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We Are One Chorus in Toronto, Canada's Annual Concert of The Jazz Workshops Dir. Howard Rees Below, Mercedes Ellington Promotes Ellingtonia

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On Sunday, April 29, 2013 Mercedes Ellington, founder of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts, received a Proclamation from Gale Brewer, City Councilwoman for that district, for her work to preserve the legacy of her grandfather. Her brother Edward, a guitarist, also heads an octet that specializes in Duke Ellington's music. A Junior High School Band from Lincoln Center, (an alto player from the junior high school band, Devante Dunbar, spoke with enthusiasm about the Saturday program at Lincoln Center, and said he planned to become a pro) a high school band from LaGuardia featuring fine two singers, Chelsea Fingal and Cristoba Aria, and a college band from the Manhattan School of Music led by Bobby Sanabria, performed compositions by Ellington or made famous by him. One of the greatest American composers, who wrote big band, orchestral, classical and descriptive music for films, as well as a substantial legacy of religious music containing some of the most beautiful and singular works. such as "Heaven," which was sung freely with harmonic obligato by Ms. Fingal, a teenager with a free spirit and fine technique. Another singer who is outstanding, Marion Cowings, sang late in the program. A neighborhood crowd joined by Ellington fans crowded the statue at 110th Street and Fifth Avenue on a beautiful spring day. Mercedes Ellington recently set up The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts and brother Edward, seen here playing guitar, takes his grandfather's music on the road.


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BARRY HARRIS Receives Jazz Elder Statesman Award from Congressman Rangel

by Lil Phillips

Congressman Rangel Presents Dr. Harris with Jazz Elder Statesman Award

On Sunday, April 28, 2013, Jazz Legend Dr. Barry Harris Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Author, Grammy Recipient, and world-renowned Educator - returned to the Harlem, the place where he honed his jazz "chops" to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with that community. Accompanied by two of his most adept students on bass and drums, and the inspirational sounds of the NYC Barry Harris Jazz Chorus, Dr. Harris delighted those who attended Jazz Vespers in Harlem at the Historic Mother A.M.E. Zion Church with a selection of jazz standards and his own originals, including the debut performance of a stunning arrangement of the 23rd Psalm. With this uplifting combination of powerful prayers and inspirational music, by the end of the afternoon the audience was moved to join Dr, Harris' praise tap dancers in the aisles -- and 'they danced like David'. The finale was a call for love, peace and understanding, a presentation of Barry Harris' beautiful composition "We Are One." The Jazz Culture, VII:55


Congressman Charles B. Rangel delivered an eloquent tribute to Dr. Harris and presented the Jazz Elder Statesman with a Congressional Proclamation in recognition of your excellence in jazz and devoted service to the community.

Events 1‐2 Duke Ellington's Birthday1‐2 Barry Harris Receives Jazz Elder Statesman Award l. Phillips 3‐4 Jazz Workshops in Canada Howard Rees 5‐16

How To Make A Jazz Vocal Style 1 6-

17 Mother Zion’s dynamic Artist-inGig Listings 17 Residence, Ms. Nikki Williams Jazz Brunch w/Rie Yamaguchi 18 Award-Winning Poet, Artist, Performing Artist, and Playwright brought the audience to its feet in response to her electrifying, insightful poetry.

Jazz Vespers in Harlem at Mother A.M.E. Zion Church is Senior Pastor, Reverend Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith’s outreach for ministering to the Harlem community through a non-traditional service, incorporating inspirational jazz. Sponsored by the Mother Zion Jazz Society, under the direction of jazz vocalist Lil Phillips, this event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. left, Pastor Robeson & Dr. Barry Harris The Jazz Culture Newsletter Private Jazz Tours in NYC; also pairs music teachers in certain countries with students or jazz enthusiasts. For Further Info email:


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Children ofToronto's inner city sing in We Are One Concert, a charity founded by Howard Rees, Dr. ofThe Jazz Workshops. Canada's oldest independent jazz academy

Pub Note: Howard Rees is a Canadian jazz pianist born in

Toronto. He has created his own community of musicians and singers through his Jazz Workshops that have seen more than 3,000 students come through over the past 30 years, has spent much of the past 20 years helping Dr. Barry Harris document his teaching methodologies, and has also founded a charity called We Are One Jazz Project, that engages hundreds of Canadian children each year, introducing them to jazz. Besides playing out, he has a choral group that is beginning to gig around Toronto. A devoted student of Dr. Barry Harris, he bases his Jazz Workshops on concepts passed down to him by Dr. Harris. (NOTE: Howard Rees is shortened to “HR” and Jazz Culture to “JC” for the remainder of this article). The Jazz Culture, VII:55


