San Francisco State University Announces Second Annual Generations Jazz Program International Competition and Fellowship for Emerging Jazz Combos


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Generations Band
The International Center for the Arts at San Francisco State University invites up-and-coming jazz combos in all countries to enter its second annual Generations Jazz Program International Competition and Fellowship for Emerging Young Combos. The winning combo will earn a year-long fellowship, with stipend, at San Francisco State University studying with the all-star Generations Band, including jazz masters Jimmy Cobb, Ray Drummond, Eric Alexander and Andrew Speight. Deadline for entry is March 23, 2009.

The Generations Jazz Program represents an effort by the International Center for the Arts and San Francisco State University to help bring jazz education back to its traditional model of inter-generational mentoring in the combo format. For that reason, ICA designed Generations as a fellowship for combos rather than individual musicians, and gathered the Generations Band to serve as ambassadors and mentors. The competition is designed for young bands who have completed undergraduate training and are poised to begin their professional careers.

An invaluable professional opportunity

Competition finalists will be offered an all-expenses-paid one-week trip to San Francisco in May 2009, where they will take part in a round of workshops and jam sessions, including performance and professional mentoring by the renowned artists of the Generations Band. The San Francisco stay will culminate with an exciting “Battle of the Combos” at a prominent San Francisco nightclub. The band that wins this musical face off, both by audience acclaim and by decision of the Generations Band, will be named the 2009 International Center for the Arts Generations Jazz Fellowship Combo.

The ICA Generations Jazz Fellowship represents an invaluable opportunity for musical and professional advancement. In addition to gaining a wide variety of education and performance opportunities, the winning combo will record their own CD, with top-notch recording and production standards, for national release by the International Center for the Arts.

A nurturing traditional jazz mentorship

The winning band will return to San Francisco in September 2009 for the first of a series of residencies throughout the academic year at San Francisco State University with the Generations Band. In addition to individual instruction, the fellowship combo will get mentoring in band-specific areas including:

• the role that each instrument should play within a combo to maximize creative interaction,

• co-operative ensemble strategies that can help a band play with fire and swing,

• professional advice about the role of the band leader, both onstage and off.

“The idea of the Generations Jazz Project is to try to create the same sort of laboratory learning atmosphere that Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Art Blakey created within their groups,” says Andrew Speight, alto saxophonist in the Generations Band and the Generations program’s Artistic Director. “Within those bands, and others like them, the best young musicians were nurtured by the masters of the established generation. The younger players got a real trial by fire in concerts and jam sessions. And that’s where real musical innovation took place. Today our academic model focuses so much on individual learning, on practice rooms and technical virtuosity. We’d like to help reverse that. That’s why each year our fellowship will include a full band rather than individual musicians. And that’s why we’ve brought in some fantastic veteran players like Jimmy Cobb and Ray Drummond to mentor our fellowship winners.”

Competition guidelines and requirements

Jazz combos of all nationalities are welcome to apply. Additional guidelines and requirements include:

• The mean age of a combo’s members must be 30 years of age or younger as of March 23, 2009,

• Combo members should have completed a Bachelors degree or have equivalent training and experience,

• Combos must include at least four (4) but no more than seven (7) members,

• Only instrumental combos may apply (vocalists are not included in this competition),

• Combos will submit demo CDs including three selections with repertoire choices as outlined in the Official Rules and Guidelines. Nial Djuliarso Quartet winners of 2008 ICA Generations Fellowship

The Nial Djuliarso Quartet, a New York-based post-bop combo, were winners of the first annual Generations International Competition and Fellowship for Emerging Combos. The NDQ took top honors during a rousing evening of music at Yoshi’s San Francisco in May 2008, winning over the crowd behind the spirited clarion tones of trumpeter Bruce Harris and the swinging, fluid solos and exciting rhythmic energy of pianist Nial Djuliarso. The front men were propelled by the high-spirited, powerful work of drummer Carmen Intorre, Jr. and the limber, imaginative lines put down by bassist Yasushi Nakamura. The quartet performed fine versions of Tad Dameron’s “Our Delight” and John Coltrane’s “Locomotion.” But it was the camaraderie and four-way interplay throughout the Djuliarso funk-laced original “Mutiasari” that put the quartet over the top.

About the International Center for the Arts

The International Center for the Arts is a creative, research and producing organization that operates within the College of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. Founded in 2005 with a generous grant from SF State Alumni George and Judy Marcus, the ICA is focused on the future of the arts with an emphasis on providing incubator experiences for gifted artists in the performing, media, and visual arts and through interdisciplinary projects that link the arts to their creative counterparts in the humanities, sciences, education and social sciences.

For more information

For more information about the International Center for the Arts, the Generations Jazz Program or the Generations International Competition and Fellowship for Emerging Combos, please contact the International Center for the Arts at (415) 817-4476 or [email protected] or visit the Generations Jazz Project website.

This story appears courtesy of Rocket Words.
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