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Bassist Amy Shook Named to Jazz Band Masterclass Faculty

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Annapolis, Maryland... Bassist Amy Shook has been named to the faculty of Jazz Band Masterclass. Based in Annapolis, with bands meeting in that city and in Washington, DC, these adult level jazz workshops meet twice monthly with the intent of getting participants “out of the basement and onto the bandstand." Each group has seven members much like the jazz combos one hears in clubs and concerts. Initially, Shook will direct two of ten bands, which are made up of students from five surrounding states.

Shook is well equipped for her new post. She was mightily praised by critic Thomas Conrad in a 2007 Jazz Time review: “If you have a high-resolution audio system, the power and depth of Amy Shook's bass ... will remind you why you spent all that money." The 30- something upright bassist was recently interviewed at the Cape May Jazz Festival and featured in the same prestigious publication.

Shook has performed with the Shook/Russo Quartet for the past seven years and has several recordings (on Summit Records and other labels) to her credit. The quartet also includes her husband, saxophonist Pat Shook and pianist Tim Young. They play straight- ahead standards and original compositions. Amy Shook has played at such venues as The Kennedy Center, Strathmore and Blues Alley.

The Idaho raised string player got her start in a Boise public school music program, beginning with violin studies in elementary school and adding private lessons. She was concertmaster of the Junior High Honor Orchestra and then the Treasure Valley Youth Symphony. She picked up the bass at 13 and chose her career path at age 14, after hearing Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Lionel Hampton and the Ray Brown Trio at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. She played bass and viola in college, earning two bachelor's degrees: one in violin performance and one in music composition. She also holds a master's degree in violin performance, all from the University of Idaho.

While there she played in the faculty string quartet, was concertmaster of the symphony, played bass in jazz band and jazz choir, and most importantly, played with the all-faculty jazz ensemble.

Several years ago, WPAS Master Teaching Artist Jeff Antoniuk drafted Shook as a jazz bass expert for the Washington Performing Arts Society. She has joined Antoniuk's group in exposing thousands of school children to jazz and also coaching middle school musicians in the Capitol Jazz Project.

Noting her abilities as an educator, Antoniuk then enlisted her as a guest-teaching artist for his Jazz Band Masterclass groups for adult amateurs and semi-pros. Last summer, she was also a guest artist and teacher at the Maryland Summer Jazz Festival. There she shared the stage with many revered musicians including percussionist Sherrie Maricle, leader of the Diva Jazz Orchestra and education director of the New York Pops. Their performance was met with thunderous applause.

Artist/educator and saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk founded Jazz Band Masterclass seven years ago. (He is also the artistic director of inDepth Jazz Clinics & Concerts and Maryland Summer Jazz.) Jazz Band Masterclass currently sponsors ten jazz bands in Maryland and Washington, DC for students aged 16 -75. Many new jazz bands spring forth from the program, demonstrating that the organization has been succeeding in its mission to get musicians out of the basement and onto the band stand.

Among its graduates are such fine musicians as Stan Hamrick of Springfield, Virginia who leads Potomac Jazz Project, bassist Michael Montgomery from Edgewater, Maryland of the Kash Wright Trio, pianist Liz Fixen of Savage, Maryland and vocalist Sandy Asirvatham of Baltimore. There are many more success stories associated with the program.

Jazz Band Masterclass groups have been featured in the Sunday Arts Festivals on West Street in Annapolis for the past five years. They've also performed for numerous concerts in other cities. The next one takes place at 49 West in Annapolis on Sunday, October 24 from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Admission is just $6.00. Adults and children are welcome to the family friendly event.

This story appears courtesy of The Phillips Agency.
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