Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Bubbha Thomas Holiday Jazz Concert

Jazz Education Inc. was founded by Jazz artist Bubbha Thomas, who saw a need to fill a void where music education and youth were concerned. With a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts, he started an 8-week "Summer Program for Youthful Musicians" at St. James Episcopal Church. Seventy students attended the first FREE session. Since then, Jazz Education Inc. has grown from a part-time-one-program project to a daily operation with full and part-time employees. The roster of activities ranges from mini-performances featuring national artists to annual programs ranging from an in-school educational program serving more than 30,000 elementary school children to a five-week workshop-serving more than 200 teenagers (middle school through college age) to an International Jazz Festival.

Jazz Education Inc. is a non-profit organization sponsoring three main programs (The Jazz & Poetry Series, Summer Jazz Workshop, The Houston International Jazz Festival) and several special projects. One of these especial projects is the annual "Bubbha Thomas Holiday Jazz Concert" in which, different musicians are invited to play jazz as part of Christmas celebrations. On this ocassion I share with you some videos of one of these great concerts, I hope you enjoy them, and have a Merry Christmas!

Musicians: Horace Alexander Young (saxophone and flute), Al Campbell (bass), Pelayo (piano), Chase Jordan (vibraphone) Terisa Griffin (voice), The Voices of Willowridge Highand and Bubbha Thomas (drums)

Bubbha Thomas' official website:
Official website of Jazz Education:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ike Sturm's album "Spirit"

Today I will speak about a great bassist, bandleader, composer and music director for jazz at Saint Peter's Church (the "jazz church"), in Manhattan, New York City: Ike Sturm.

Ike Sturm is a graduate (with distinction) of the prestigious Eastman School of Music with a Master of Music degree in jazz bass performance and a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz bass performance and music education (instrumental). He has received various honors for his academic work, among them the Ossia music grant, George Eastman and Lois Rogers Scholarships, the Xerox Scholar Award for Humanities/Social Sciences, and the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award.

Ike Sturm is a very active sacred jazz musician who has three interesting projects: Reflect (2003), Spirit (2004) and his recent last project Jazz Mass (2009). On this ocasion I will share with you two tracks of his second album, Spirit. In words of Ike:
During a trip through the fjords of Norway, I was overwhelmed by the strength of God's presence and the beauty of his creation. My inspiration in that place served as the conception for "Spirit".
Musically, this project is a richly textured original work for ten musicians, fusing jazz and world rhythms into a beautiful, contemporary style. It consists of three different movements, and each one represent a different aspects of Holy Spirit; plus a final movement.

I. Spirit (in Creation), Genesis 1:2

II. Acts (Spirit in Christ), Acts 17:28

III. Everduring (Everlasting Nature of the Spirit), Revelation 1:8

IV. Together

This is exceptionally beautiful music played by wonderful musicians displaying a maturity way beyond their years. I'm impressed! -- Maria Schneider
Ike Sturm's 'Spirit' is, to my ears, a deeply touching piece of music. In the often harsh world that we live in today, it is refreshing to hear jazz-based music that is so open and vulnerable. -- John Hollenbeck

Ike Sturm's official website: