Nearly three decades ago, a group was started with a simple mission – to play contemporary big band jazz, rooted in a traditional style. The brainchild of Stanley Kay, former manager of the Buddy Rich Orchestra, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra started auditioning potential members in 1992 after Kay approached drummer and current DIVA Jazz Orchestra leader Sherrie Maricle about forming the group. Kay had heard Maricle play some years earlier and was so impressed with her talent that he approached her and asked if she knew any other women that played like her.
As a jazz educator and president of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), I have seen literally thousands of lives impacted by studying improvisational music – but I didn’t realize the full impact it was having until my oldest two children Porter and Bryn became involved. It has been so exciting to watch them grow in their own abilities, not just as musicians, but as people.
“When I think about jazz music, I think about the millions of musicians who were involved in this before me, who were great musicians and great educators… but they were not documented. And for me in my life, it’s been important to be a part of the documentation of jazz.” – Victor Goines, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Throughout the year, Pepper has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording by sharing interviews with modern jazz legends, descriptions of historic sites, and a blog series about the impact of jazz on our national history. If you haven’t yet, please check out the excellent resources we have shared so far.
In the orchestral world, the bass section is often underappreciated, being relegated to the back of the ensemble and assigned the vital yet rarely glamorous task of setting the foundations for each different piece. In jazz, however, a bassist has the opportunity to explore a greater range of style and sound. The best jazz bassists are not just talented, but versatile – two words that happen to perfectly describe jazz bassist Christian McBride.
Throughout 2017, Pepper has joined the musical world in celebrating 100 years of recorded jazz. An integral part of our national history, jazz music is ingrained in the American DNA, leaving its mark on our culture in a way that few other art forms ever have.
Ten-time Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval has seen his beloved Latin jazz rise from local tradition to worldwide sensation. Pepper was honored to speak with him in conjunction with the Longwood Gardens Jazz Series. Longwood was kind enough to let us use their music room to interview Mr. Sandoval, and we were treated to a sampling of the wealth of knowledge he possesses.
Eddie Palmieri is a pioneer of Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz music. One of the greats, alongside contemporaries Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval, Palmieri has made it his mission in life to keep the flame of Latin jazz burning. Through his tireless dedication to his craft, he has helped to develop and spread the many flavors of the music he loves.
“God gave everybody a little bit of talent. What are you going to do with that little talent that God gave you?” – Arturo Sandoval
The year 1917 was monumental in jazz history, but not just because it was the year of the first official jazz recording. Some of the most famous names in jazz were born that same year. These musicians would stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, helping to make jazz the most significant American cultural movement of the century. To celebrate their centennials, Pepper is featuring a few of the most iconic songs from these jazz legends.