The Faculty Artist Series presents the Jazz and Contemporary Media (JCM) Faculty, Thursday, September 5, at 7:30 p.m., in Kilbourn Hall, at the Eastman School of Music. Performing are faculty members Charles Pillow (saxophone), Clay Jenkins (trumpet), Mark Kellogg (trombone), Bob Sneider (guitar), Gary Versace (piano), Bill Dobbins (piano), Jeff Campbell (bass), and Rich Thompson (drums). Repertoire will include jazz standards as well as original works.
With 6 CDs to his credit, Charles Pillow has established himself as one of the premier woodwind instrumentalists and saxophonists of the day. His recordings include Triocity (OriginArts, 2017) featuring Rich Thompson and Jeff Campbell. van Gogh letters (ELCM, 2010) featuring Gary Versace; Pictures at an Exhibition (2001) and The Planets (2007); both on Artistshare) and Currents (Challenge, 1996). A fluent performer, educator and touring musician, he has appeared on over 100 recordings by such artists as John Scofield, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Tom Harrell, Jay Z, Mariah Carey, Maria Schneider, David Sanborn, David Liebman, and Bob Mintzer. In addition to teaching at Eastman, he gives clinics and master classes throughout the United States and has appeared at many of European and American jazz festivals.
Clay Jenkins’ career as a jazz artist has covered a wide range of musical experiences and responsibilities, bringing him to the forefront of the jazz performing and teaching arenas. Clay’s experience as a performer began at an early age playing with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He recorded three live albums with the Kenton Band: Artistry in Symphonic Jazz, A Time for Love, and The Lost Concerts, Vols. I & II; and was also involved with the “Stan Kenton Orchestra in Residence Jazz Camps.” Clay moved to Los Angeles in1978, where he was in demand as a live performer and studio recording musician and studied with the renowned trumpet teacher James Stamp. From Los Angeles, he toured with Harry James, Buddy Rich, and the Count Basie Orchestra.
Mark Kellogg is Associate Professor of Trombone, Euphonium, and Brass Chamber. An Eastman faculty member since 1991, Mr. Kellogg teaches trombone, euphonium, alto trombone, and jazz trombone, and coordinates the brass chamber music program. He is also Principal Trombone of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout his career he has embraced a wide variety of roles, from jazz soloist to chamber musician to orchestral performer. Active as a jazz musician throughout his career, Mr. Kellogg has performed with Clark Terry, Chris Vadala, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Daniels, and Mel Tormé. Recent recordings include collaborations with Jeff Tyzik, Gene Bertoncini, Allen Vizzutti, Steve Gadd, and Gap Mangione. His jazz recording with Eastman colleague pianist Tony Caramia, Upstate Standards, celebrates the music of upstate New York composers Harold Arlen, Alec Wilder, and Jimmy Van Heusen.
Before joining Eastman in late 1997, Bob Sneider toured for several years with two-time Grammy Award winner Chuck Mangione. Other notable performers with whom Sneider has performed, toured, or recorded include: Nat Adderley, Joe Locke, Don Menza, Lou Donaldson, Joey Defrancesco, Pat Bianchi, Gary Versace, Pat Labarbara, Joe Locke, Grant Stewart, Ken Peplowski, Gerry Niewood, Chris Potter, Roy McCurdy, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, Frank Strazzerri, Jon Faddis, and Keeter Betts, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Pops (on guitar and banjo). Sneider has performed in major festivals, concert halls, and jazz clubs throughout South America, Central America, North America, and Europe. Sneider is a graduate of the University of Rochester where he studied with Bill Dobbins and Ramon Ricker. Growing up in Brockton, Massachusetts, Sneider’s mentor and teacher was Chet Kruley, a veteran of the Fletcher Henderson and Nat Pierce bands.
Gary Versace, who received his master’s degree from Eastman in 1993, is one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the international jazz scene, featured with musicians such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Al Foster, Regina Carter, Maria Schneider, Madeleine Peyroux, John Hollenbeck. He twice was a guest on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, who described him as “endlessly inventive” and having “an extraordinary talent.” Named a “Rising Star” in DownBeat Critics Polls in 2009 and 2010 and winner of the Jazz Journalists’ Association’s Best Organist Award in 2012, Versace has released several CDs under his own name on the SteepleChase and Criss Cross labels and has appeared as a guest on almost 50 more. He is the pianist on Ralph Alessi’s CD Quiver, which received 4.5 stars in DownBeat; accordionist on Maria Schneider’s Grammy-winning The Thompson Fields; Hammond organist on Ellery Eskelin’s Trip Willisau: Live and Rich Perry’s Organique; and performs on all three instruments on Kurt Elling’s Passion World.
Bill Dobbins is professor of jazz studies at Eastman, where he teaches the jazz composing and arranging courses and directs the award-winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Eastman Studio Orchestra. As a pianist, he has performed with orchestra and chamber ensembles under the direction of Louis Lane, Pierre Boulez, Lukas Foss and Frederick Fennell, and he has performed and recorded with such jazz artists as Clark Terry, Al Cohn, Red Mitchell, Phil Woods, Bill Goodwin, Gary Foster, Dave Liebman, John Goldsby, and Peter Erskine. He joined the Eastman faculty in 1973 and was instrumental in designing the graduate and undergraduate curricula for Eastman’s JCM program. Many of his students have performed with Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Chuck Mangione, Maria Schneider, and Bob Brookmeyer’s New Art Orchestra.
Jeff Campbell has carved out an impressive career as bass player of extraordinary artistry, fluent in both the jazz and classical idioms. As a jazz bassist, he maintains an active schedule performing with Gene Bertoncini, Rich Perry, Trio East, Harold Jones, and the Eastman Jazz Quartet featuring Harold Danko; he also performed with Marian McPartland and appeared on McPartland’s National Public Radio program Piano Jazz. In demand across the globe, Jeff has performed at the Nice, Montreux, North Sea, Riga, and Parnu Jazz Festivals and has also appeared in the former Soviet Union and the Baltic Republics. His first CD, West End Avenue with John Hollenbeck and John Wojceichowski, features a combination of original compositions and jazz standards. Jeff is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra bass section. His summers are occupied as program director of the Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, Wisconsin, and as co-director of the Eastman Summer Jazz Studies and Bass Day.
Rich Thompson has been in demand as a top call drummer in Rochester for the past 25 years. Besides serving as Eastman’s drum set instructor since 1996, Rich has toured, performed, and recorded with a “who’s who” of jazz greats, including pianist James Williams (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers), the Count Basie Orchestra, Tito Puente, Frank Foster, the Byron Stripling Quartet, saxophonist Rich Perry, the Bill Dobbins Trio, Harold Danko, Marion McPartland, Trio East (with Clay Jenkins and Jeff Campbell), trumpeter Snooky Young, guitarist Gene Bertoncini, Carl Fontana, Phil Woods, Joe Pass, and a host of others. The Boston Globe cited Rich as “the drummer who drove the Basie sound” when he appeared with them at the Boston Jazz and Blues Festival.
The Faculty Artist Series is generously supported by Patricia Ward-Baker.
Tickets for Eastman’s Faculty Artist Series are $10 for the general public and free to current Season Subscribers and UR ID holders. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 26 Gibbs Street, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., Monday-Friday; by phone (585) 274-3000; or online at http://eastmantheatre.org
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About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.
More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community.