NEW - CHECK OUT THE PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE PERFORMANCES HERE.
Litchfield Jazz Camp launched a brand new regional teaching program for teens this past fall. The program was suggested by a parent who said high-quality combo coaching – instruction for small ensembles-- was not available for his son in New York City where the focus was instead on big band music. Litchfield Jazz Camp held in Kent, CT and sponsored by the not-for-profit Litchfield Jazz Festival, has offered this style of instruction for over 400 students each summer for the past 16 year. The Camp staff responded to the need in both New York, where the program has been running all year, and in Hartford, where coaching started in February. “Litchfield in New York” and “Litchfield in Hartford” capped this year’s programs with end of season showcases, both on Sunday, May 6.
The New York program’s director is award-winning baritone saxophonist Claire Daly. A perennial Downbeat and Jazz Times Poll winner, she has also won the Jazz Journalist Baritonist of the Year award (which she was just nominated for again) and has released 7 CDs as a leader. She showed the public what her 3 combos have been up to in a showcase opened to the public for free. They played tunes like "Passion Dance", "Sweet Georgia Bright", "So What," "How High the Moon," and more. The newest generation of jazz players showcased what they've been working on at The Local 802 Musician’s Union 322 West 48th Street, 1st floor club room in NYC.
In Hartford, the “Litchfield in Hartford” combos have been learning their craft all spring at Asylum Hill Congregational Church under the guidance of Hartford-based saxophonist Kris Allen and pianist Jen Allen. As a young player, Kris was named the top high school jazz musician in the US by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He teaches at Hartt School and Trinity College. Jen Allen was one of eight pianists from around the world to participate in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Workshop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She has also taught at the University of Hartford. Their combos performed at Japanalia,11 Whitney Street, Hartford, CT. Two performing groups shared the stage where Hartford designer and presenter Dan Blow regularly offers some of the region’s most talented performers on his series Music@Japanalia/Eiko. The kids played music by Charlie Parker, Kenny Garrett, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver, Dave Brubeck and others. A reception and refreshments followed.
For information about Litchfield Jazz Camp's regional combos during the school year in either location, visit www.litchfieldjazzcamp.com or call Litchfield Performing Arts at 860-361-6285. Litchfield in New York and Litchfield in Hartford are a production of Litchfield County Connecticut’s 31-year-old not-for-profit, Litchfield Performing Arts, Inc.
Photo by Lindsey Turner.