In the orchestral world, the bass section is often understated, 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.
Music education is a pivotal part of keeping our culture alive, and the teachers who carry out this mission need the support of other musicians to secure the future of music. In the world of choral and classroom music, Greg Gilpin has taken up that call. As Director of Educational Choral Publications for Shawnee Press, Gilpin spends his days helping teachers unlock the full potential of their young singers.
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.
For composer Craig Courtney, music has been a lifelong pursuit. He began picking up melodies on the piano at the age of three, and in his teens he analyzed recordings of classical masterworks. This immersion into music helped to foster Courtney’s passion for excellence and influenced the art he would create throughout his life.
Rollo Dilworth is a master of the modern spiritual. Growing up in St. Louis and singing in both school and church choirs, Dilworth learned how to combine choral music with traditional spirituals. This combination became the basis of many of his most beloved works. Choral music is a natural way of bringing people together because, as Dilworth says, “every single culture across this globe sings.”
For the past few months, the Pepper editors have listened to mountains of music to find the best choices for our Pepper Live events, and we’re looking forward to sharing all that new music with you. If you’ve never joined us for a reading session, we’d like to share our top five reasons for attending:
A prolific composer of choral music, Andy Beck has written hundreds of works, vocal resource books, and children’s musicals. Among his most famous works are the method books Sing at First Sight and the gorgeously poetic The Snow Begins to Fall. His sheet music has graced the folders of choir members across the country and around the world, and Pepper was honored to speak with him as part of our Inside Voice series.
Keith Getty burst onto the scene in 2001 with In Christ Alone, a modern hymn that quickly became a staple of Christian worship services. The song, a partnership with Stuart Townend, is still his signature piece to this day, and though this partnership has continued through Getty’s career, his best-known collaborator is also his partner in life and love: Kristyn Getty.
The name Eric Whitacre is sure to turn heads anywhere musicians gather. While he is a composer of choral music first, his wide range of talents have enabled him to travel the world, writing music for different ensembles and performing with people from all walks of life.
Stylistically and culturally, jazz music has had an enormous impact on American music, influencing many of the most beloved musical minds of our time. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording, Pepper has taken the time to ask many of the musicians we’ve interviewed about how jazz has influenced their lives. No matter what their preferred style, they all had something to say about the importance of jazz.