JC: Where were you born? HR: Toronto. JC: When did you start to study music? HR: I started classical piano lessons when I was five. It was with a private teacher in the neighborhood. I continued with her until my teens. At age 12, I played organ in an R&B group. That was Howard Rees probably the transition between classical music and jazz. I did that till age 18 or so. We would play at the school dances. There was no jazz in high school but I had a friend whose older sister was into it; we’d go over to his place. His sister had Monk records and Miles records. Those were the first things I remember listening to. I had a friend who played trumpet, so we would learn tunes together. As well starting in grade 7, I played first violin in the high school orchestra through to grade 12. It probably gave me a sense for playing bass. I’ve never studied bass, but it is something I really enjoy. It’s a little familiar from having played violin all those years. JC: Were your parents musicians? HR: No, but they [parents] were music lovers. JC:What was your relationship with Barry? HR: I found out about Barry’s class from an advertisement in Downbeat magazine. This was in 1978. I remember writing to Barry about coming to New York to study with him. I had a 6

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Howard Rees lecturing at a music seminar in Toronto drummer friend who had just moved to New York and he invited me to come visit. Everything suddenly fell in place. I had been able to save a little money that I thought might last for a few months. Of course it ran out in a few weeks! but the learning experience was so powerful – everything made so much sense, that I wound up staying for 6 or 7 years. That was more than 30 years ago. It was during this time that I realized I wanted to become a jazz musician. When I first arrived in New York, I had this daily routine. I was sharing a practice studio with a bass player on Fifth Avenue at 19th Street. I could use the studio till noon so I would get there by 7am and spend the morning. Then I’d walk down to Chinatown, have lunch, walk back up to 74th Street to my karate class, and later head to Barry’s class. It was a very inspirational time for me, and set the course for what would happen for the next bunch of years. JC: Why do you like bebop? The Jazz Culture, VII:55


HR: Because it’s beautiful! It might be the closest we get to actually creating. Bebop functions at a very high level. There are two levels of any art form, there’s a technical level, where you really need to gain a level of mastery. That’s the place where most of people spend most of their time working, and then there is the art level. From there, with much hard work it’s possible to move the music forward. This is the realm of the ‘giants’ Bird, Bud, Monk, Dizzy and Barry Harris to name a few. JC: Does the discipline of karate help your music? Mr. Rees then gave several parallels between jazz and karate. HR: It’s not just about mastering your instrument; beyond that you get to create. In Karate, Shodan or (first level black belt) means “First Step.” So one interpretation is, somebody who has reached that point is now ready to do some serious work and learn about things from an advanced perspective. It requires study, practice and perseverance, then you just throw all of that away and play. It’s in the moment. I started when I was 16. I had a friend who took karate lessons and he invited me to visit his school. The experience had a strong effect on me and the two disciplines, jazz and karate seemed very complementary. I’ve been studying a Japanese style called Shotokan, one of the more well-known styles of Japanese karate. When I went to New York to study with Barry, I’d hear things my karate teacher would say; and when I went to karate class, my karate teacher reminded of Barry. One of the parallels that I enjoy coming back to is the concept that you don’t punch with your arm or kick with your leg – it’s the whole body that delivers the technique. Exactly what Barry says – play the piano with your back, with your butt! I’m a fifth degree black belt and I’ve been teaching on and off, 8

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it’s not a career thing. My teacher moved out of town years ago, I inherited the class. I’ve been doing it for the last fifteen years or so. JC: What gave you the idea of starting The Jazz Workshops? HR: It really began as a summer project. I was back up here (Toronto) for a couple of months I needed something to do. It was my intention to return to New York in the fall. I was completely inspired by what I’d learned from Barry, and based it (the Playing bass reminds Mr. Rees ofthe many years he workshops) on teaching his spent on the violin principles. I started with 2 workshop classes of about ten people each. Each class had a rhythm section along with horns and singers. Everyone would learn theory, and various group performance techniques. The workshops became very popular. Other than full time university courses, there were no other places where people could play together and learn theory at the same time, and the information that I was offering was qualitatively different from what was available at the local schools. This fall the Jazz Workshops turn 30! Over the years there have been close to 3,000 people who have come through (The Jazz Workshops) from Toronto, across Canada, Europe, South America. I hold classes on Monday and Tuesday nights and give a harmony class for guitar and piano players every other Wednesday. As for studios, it’s been a bit of a nomadic existence. The last five years, I have been very fortunate. One of my students opened The Jazz Culture, VII:55


