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Meet jazz drummer, composer, producer, and bandleader Matt Wilson, who the Chicago Reader described as “one of the most inventive and individualistic drummers in modern music.” Jazz is a form of music through which an artist’s individual style clearly emerges, and Matt Wilson’s work is a good example. Get to know his unique sound as he, along with members of his band, Arts & Crafts, perform a high energy concert program of well-known jazz standards and original works of music. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn the art of active listening and how to interpret jazz music.



• Wilson is one of today’s most celebrated jazz artists, known for his melodic drumming style. The recipient of countless awards and a Grammy® nominee, he’s performed on stages all over the world and can be heard on more than 250 CDs. But don’t be fooled, this serious musician isn’t so serious. Wilson is also well-recognized and admired for his positive energy and sense of humor. He’s a firm believer that music is for “playing.” • Music education is very important to Wilson. He’s led hundreds of outreach programs to introduce young audiences to jazz. And as a teaching artist, he coaches students on ways to explore and express themselves through music and improvisation. • Arts & Crafts includes members Terrell Stafford (trumpet, flügelhorn), Gary Versace (piano, organ, accordian), and Martin Wind (bass). The quartet is known for their fresh, spirited sound, and experimental instrumentation.



WHAT YOU SHOULD LISTEN FOR • Pay attention to how the musicians interact with one another throughout a song. How do they respond to each other when improvising? Taking turns soloing?

The Music Man: Matt Wilson leads three other bands besides Arts & Crafts, and is an integral

• Try to identify the melody of the piece being played. Listen for the variations of it by the different instruments.

member of more than 11 more!


JAZZ: AN EVOLVING ART FORM Jazz is truly an American musical form— and many people consider it one of America’s best contributions to the world of music. Jazz first emerged about 100 years ago in the American South, most distinctly in New Orleans, Louisiana. This seaport city served as home to people of African, French, English, Caribbean, and other backgrounds. It became a melting pot for music from these many traditions. African American musicians fused elements of ragtime, blues, classical, and big brass band sounds to create this distinct new type of music. After the first jazz recordings were made in 1917, jazz spread across the nation. It evolved over decades, helped along by many influential musicians. In the 1920s, trumpeter Louis Armstrong introduced improvised solos and Duke Ellington popularized big band jazz; the 1930s saw Benny Goodman and Count Basie’s music start people dancing to the upbeat sounds of swing. Charlie Parker’s groundbreaking bebop of the 1940s led to Miles Davis complex “cool” style in the 1950s. Jazz moved into the 1960s with pioneers like John Coltrane and his modal jazz; the next decades brought more change—from fusion, which brought together multiple styles, to the neo-classical leanings of Wynton Marsalis and other “young lions.” Jazz continues to evolve today—building on its vast legacy of innovation and experimentation.

SETTING THE STANDARD Jazz standards refer to popular musical compositions that are widely known and performed, so much so, they have become a standard part of the jazz music repertoire, also known as the “Great American Songbook.” While there is no official list of jazz standards, most of these classic songs were created between the 1920s and 60s for Broadway musicals and films. Since then, each has been performed and recorded countless times by a variety of artists.

MUSICAL LANGUAGE Here are some terms you should know… arrangement an adaptation of a piece of music for performance in a different way, especially on different instruments for which it was originally composed break when all band members stop playing to allow one musician to perform a solo improvisation creating music or song spontaneously, a technique that requires great musical skill and creativity individual personality when musicians create a unique personal sound while playing their instruments instrumentation the choice of instruments used to play a piece of music, as well their arrangment melody the tune you hum or sing along with when listening to a favorite song soloing when a single musician improvises a section of music

David M. Rubenstein Chairman Michael M. Kaiser President Jason Moran Artistic Advisor for Jazz Darrell M. Ayers Vice President, Education Kennedy Center Jazz is made possible through the generous support of Carolyn and Bill Powers. Additional support for Performances for Young Audiences is provided in part by Adobe Foundation; The Clark Charitable Foundation; Mr. James V. Kimsey; The Macy*s Foundation; The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; an endowment from the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation; U.S. Department of Education; Washington Gas; and by generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund, and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas. Major support for the Kennedy Center’s educational programs is provided by David and Alice Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program. Cuesheets are produced by ARTSEDGE, an education program of the Kennedy Center. Learn more about Education at The Kennedy Center at The contents of this Cuesheet do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. © 2013 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

LISTEN UP! Check out more about the history of jazz at Jazz in Time multimedia/series/AEMicrosites/jazzin-time

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Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts: A Performance and Demonstration  

Described as “one of the most inventive and individualistic drummers in modern music,” (Chicago Reader), jazz artist Matt Wilson performs wi...

Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts: A Performance and Demonstration  

Described as “one of the most inventive and individualistic drummers in modern music,” (Chicago Reader), jazz artist Matt Wilson performs wi...

Profile for artsedge