Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet members performed with musicians from Russia's Open World project and internationally known Russian jazz saxophonist Igor Butman at a concert spotlighting jazz diplomacy at the National Buildings Museum in Washinton, D.C. on Oct. 8
Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet Salutes Jazz Diplomacy in Nation’s CapitalPerforming in the first-ever U.S.-Russian Rising Stars Jazz Band, the BIJQ continued Dave Brubeck’s legacy of promoting international understanding through music and culture
Pacific's Brubeck Institute spent a week in Washington, D.C., in early October, celebrating jazz diplomacy and Russian-American friendship. The week featured an event at the National Building Museum on Oct. 8, hosted by University of the Pacific in partnership with American University's Initiative for Russian Culture and the Open World Leadership Center. The evening highlighted the special cultural relationship that exists through jazz between Russia and the United States.
"This was an amazing opportunity for our fellows, because this is the sort of jazz diplomacy Dave Brubeck believed in so much," said Simon Rowe, Brubeck Institute executive director. "Even without words we can come together and begin to understand one another."
The evening was emceed by James Billington, the librarian at the Library of Congress who had been present at the Reagan/Gorbachev Summit in 1988 at which the late Dave Brubeck '42 performed. Many references were made to Dave's long career as a jazz diplomat, and Wynton Marsalis and Russian saxophonist Igor Butman were also celebrated for their roles in jazz diplomacy.
The concert featured Butman and the first-ever U.S.-Russia Rising Stars Jazz Band made up of the five Brubeck Fellows of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet and Open World alumni musicians. The band reprised works from Brubeck's performance at the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit. The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet was well received, and Brubeck Fellow Jaylon Archie became an honorary member of Igor Butman's quartet during Butman's performance.
The Open World Leadership Center fosters U.S.-Russia exchange programs to encourage students to study abroad in Russia as well as other post-Soviet nations. Pacific's Brubeck Institute has hosted Open World musicians on campus many times in recent years, offering opportunities for Brubeck Fellows and the young Russian musicians to learn from one another and perform together.
The Initiative for Russian Culture believes that cultural understanding is the key for growth in democratic relations between countries and reflects it in their efforts to engage students in learning about Russian culture and history as well as taking up the language. This was the third annual event that the Initiative for Russian Culture has hosted.
The 2013-14 Brubeck Fellows include bassist Sarah Kuo of Los Angeles (center), the first-ever female Brubeck Fellow; and (left to right) drummer Jalon D'Mere Archie of Houston; trumpeter Max Boiko of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; guitarist Sean Britt of Hingham, Mass.; and vibraphonist Joel M. Ross of Chicago.