(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts will celebrate Black History Month with a virtual Jazz History and Masters Listening Hour Series every Saturday from 9:00am – 10:00am EST during the month of February. Learn about the origins and development of jazz genres, including historical icons and their influence on particular jazz styles and trends, as well as an exploration of jazz’s social implications in a broader historical context.
Led by award-winning saxophonist Dave Schumacher, the Jazz History and Masters Listening Hour Series is free and open to the public. To register to attend, visit WhartonArts.org.
Said Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo, "Jazz Education is an important part of our mission here at Wharton Arts and we are committed to offering our students high-level opportunities to learn and perform jazz throughout the year. The free Jazz Listening Series is a way for us to extend an invitation to the wider community to learn about jazz history and celebrate the legacies of early Black jazz artists, recognizing jazz as the foundation of popular music such as rock n’ roll, R&B, soul, and more.”
“I hope many people will join our esteemed jazz faculty, Dave Schumacher, on Saturday mornings in February,“ continued Cha-Pyo, “and listen to this ‘triumphant music’ as best described by Martin Luther King, Jr.: ’Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.’”
Jazz History & Masters Listening Hour Series
All classes take place at 9:00am EST via Zoom.
Saturday, February 6 Jazz History and Listening Survey I - Part I of a survey of the history of Jazz music through listening, briefly touching on each of the eras from Early Jazz in the late 19th century through the Bebop Era ending in the ’50s.
Saturday, February 13 Jazz History and Listening Survey II
Part II of a survey of the history of Jazz music through listening, briefly touching on each of the eras of Jazz from the mid-50s Hard Bop/Cool eras through the present.
Saturday, February 20 Jazz Masters Series – Louis Armstrong - An examination through listening and commentary of Jazz Master Louis Armstrong, considered by many the greatest soloist and one of the most influential Jazz artists of all time.
Saturday, February 27 Jazz Masters Series – Mary Lou Williams - An examination through listening and commentary of Jazz Master Mary Lou Williams. Williams was a great pianist, arranger and informal educator who influenced many younger Jazz musicians including Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Tadd Dameron at informal sessions at her apartment. Mary Lou Williams came to prominence in the 1930s when very few women in Jazz received their due.
Chicago native Dave Schumacher has been a key player in the New York jazz scene for more than three decades, touring throughout the United States and internationally with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Art Blakely Big Band, T.S. Monk on Monk Ensemble, Nicholas Payton’s Louis Armstrong Tribute Big Band, and as an original member of the Harry Connick, Jr. Orchestra. Highlights of his international career include an appearance at Mount Fuji Jazz Festival in Japan with the Art Blakely Big Band. Schumacher can be heard on nearly a dozen Columbia Records recordings with the Harry Connick, Jr. Orchestra and with such jazz greats as Lionel Hampton and Mel Torme. Schumacher received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University/Livingston College and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance from New Jersey City University.
The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.
Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,200 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, Wharton offers private lessons, group classes, and ensembles for all ages and all abilities at the Performing Arts School. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton teaches all instruments and voice and has a robust musical theater program. Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of Wharton’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.