A New Look and Vibe for This Year’s Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet
Bassist Sarah Kuo of Los Angeles is the first-ever female member of Pacific’s Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet.
The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet for 2013-14 is taking on a whole new look and a whole new vibe. For the first time since the group comprising some of the nation's top young jazz musicians was formed, there is a female member, and no pianist.
And, for very nearly for the first time, there is a completely new set of musicians.
"This is an interesting group - a significant one since we have five new spots opening this year," said Simon Rowe, Brubeck Institute executive director.
The members of the much-honored group are in the Institute's Fellowship Program, one the Institute's five programs. Quintet members undergo intense academic preparation, a strenuous performance and appearance schedule, and are mentored by some of the finest jazz musicians in the region. Pacific's Brubeck Institute was founded in 2000 and named in honor of Pacific alumnus and iconic jazz pianist Dave Brubeck '42, who died in December.
"It's interesting that we don't have a pianist this year. And hopefully Dave looking down would approve the less conventional lineup in the spirit of adventure," said Rowe.
Rowe is pleased about the cultural makeup of the 2013-14 group - two African-Americans, two Caucasians and an Asian-American - because it is consistent with Brubeck's stance of embracing diversity.
"She is the first woman Fellow out of 50 or so Fellows since the beginning of the program," Rowe said of bassist Sarah Kuo of Los Angeles. "So, this is a big deal."
Other members of the 2013-14 Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet include percussionist Jalon D'Mere Archie; trumpet player Max Boiko; guitarist Sean Britt; and vibraphonist Joel M. Ross
The incoming freshman musicians can expect their lives to changes as Brubeck Institute Fellows.
"What's always fascinating to me is to see that, even though they are incredibly talented, they are somewhat of a motley crew when they arrive and they are a polished ensemble when they leave," said Rowe. "The growth and transformation to me is always spectacular."
The Brubeck Institute and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet has seen great success since being founded in 2000, including recent performances at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and the United Nations in New York City. Two different Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintets were recognized as the best collegiate group in Down Beat Magazine's 36th annual Student Music Awards, the sixth and seventh time the group has been recognized by the magazine.
"I also expect great things from the graduating group," Rowe said of the 2012-13 Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet - Rane Roatta, tenor sax, of Miami, Fla.; Thomas Kelley, alto sax, of Canton, Conn.; Paul Bloom, piano, of Needham, Mass.; Adam Goldman, bass, of Pacific Palisades; and Malachi Whitson, drums, of Richmond.
The 2013-14 Brubeck Fellows
Bassist Sarah Kuo of Los Angeles is a 2013 graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She discovered classical bass at age 12 and jazz at 14. She credits the mentorship of Grammy-winning bassist, composer and conductor John Clayton; J.B. Dyas, former Brubeck Institute executive director and currently the vice president of Education and Curriculum Development at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz; Jason Goldman; David Young and others.
Kuo's performances have been recognized by CBS, KXLU 88.9 FM, Jazz Times and Jazzday.com. She has received awards from organizations such as Spotlight, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Angel City Jazz Festival. In the past few years she has performed with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Ingrid Jensen, Antonio Hart, Robin Eubanks, Bob Mintzer, Natalie Cole, Lisa Henry, and Barry Manilow.
She is the first woman member of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet.
Jalon D'Mere Archie
Jalon D'Mere Archie grew up in northeast Houston, Texas, and has been playing percussion for as long as he can remember. As a child he played on everything - the table, the floor, the bed, his lap.
Archie was in The Skidmore Jazz Program in 2011. He has participated in the All City Band (2004), All-Region (2011 and 2012), All-State Alternate (2012), Diaz Institute (2007-2008), Summer Jazz Workshop (2004-2006), and the American Festival for the Fine Arts Institute (2008).
Archie has been mentored by artists such as Sebastian Whitaker, Marvin Sparks, Wilbert Archie and Matt Wilson.
Trumpet player Max Boiko is a 2012 graduate of the Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which was the 2011 and 2012 winner of the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition in New York City. Boiko received the Outstanding Soloist Awards both years.
Boiko started studying the trumpet in seventhgrade and since then has won numerous awards and scholarships in national and state competitions and summer programs including The Brubeck Summer Jazz Residency (2011 and 2012), the GRAMMY Band Jazz Session (2011 and 2012), the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (2012), Jazz Band of America (2012), the Vail Jazz Festival All Stars (2011), the Florida All-State Jazz Band and Orchestra, and Florida's Gold Coast Jazz Society.
Boiko has studied with Wycliffe Gordon, Jim Catch, Sean Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Jim Rotondi, Dave Stricker, Terrell Stafford and Bryan Lynch.
Guitarist Sean Britt is a 2013 graduate of Hingham High School in Hingham, Mass. He received his first guitar on his 10th birthday and began studying jazz at age 13.
Britt has performed in many venues, including the Newport Jazz Festival and Boston's Symphony Hall. He was named to the 2013 Massachusetts All-State Jazz Band and is a 2013 National Young Arts Foundation winner in jazz guitar, a 2013 GRAMMY Camp Jazz Session finalist, and a 2012 Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colonist. He is currently working and teaching as a musician in Massachusetts and plays frequently with his own band, The Harbor Jazz Quartet.
Britt has studied with Tim Miller, Pat Martino, Stefon Harris, Steve Houghton, Bob Sneider, Clay Jenkins, Dariusz Terefenko, Wes Wirth, Jamie Stewardson, Carlos Jimenez, Brian Cincotta, Brubeck Institute Associate Director Nick Fryer and Chad Lefkowitz-Brown.
Joel M. Ross
Vibraphonist Joel M. Ross has established himself as one of the most promising high school jazz musicians in the Midwest. Ross is a student at the Chicago High School for the Arts and performs with the top ChiArts Jazz Combo. He started on percussion at Beasley Academic Center and has performed with Chicago Public Schools All-City Bands, winning musician of the year in 2009.
Ross has performed with noted artists Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Antonio Hart, Terell Stafford, Wycliffe Gordon, Gerald Clayton, Nicole Mitchell, Eric Reed, Benny Green, Maurice Brown and Jarrard Harris, as well as with the Jazz Institute of Chicago's Jazz Ambassadors under mentors Willie Pickens, Pat Mallinger, Lorin Cohen and Tito Carrillo.
He was selected as a 2013 YoungArts finalist in Jazz, a 2012 and 2013 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz National All-Star, and was a 2012 participant in the IMEA State Music Competition. His high school group was selected as a group to perform at the 2013 Jazz Education Network Conference in Atlanta. He has performed at the Chicago, Hyde Park and South Shore jazz festivals.