April-3rd-2008, 06:47 PM
Billy Taylor Jazz Festival -April 24-26
Billy Taylor Jazz Festival at East Carolina University, April 24-26, 2008
The Billy Taylor Jazz Festival takes place April 24-26, 2008 at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. An annual event, the sixth edition features performances of Dr. Taylor's compositions by both small group and big band, with special guest soloist, Geri Allen, as well as an informal discussion with Dr. Taylor.
Special guest Geri Allen is an award winning pianist, leader and composer whose unique voice is both her own, and very much in the tradition of Jazz keyboard legends Billy Taylor and Mary Lou Williams. Ms. Allen, presently an Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan, has released a number of major recordings under her own name most recently, the ambitious, critically acclaimed Timeless Portraits and Dreams.
The festival kicks off on Thursday, April 24 at, 8:00 PM with a free concert at Glennon's in the Greenville Hilton featuring the ECU Jazz Bones followed by a 10pm International Association of Jazz Educators Jam Session with ECU Jazz Combos.
A full day of activity follows on Friday April 25 starting with a 10AM Jazz Improv Clinic with Geri Allen and ECU's Contemporary Jazz Ensemble at ECU School of Music, A.J. Fletcher Music Center, Room 105. At 11:30, Dr. Billy Taylor will be present for an Informal Jazz Discussion for both students and Jazz listeners. That evening, an 8pm concert at the Greenville Convention Center features the ECU Jazz Ensemble A with Geri Allen, and ECU Jazz Faculty, in a performance of Billy Taylor compositions.
Saturday, April 26, from 9AM to 3PM, the Greenville Convention Center will be the site of performance and critiques offered to middle and high school jazz ensembles from North Carolina and Virginia. The Gala Concert featuring Geri Allen, accompanied by the ECU Jazz Faculty begins at 8pm on 26th, also at the Greenville Convention Center.
Carroll V. Dashiell Jr. who founded and produces the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival, is the Director of Jazz Studies and professor of bass at East Carolina University's School of Music. A native of Washington, D.C., he is recognized for excellence in the music industry as a bassist, musical director, and a composer/arranger.
Dashiell decided to focus on Billy Taylor's compositions this year because "everyone knows and thinks of Dr. Taylor as a great pianist, performer, educator, jazz historian and humanitarian. But we often forget about his great compositions and arrangements. I wanted to feature some of his wonderful works and in researching the Dr. Billy Taylor Collection at the Library of Congress, I found some gems, some really incredible music, including the popular I Wish I knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, a very important and popular rallying song of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's in addition to compositions and arrangements from his tenure as Musical Director for the David Frost Television Show."
The Billy Taylor Jazz Festival began humbly. High school and middle school jazz bands came to campus to perform at critiquing sessions, then to enjoy a performance by the ECU Jazz Ensemble A and a guest artist. The festival quickly outgrew A. J. Fletcher Recital Hall.
In 2003, Dr. Billy Taylor lent his name to the festival, and the Greenville Convention Center became the venue for a gala evening where Greenville Mayor Don Parrott presented Billy Taylor with the Keys to the City, and proclaimed "Dr. Billy Taylor Day" on behalf of the City Council.
The festival offers three public concerts, a free jam session, critiquing sessions for eight or more high school and middle school jazz bands, and opportunities for Jazz Friends to mingle and celebrate.
For more information, please visit the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival website:
Or Contact Carroll Dashiell, Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org