A weekly radio series featuring Eastman School of Music jazz performances through the years premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, on Jazz90.1 WGMC.
Titled Jazz@Eastman: Past, Present, and Future, the programs will feature performances as well as works by Eastman faculty, students, and alumni. The series is a collaboration between Eastman and Jazz 90.1 and is underwritten in part by RG&E.
Each hour-long program is hosted and co-produced by saxophonist Alexa Tarantino ‘14, who majored in jazz saxophone performance and music education at Eastman. Jazz@Eastman: Past, Present, and Future has been curated by Jeff Campbell, chair of the Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media Department, who selected archived recordings of Eastman jazz concerts and other works for the broadcasts. The engineer for the series is Lou C. Chitty of Eastman’s Technology & Media Production department.
“The Eastman Jazz Department is thrilled to partner with WGMC and RG&E as we launch this new radio program,” said Campbell. “This opportunity affords our Eastman students, faculty, and alumni a format to share our music and to further the legacy of great jazz performance originating right here in Rochester.”
“Jazz90.1 is pleased to be a partner with the Eastman School of Music to bring our listeners this series. We strive each day to provide programming to our listeners not found anywhere else on the radio dial,” said Rob Linton, station manager of Jazz90.1 WGMC. “It’s a natural fit for an institution in jazz radio to join forces with an internationally recognized music school like the Eastman School of Music.”
The premiere on June 4 gives listeners an inside look at Eastman’s jazz department with Campbell. Pianist Harold Danko, a professor at Eastman, pays tribute to Marian McPartland on the June 11 program. On June 18, conductor/composer Ryan Truesdell talks about The Gil Evans Project, his research into Evans’s original manuscripts which resulted in the 2012 CD, Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans. The June 25 program features a faculty spotlight on trumpeter Clay Jenkins and his recent album release Joy, with guitarist Gene Bertoncini and bassist Ike Sturm.
Subsequent programs will focus on composer/arranger and Eastman jazz department founder Ray Wright; Grammy Award-winning composer and Eastman alumna Maria Schneider; works written or arranged by multiple-Grammy nominee and Eastman alumnus John Hollenbeck; and concerts by faculty members Bill Dobbins, piano; Rich Thompson, drums; Charles Pillow, saxophone; and Bob Sneider, guitar. Each of the 26 programs in the series will be repeated to create a year-long season of broadcasts.
“RG&E has a long tradition of supporting music and the arts and is pleased to partner with the Eastman School of Music on this exciting jazz series,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “The Eastman School is our neighbor in downtown Rochester, and we’re delighted to help bring these top-notch performances to the region.”
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About the Eastman School of Music
The Eastman School of Music ranks among the nation’s premier music schools, boasting Guggenheim Fellows, Grammy, and ASCAP Award winners on its distinguished faculty. The school has been commended and recognized nationwide for giving its students an intensive professional education, entrepreneurial opportunities in their musical disciplines, and the experience of a broader liberal arts education within the University of Rochester. Eastman’s prominent alumni include opera singers Renée Fleming, Anthony Dean Griffey, Joyce Castle, and the late William Warfield; jazz musicians Ron Carter, Steve Gadd, and Chuck Mangione; composer-conductor Maria Schneider; and composers Dominick Argento, Charles Strouse, Michael Puts, and Jeff Beal.
Jazz90.1 is one of the last full-time jazz radio stations in the country and recently celebrated its 40th year on air. The station is owned by the Greece Central School District; however, it must raise all operating funds annually through member and business donations and special events. Half its broadcast hours are focused on current artists who are committed to moving the music forward, and they also play a heaping portion of the classics, names like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and many more.