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Pianist Mulgrew Miller joins the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble for "Blues in the Church" in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18, 2010 at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, located at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street, 5th Floor. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 PM. "Blues in the Church" was inspired by music Mulgrew Miller heard in his Mississippi church while growing up. Performing in the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble will be Jordan Pettay (Alto saxophone), Randall Haywood (trumpet), Willie Applewhite (trombone), Kris Bowers (piano), Philip Kuehn (bass), and Bryan Carter (drums) with Mulgrew Miller on piano. (A list of song selections follows at the end of this press release.)
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola is located at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway and 60th Street, 5th Floor. Cover charge is $20; $10 for students with a valid student ID. For more information, call Jazz at Lincoln Center at (212) 258-9595 or go to www.jalc.org.
Mr. Miller wrote these notes on conceiving the "Blues in the Church" program: "I started playing in church by ear at age eight. My family belonged to the Methodist Church. I knew many of the hymns by ear before taking piano lessons. While growing up, I heard the many styles of religious music as I was required to play in a variety of denominational settings. I heard piano styles that sounded like stride, boogie, even accomplished classically-trained keyboardists. One thread that seemed to run through these styles was the inflection of the blues. In fact, the blues were a big part of the total musical fabric in the Mississippi Delta."
Mr. Miller continued: "To this day, I remain a big lover of hymns. Their melodies are memorable and when sung or played in the African-American folk feeling we call the blues, they seem to seep into the depths of one's soul. The blues as a form is an American invention. But the blues as a feeling comes from Africa. I've heard it in archival recordings of tribal rituals and chants. I've long disagreed with the long held belief that the blues were simply about suffering, being ‘down and out.' The blues is about surviving suffering: longing, that chronic, insatiable and intrinsic longing of the soul for its Maker. Somehow, love is in the midst of it. The marriage of religious music to the blues has made for an expression of powerful cultural significance."
Pianist Mulgrew Miller was born in 1955 in Greenwood, Mississippi. He played country, gospel, R&B for dance bands and the blues until he saw the Oscar Peterson Trio perform on television at age 15. Although he also studied classical piano and formed a trio while in high school, he immediately dedicated himself to becoming a jazz musician. He studied at Memphis State University with Donald Brown and James Williams, pianists who would later work with him in the late 1980s/early 1990s as part of the Contemporary Piano Ensemble, along with Geoff Keezer and Harold Mabern, dedicated to the music of Memphis' native son, Phineas Newborn. One of Mr. Miller's earliest jobs was as a pianist for the Mercer Ellington Orchestra. Mr. Miller moved to New York to perform with vocalist Betty Carter. Following Mr. Miller's tenure with Betty Carter, he performed with Woody Shaw, Johnny Griffin, Art Blakey, and with Tony Williams. He was a frequent collaborator with saxophonist Joe Lovano in the late 1980s, turning his priorities to his own trio and other ensembles in the 1990s. He has performed with Diane Reeves, Rene Marie, Steve Turre, Kenny Garrett, and Gary Burton. He also collaborated with the late Danish jazz bassist Nils-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on a recording and a series of performances in tribute to the great piano/bass duos of Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton. Mr. Miller has worked on nearly 400 recordings and moves easily from jazz standards to Brazilian to bebop to his own compositions. He is now involved with his quintet, Wingspan, and his current trio, featuring bassist and Juilliard Jazz alumnus Ivan Taylor, and drummer Rodney Green.
One of Juilliard's newest programs, Juilliard Jazz teaches at bachelor through master and artist diploma levels, with its most advanced artist diploma program a collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, founded in 2001. Its alumni already have made their mark on jazz culture in NYC and beyond. Recent graduates include James Burton, Etienne Charles; Aaron Diehl and Marion Felder; and Jon Irabagon, Lage Lund, and Ben Williams (all Thelonious Monk Competition winners), among others.
JUILLIARD JAZZ CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Monday, January 18, Sets at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Broadway at 60th Street
"Blues in the Church" with pianist Mulgrew Miller and Juilliard Jazz Ensemble
Song selections: 1. "We Come This Far by Faith"; 2. "Wade in the Water"; 3. "Great is Thy Faithfulness"; 4. "This Little Light of Mine"; 5. "Shine on Me"; 6. "I Shall Not Be Moved"; 7. "Lord Revive Us"; 8. "I'm Looking for a Miracle"; 9. "Farther Along"; 10. "That's Heaven to Me"; 11. "Lord Help Me to Hold Out"; 12. "Peace Be Still"; 13. "We Shall Overcome"; 14. "He Laid His Hands on Me"; 15. "When the Saints Go Marching In"
Cover charge: $20; $10 for students with a valid student ID
For more information, call (212) 258-9595 or go to www.jalc.org.
Wednesday, January 20, 8 PM, Juilliard's Paul Hall
Juilliard Jazz Ensembles
LIMITED FREE tickets available January 6 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard
Tuesday, February 2, 8 PM, Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater
An Evening with Christian McBride and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra featuring The Movement Revisited
Juilliard Jazz Orchestra and Choir
New York debut of the work commissioned and premiered at the Hollywood Bowl
FREE tickets available beginning January 19 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard
Tuesday, February 23, 8 PM, Juilliard's Paul Hall
Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble
FREE tickets available beginning February 9 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard
Monday, March 22, 8 PM, Juilliard's Paul Hall
Juilliard Jazz Ensembles - Student Original Compositions
FREE tickets available beginning March 8 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard
Thursday, April 8, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
Juilliard Jazz Orchestra - Student Original Compositions
FREE tickets available beginning March 25 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard
Monday, April 19, 8 PM, Paul Hall
Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble with guest artist Terell Stafford
LIMITED FREE tickets available beginning April 5 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard
For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu. Juilliard Jazz students also will be appearing at the Blue Note and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola throughout the season.