a studio that’s centrally located downtown. There is even a stage with sound and lighting and we can hold jam sessions and concerts with seating for about 70-80 people. JC: What is the jazz scene in Toronto? HR: I’m somebody who creates work and I’ve managed to make my way by creating my own work. I had a pioneer spirit, when I returned to Toronto, I thought ok - Toronto is a big city, by virtue (of that) some percentage of people will be interested in what I’m doing. I believed in what I had to offer and and operated that way. I don’t think the scene in Toronto is that different than what you find in most places. Some years there’s more clubs than others to play in, but I think what happened to me was that I was really profoundly influenced by what I learned from Barry and came on a mission to let others know what I’ve learned. I’ve got students who’ve been around for 25 years. We all realize that learning doesn’t end. The materials Barry teaches are structural. He doesn’t say, “Learn these licks.” He teaches you structure, and how to put things together, but it’s completely open ended. As much time as you want to (spend to) understand those materials and how to put them together, you’ll continue to come up with new things. Those of us who’ve been in class with Barry, know that he’ll demonstrate something, and suddenly he’ll say, “I’ve never played that before.” I remember thinking at first, how could that be? Then I came to realize the nature of his method is just that. You are constantly coming up with new things, you’re trying to learn different ways to use the materials all the time, so of course you’d be coming up with things that you had not played before – that is the point. I remember Barry saying once in one of his classes, that he wished he had a educational video that people could use to learn his teachings. I bookmarked that idea and starting in 1992, Barry 10

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and I began working on what was to be the first of three ‘Workshop Video’ volumes. Over the years, I have met people from all over the world who have told me that they have the videos. I know of schools in Japan, Europe, the Middle East and North America that have since incorporated them into their course materials.

Jazz piano is Mr. Rees's first love

JC: You’ve started an educational program with children leading to an annual concert. How many kids have gone through it? HR: I founded a children’s charity in 2008 called the We are One Jazz Project. The purpose of the charity is to bring music into schools in underserved areas of the city [here they are called] high priority neighborhoods where the children don’t have any music in their schools. These are kids from low income, often new immigrant families, kids that need a little something. We’re partnered with the Toronto District School Board. We form a large jazz choir with students in Grades 3-6. A key part of our project is the mentoring component with the students and master musicians. The Jazz Culture, VII:55


We have weekly rehearsals with up to 300 children over a four month period and also give supplemental in-school clinics. Then we put on a big concert at a major venue that is open to the public. It’s about having a space Children rehearse for the We Are One concert in Toronto for four for the kids to feel good about months themselves and to feel part of. The repertoire is made up of Barry Harris’ orchestral compositions, and the student choir is joined at the performance by a big band, an adult choir, and a string section. Barry and Charles McPherson have been coming up to be the special guests. People buy tickets, but it’s mostly for the parents of the young kids in the choir, to give them that opportunity. We’ve had several cases of students who have gone on to high school having decided to pursue music in a bigger way. To date we have made it on the generosity of one beautiful individual and as well some corporate sponsors. We have not had any government support. Our website is, JC: What is the importance of music and of jazz in particular. HR: It’s a journey of self-discovery really. Think of the alternative: what would it be like -- a world without music. All the people who want to cut music programs from the schools or grants to musicians probably don’t spend much time thinking about how their own world would look without music. It’s one of the basic elements of life. As a musician, I think we do several things on different levels, we are entertaining people, we offer something beyond the day-to-day thing of what someone might be involved in, and also give permission to people to explore their own create sides. JC: So you function mainly as a musician, educator, producer. 12

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HR: I just create my own work. I believe that it makes sense to control as much of the whole thing as possible. Not to be dependent on others to do things. Aside from the Jazz Workshops, I’m the President of the charity so there’s ongoing work, there’s always things going on with that. I’m doing karate. Lately I’ve been developing an adult choir project. We have 18 singers and a trio. Barry’s been generous enough to loan me his arrangements. We are looking forward to some club dates coming up in the summer. JC: What musicians do you like to work with in Canada? HR: There a number of good players in Canada, in Toronto in particular. But there’s not the same kind of tradition of classical jazz as what I was exposed to living in New York. Many of my students are playing gigs, and I enjoy going out and supporting them. JC: How is Barry Harris’ method of teaching Jazz different from other methods?

A Canadian child learning music

HR: Barry’s method is an improvisatory approach to learning improvisation and harmony. He teaches structural components, and how these components work together. That means that everyone who learns this system will come up sounding unique, and that there will be a limitless amount of ideas that you will be able to generate. Over the years, I’ve met people from different countries who have been learning Barry’s methodology. It amazes me to see how people put the pieces together differently. Barry would say – “Don’t fall in love with any one sound – you’ll miss a lot”. What the opposite looks like is a teacher, or a method book, that The Jazz Culture, VII:55


basically gives you licks or exercises, but (they) don’t tell you where the (licks or exercises) come from or how to put those things together. (So) you never learn how to generate those things yourself. That’s the opposite of what Barry does. He’s not saying just do this or that. He’s teaching the elements you need to improvise, then it’s up to you. From the beginning you know where things come from, because you’ve learned structures. That’s the improvisatory nature, using certain principals, you can from the beginning, put things together yourself. JC: Is there a musical tradition in Canada that you’ve been building on? HR: Individual musicians have been good. There is no tradition that I’m aware of, no identifiable foundation that’s been put in place. I believe I’ve built a unique community, a kind of franchise of what I was part of those years living in New York. It’s been a 35 year process.


