oct. 6   Singer Vanessa Rubin and saxophonist Don Braden  8:00 p.m., Erie Art Museum.  Suggested donation $20 general admission, $15 JazzErie members.  Co-sponsored with Erie Art Museum.

Sat., Oct. 28   Erie Philharmonic Pops Orchestra, featuring Chris Brubeck Quartet.  8:00 p.m., Warner Theater.  Ticket information at www.eriephil.org or call (814) 455-1375.  Co-sponsored by JazzErie.

Fri., Nov. 17   Bobby Selvaggio and Red Rhinoscerous.  8:00 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum, 5th St. entrance.  Suggested donation $20 general admission, $15 JazzErie members. Co-sponsored by the Erie Art Museum.


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Bolden Band, 1905ORIGINS.

The precise origins of the music we call jazz are obscure.  What is well understood is that an amalgam of African percussion and chants, celebratory funeral marches, syncopated ragtime, Creole dance music laced with improvisation, and other musical fodder was passed around among musicians and was in the air in New Orleans and other cities in the nineteen-teens.

Jelly Roll MortonBut the earliest commercially released recordings (a novel technology at that time) identified as Jazz (or Jass) can be identified and dated -- in 1917.  Ironically, they featured white musicians.  The Bolden Band, shown at right, was one of many earlier black and Creole groups. At one point the Bolden band included a young Louis Armstrong. Pianist Jelly Roll Morton also laid claim to originating jazz, and early recordings certainly bear out his contributions to a rhythmic "swing" feel in his music.

Improvisation and swing.

From these widespread experiments emerged a style of group improvisation, now called "Dixieland," and  soon transplanted northward to Chicago and other cities across the Eastern Seaboard and Midwest, as the Great Migration brought black Americans and others to employment and fewer restrictions that in the South., Hastened by the developing technologies of phonograph records and radio, this new musicc, which involved improvisatory, rhythmic drive and nuance, rooted in many cultures, was called "jazz," and was promulgated across the U.S.  In a very short period of time, it found an enthusiastic audience and dancers in new generations if the '20's, '30's and '40's. 

During these decades, the music evolved rapidly, into swing, big band, "hot" and "cool" styles, and much more.  Some styles were marked by their association with particular cities or regions ("Chicago," "Kansas City," "West Coast, "Afro-Cuban"), some by unique harmonic/rhythmic approaches (be-beop< fusion)..  We won't try to cover it all.  But we will provide some great samples.

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On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Tom Rainey Trio will perform at PACA, 1505 State St. for an 8:00 p.m. concert.

The trio features Ingrid Laubach on reeds,  Rainey on drums, and Mary Halvorson on guitar,  Donation encouraged.  More information to come.  More experimental jazz at PACA! 

Tom Rainey TrioGuitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has been called "NYC's least-predictable improviser" (Howard Mandel, City Arts), "the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now" (Lars Gotrich, NPR.org <http://npr.org/> ) and "one of today's most formidable bandleaders" (Francis Davis, Village Voice).

In this year's Downbeat Critics Poll (released this month), she emerged as the surprise winner in four categories:  Guiitar,   Rising Stgar - Guitar,  Rising Star - Jazz Group[, and Rising Star - Copmposer  Thanks to the efforts of PACA and Rick Lopez, we get to hear her for the second time this summer.

Ms. Halvorson is best known for her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, and more recently for her solo guitar project, Meltframe. She has several other projects as a bandleader including a quintet, septet and octet. Collaborative projects include a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew (with Michael Formanek and Tomas Fujiwara) and Secret Keeper (with Stephan Crump). Ms. Halvorson is also an active member of bands led by Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Mike Reed and Marc Ribot, among others.

Ingrid Laubach, an established NYC avant garde saxophonist, leads four groups, including the Ingrid Laubach Octet, and collaborates in many others, including the Tom Rainey Trio.  She has appearred and recorded in Halvorson's Septet, which received high ratings for the NYC press, including the New York Times. 

Drummer Tom Rainey, the Trio's leader, attended berklee College of Music (Boston) before moving to NYC in 1979.  He has appeared with Tim Berne, Nels Cline, Tony Malaby, Drrew Gress, Kenny Werner and Mark Helias.

He has established himself as a talented session musician,  appearing in over 80 recordings over the past 25 years.  He rreleased his first album as a leader, "Pool School" (Clean Feed) in 2010.

Vanessa RubinDon BradenOctober 6     Vanessa Rubin and Don Braden     Erie Art Museum, 5th St. entrance,  8:00 p.m., Suggested donation $20, JazzErie members $15.  Co-ssponsored with the Erie Art Museum.

Cleveland-born, now internationally famous vocalist Vanessa Rubin will join saxophonist Don Braden and others for a performance at the Erie Art Museum on Oct. 6.

After establishing her reputation in the Cleveland area, Vanessa moved to NYC in 1986 and soon was playing regular gigs with Kenny Barron, Mercer Ellington and others.  She is also a certified teacher by profession and a jazz educator.  She has been an adjudicator for the Thelonious Monk Institute and Jazz At Lincoln Center.  Her latest recording, with Braden, is titled "Full Circle."

Don Braden has been a jazz soloist and leader for 30+ years.  He has made 19 CD's as a leader, has worked with Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes and many others.

Sat., Oct. 28   Erie Philharmonic Pops Orchestra, featuring Chris Brubeck Quartet.  8:00 p.m., Warner Theater.  Ticket information at www.eriephil.org or call (814) 455-1375.  Co-sponsored by JazzErie.

Trombonist/bassist Chris Brubeck and drummer Dan Brubeck ancho the quartet, along with pianist Chuck Lamb and guitarist Mike DiMicco.

Nov. 17    Bobby Selvaggio and Red Rhinocerous.  8:00 p.m., Erie Art Museum, 5th St. entrance..  Following a career in NYC, where he played with many notables, and garnered accolades from fellow saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Kenny Werner,  Selvaggio returned to NE Ohio to direct the Jazz Studies program at Kent State University.  He has formed and played with a number of groups in the region. His latest is a revival of his band Red Bobby SelvaggioRhinocerous.

Suggested donation $20; JazzErie membeers $15.

WE WELCOME YOUR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THESE EVENTS.  WE'RE EXCITED BY THE SERIES, AND BY THE QUALITY OF THE EVENTS LISTED ABOVE. We appreeciate the originality and hard work of JazzErie President Allen Zurcher and the JazzErie Performance Committee in assemboing this outstanding lineup of concerts.  We appreciate the support we have received from many sources, including out Members. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU.

If you have questions, please contact me at 814/923-4101 or rwtqveta12191@hotmail.com.

By Dick Thompson


January 22, 2017