Jazz sym­po­sium at Univer­sity of the South

Three-day event in­cludes sym­po­sium, Se­wa­nee Jazz So­ci­ety re­union and Aaron Diehl Quar­tet in con­cert

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - STAFF RE­PORT

A land­mark con­cert in the his­tory of Amer­i­can mu­sic gets some over­due recog­ni­tion this week­end.

In April 1961, the Mod­ern Jazz Quar­tet was heard for the first time in the South, per­form­ing at the Univer­sity of the South in Se­wa­nee, Tenn. At that point, the MJQ was not the house­hold name it would later be­come; it had landed in Se­wa­nee en­tirely thanks to the ef­forts of the stu­dent Jazz So­ci­ety.

The univer­sity, lack­ing a con­cert hall at that time, of­fered its gym­na­sium for a con­cert in the round, which was one of the first in­te­grated events to oc­cur on cam­pus.

The Univer­sity of the South pays trib­ute to that land­mark event on Sun­day, Feb. 11, by host­ing the Aaron Diehl Quar­tet, re­viv­ing the songs played by the MJQ in ’61.

Pi­anist Diehl will bring with him vi­bra­phon­ist War­ren Wolf, Paul Sikivie on bass and Peter Van Nos­trand on drums.

Their con­cert cul­mi­nates a sym­po­sium ded- icated to the mu­sic of the MJQ , which be­gins Fri­day, Feb. 9, at the univer­sity. The sym­po­sium will fea­ture sev­eral lead­ing names in jazz stud­ies, in­clud­ing Gary Gid­dins, fea­tured ex­pert in Ken Burns’s “Jazz” and au­thor of “Vi­sions of Jazz and Bing Crosby: Swing­ing on a Star”; and Ge­orge Schuller, drum­mer with the Lee Konitz Quar­tet and son of famed com­poser and jazz ad­vo­cate Gun­ther Schuller.

Sym­po­sium par­tic­i­pants will also hear from Phil Schaap, New York City jazz per­son­al­ity, fac­ulty mem­ber of Juil­liard Jazz stud­ies, cu­ra­tor of Jazz at Lin­coln Cen­ter and fac­ulty mem­ber of Juil­liard Jazz Stud­ies; and Dr. Christo­pher Coady, the au­thor of “John Lewis and the Chal­lenge of ‘Real’ Black Mu­sic” and lec­turer at the Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic.

Coady will lec­ture on the sig­nif­i­cance of the MJQ’s ex­pe­ri­ence in Europe and the im­pact of that on their lead song­writer in “Jazz Pos­si­bil­i­ties: John Lewis at Home and Abroad.” Schaap will cu­rate lis­ten­ing ses­sions of MJQ record­ings in the Ral­ston Lis­ten­ing Room on cam­pus.

Diehl, who at an ear­lier stage of his ca­reer was se­lected by John Lewis’s wi­dow, Mir­jana, to ar­chive the mu­sic of her hus­band, will lead a per­for­mance-dis­cus­sion on Lewis’s charts from a pi­anist’s per­spec­tive.

A spe­cial fea­ture of the sym­po­sium will be a view­ing of “Mu­sic Inn,” hosted by Ge­orge Schuller, who co-pro­duced the film. This doc­u­men­tary tells the story of the School of Jazz in Lenox, Mass., and the su­perb per­form­ers who graced the stage of its “Mu­sic Barn” for three decades, in­clud­ing Louis Arm­strong, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gille­spie and Pete Seeger.

All those artists also played on the Se­wa­nee cam­pus in the 1960s and ’70s, sponsored by the stu­dent Jazz So­ci­ety.

The jazz week­end be­gins with a pre- sym­po­sium din­ner on Fri­day and con­cludes with Aaron Diehl Quar­tet’s con­cert Sun­day af­ter­noon.

For more in­for­ma­tion about spe­cific times, lo­ca­tions, reg­is­tra­tion and ticket charges, visit www.se­wa­nee.edu/mjqin­se­wa­nee.


Mod­ern Jazz Quar­tet

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