UVA Jazz Ensemble: Contingencies and Resiliencies!

Part of the UVA Mini-JazzFest: Jazz on the Fly!
April 9, 2022 - 8:00pm
Old Cabell Hall
$10 / $9 UVA Faculty & Staff / $5 students / Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance

On the second weekend of April, the University of Virginia Jazz Program will present two concerts in a mini-JazzFest entitled Jazz on the Fly! The two concerts will feature The Free Bridge Quintet on Friday evening, April 8th and The UVA Jazz Ensemble, directed by John D’earth, on Saturday evening, April 9th.  The concerts begin at 8:00 PM in Old Cabell Auditorium.

Both concerts feature flexible planning and programming strategies due to the persistence of covid-related uncertainties and both will be live-streamed from Old Cabell Auditorium.  Recent predictions suggest that the pair of concerts will be an explosive celebration of a return to live jazz at UVA.  Experience has cautioned, however, that conditions change fast on the ground in a pandemic, and who is better situated to improvise their way through changing circumstances than jazz musicians?

On Friday, 4/8, the quintet will present Free Bridge & Faculty.  Free Bridge, the faculty jazz quintet of the UVA Dept. of Music, comprises Jeff Decker on saxophones, John D’earth on trumpet, Peter Spaar on bass, and Robert Jospe on drums and percussion.  The four bandmates welcome a new pianist, but an old friend, into the quintet, Calvin Brown. Calvin is a jazz artist and singer/songwriter who began playing piano in church at the age of 13. After graduating from Berklee School of Music he performed regularly in New York City and toured in the United States and Europe with Lady Rose Watson’s “Gospel Angels,” and others. He serves as a regular keyboard player for many of central Virginia’s most esteemed musical groups. He has worked extensively as a keyboardist, arranger, and musical director. Calvin’s original music, billed as Calvin Presents, is performed by his seven-piece band, synthesizing his roots in jazz and gospel music with neo-soul, hip-hop, alt rock and trap music.

Free Bridge has also invited Mike Rosensky, guitar and Nataniel Lee, trombone to join them in some jams organized “on the fly.” Mike and Natniel are members of the jazz and classical faculty.  The single set concert will present a mix of jazz classics and originals and will mirror the Norman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic concept to allow for an expanding and contracting cast of characters.

On Saturday, April 9th, the UVA Jazz Ensemble will present Contingencies and Resiliencies! The concert will feature material from the group’s double album, Infernal Resilience. which the group recorded during the lockdown year. The jazz program had a banner year responding to covid, during the fall and spring of 2020/21, by recording seven different albums with the big band, the four small groups, and two distinguished major projects, all in masks and with isolation for winds and singers.  These may be heard at virginiajazz.org. The Jazz Ensemble will also play classics like Dizzy Gillespie’s Con Alma, Slide’s Derangement, by Slide Hampton, and ABC Blues, by Bob Brookmeyer.

In response to the continuing uncertainty around covid, the Jazz Ensemble will be preparing itself for rapidly changing protocols, as were enacted last semester.  It will be an incentive to do contingency planning for live performance and allow us to experiment with different versions of an extended jazz orchestra. Will there be an indoor/outdoor component?  Will we have to use the Hall’s spaciousness to allow for the distancing of winds and vocals?  We won’t know, we’ve now learned, until we get there; an alluring mystery attaching to an already promising event!

Jazz Director, and trumpeter/composer, John D’earth, is excited about returning to a stage on which he has been organizing concerts since the early 1980’s.

“This is a unique opportunity to showcase jazz in Old Cabell Auditorium for two nights in a row and the open-ended format will allow listeners to hear new voices with both bands.  The first casualty of our covid experience was having to cancel our concert with French pianist, Damien Groleau in 2020, 2021, and now, 2022.  Stay tuned for a fabulous concert with Damien, but it seemed irresponsible to engage in international projects when so much uncertainty still exists.  And now we have Calvin so we’ll be able to present him, in concert, sooner than we thought. It is also inspiring and, at times, astonishing to see the level of devotion our students put into their work. We have some excellent jazz players in the band who play at a higher level than their age or status as students would suggest.  The way everyone worked so hard, and for so many extra hours, to create those recordings last year will stay with me for a long time!”  (Read more about these studio sessions) https://news.virginia.edu/content/when-pandemic-postponed-performances-dearth-led-his-musicians-studio

The concerts are co-sponsored by Jazz4Justice, an organization that has partnered with the Music Department and the Jazz Ensemble several times in the recent past. Jazz4Justice raises public awareness and funds for Legal Aid and music scholarships which they do by forming collaborative partnerships with the legal community, the business community, the music community, and Universities.

Tickets for the Free Bridge Quintet on Friday April 8th at 8pm are $15 General, $13 for UVA Faculty & Staff, $5 for Students and Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance.

Tickets for the UVA Jazz Ensemble on Saturday April 9th at 8pm are $10 General, $9 for UVA Faculty & Staff, $5 for Students and Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance.

Tickets can be purchased at the Arts Box Office at artsboxoffice.virginia.edu or by calling 434.924.3376.

To see all the Jazz Events at UVA please visit https://music.virginia.edu/jazz-events

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA’s historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda. (map) Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

For those who can not make it to Old Cabell Hall you can watch live via YouTube.

All programs are subject to change.

For more information please call the Department of Music at 434.924.3052. For tickets please visit www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu or by call 434.924.3376.

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UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu