Maine Jazz Camp returns to UMF

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FARMINGTON – Once again, the Maine Jazz Camp is returning to Farmington for three weeks, starting Sunday, July 6. Under the direction of Christine Correa, the Maine Jazz camp offers students the opportunity to work with some of the greatest jazz educators and most vital players working in jazz today.

Maine Jazz Camp also offers the public the opportunity to hear these great players as they take turns leading performances, which are free (with donations accepted for the Jazz Camp scholarships for students). The faculty performances are held Sundays through Thursdays at 8 p.m. in C131 Roberts Learning Center at the University of Maine at Farmington. Student performances are held Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m..

During the first week, starting on Sunday, July 6, the Jazz Camp faculty will include John O’Gallagher, alto, Russ Johnson, trumpet, Alan Ferber, trombone, Pete McCann, Alexis Cuadrado, bass, Owen Howard, drums, Ben Waltzer, piano, Vardan Ovsepian, piano, and Jeremy Udden, alto. The next week, starting on July 13, the musicians will be Bill McHenry, tenor, Dave Scott, trumpet, Curtis Fowlkes, trombone, Nate Radley, guitar, Matt Pavolka, bass, Tony Moreno, drums, Kris Davis, piano, and Daniel Blake, tenor. The final week will feature Andrew Rathbun, tenor, John Carlson, trumpet, Art Baron, trombone, Kenny Wessel, guitar, Michael Sarin, drums, Frank Carlberg, piano, and Thomson Kneeland, bass.

Two of the Jazz Camp’s premier musicians are Curtis Fowlkes and Art Baron. Trombonist Baron joined the Duke Ellington band in August 1973, at the age of 23, during the last year Ellington led the band. Baron has performed and/or recorded with Buddy Rich, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Bobby Watson, and many other first-rate musicians. Trombonist Fowlkes is a veteran of the venerable “Jazz Passengers,” an eclectic group dedicated to putting entertainment and humor back into jazz. Also, Fowlkes contributed to the Grammy-winning “Unspeakable,” and appeared in Robert Altman’s 1996 film Kansas City. Oh yes, Week One features Alan Ferber, just one more great trombonist!

David Burgess, an avid jazz fan, has had the opportunity to hear a few of these musicians at other venues and recordings. He caught two of his favorites, Michael Sarin, and then Curtis Fowlkes, at the Litchfield (Connecticut Jazz Festival last year. David is also a big fan of Bill McHenry, and notes this quote from New York Times critic Ben Ratliff: “Any musician who works so effectively against a common language, and uses cliché so little in the process, is worth listening to … He can play with un-orthodox structure and get as free as you want, but he maintains a ripe, lovely tone straight out of the 1950’s. Lyrical is probably the most overused word in jazz criticism, but if anyone deserves the word, Mr. McHenry is the one.” (Yes, McHenry is wonderful, but so are the other Jazz Camp sax players John O’Gallagher, Daniel Blake, and Andy Rathbun.)

David Burgess again: “You can catch many of these great musicians at NYC places such as the Village Vanguard, Barbes, Small’s, some of the major festivals around the world, as well as on the great recordings being made today. Do that if you can, and you will be sure to hear some big stuff happening. But from July 6-26 you can save yourself the extra traveling and hear them for free, right here in Farmington, at the University of Maine at Farmington.”

Starting July 6, one may call 778-7758 for more information.

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