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Photos of We Are One Concert, Children learning music, and trombone section of the We Are One Orchestra

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Gig Listings of The Jazz Culture Subscribers: Please support these artists and bring your friends.

May listings May 1 Weds Our Father Who Art Blakey at Zinc,Valery Ponomarev, special guest Bassist, Essiet Essiet May 4 Rick Stone Trio at the Bar Next Door May 11 Rick Stone Trio at the Garage May 14 Rick Stone at Freddie’s May 18, Leila Keels with two other vocalists 8 p.m.735 10th Avenue at 50th St. in Skyline Hotel, 8:00 & 9:30 PM Sets; 10:30 Jam Session $10 Cover May 7, 14, 21,28 Barry Harris Class every Tuesday at 250 West 65 Street Community Center, 6:30 piano, 8:00 singers, 10:30 improvisation May 7 Bertha Hope Cardinal Cooke Nursing Home,NY 5th Ave & 106th St, private May 10 Bertha Hope Walter Reade Theater Lobby, Lincoln Center,NY Public May 24 Bertha Hope ZirZamin,90 West Houston St, NY 7pm sharp.-tickets $20 May 16 Joe Magnarelli Rome arts center Utica NY May 17 Joe Magnarelli "THE OTHER SIDE" concert 7:30pm, original music funded by NYSCA England: John Watson on BBC on the Larry Elms Show 94.9 FM, at 11:30 a.m. online or on DAB; Every Friday & Saturday: John Watson at the Palm Court, Langham 1c Portland Place, London, no cover or minimum 44-207-965-0195 France: May 8-11 Ray Blue Tour of France


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How to Create a Unique Jazz Vocal Style by Lionelle Hamanaka

They used to say you needed 3 things: Sound, Beat and Feeling. So we might as well start with that. Questions for Singers: Do you have an original sound? Does it express your personality? Have you ever tried to change the placement of your tone? Or enrich the tone with better placement and breathe control. Can you change the color of your sound at will, and use more or less upper or lower register and stay in tune? Because all tones in your voice should be mixed. Beat. Have you gotten past the Oompah feeling or 2 feel? Can you hear the difference between a 2 feel and 4/4? Can you subdivide the beat, and at what tempo? Do you know to create triplets? These basic things a singer should know in order to devise their own style, because the freedom to phrase uniquely depends a lot on hearing things about rhythm, and listening to the rhythm section.

What kind of jazz tunes, or what era of jazz do you like the most? Blues, bebop, swing, big band? If you like something, you will probably work harder at perfecting it. It takes years, so you might as well focus on what you really like. The same question goes for Who are your favorite singers? You have to study and analyze other singers, and what they are actually doing to achieve their style, and if you like what a singer achieves, you should listen to their recordings over and over, not to copy but to extract information. Then when it comes to making your own style, you can say, well, so and so used to use long tones this way, she’d spin a big vibrato at the end, and do a diminuendo. The Jazz Culture, VII:55


Feeling. Well, feeling has a lot to do with having lived; and once you have experienced something you can relate to a certain lyric. Singers are always attracted by good lyrics. So you have your treasure chest of experiences, and you use them in the appropriate songs. In order for feeling to come out, you have to be focused on the song, and not get distracted by anything else that is going on. So you have to really think, line by line, what that lyric means to you, and react to it at that moment. An Actor would say: every song is a scene, and in that scene You are the most important character, and something is happening to make you sing that song. So this brings up the question, How do you choose the right material for yourself? You know when you do a set that it has to be varied rhythmically; on the other hand, you may want to tie the set or concert together thematically. It might be a concert on Ellington’s work; or Gershwin or Cole Porter, or bebop composers like Monk or Tad Dameron. Let this be the beginning of a discussion between us about how to create your own jazz vocal style, start out by asking yourself questions, and you will be on a fascinating road to developing your own style. Please reply to: with comments, etc.


Rie Yamaguchi, vocalist and drummer, with Chris Flory, distinguished guitarist, and Reid Taylor bassist playing a Village brunch every Saturday from 1-4 at Vin Sur Vingt, 201 W. 11 St.Rie first heard jazz while working at Small's between 6-7 years ago, and fell in love with the music. She studied drums with Billy Kay. She said she wishes there were "30 hours in a day to practice."


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