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Jazz Fantasy Camp at Moravian College a Big Hit with Area Musicians

Saxophonist Bud Shank Featured Guest at 13th Annual July Jazz Getaway

Bethlehem, Pa., April 6, 2005—The Moravian College Music Institute will hold the 13th annual July Jazz Getaway week from Sunday, July 10 to Saturday, July 16. The fantasy camp has become very popular with amateur jazz musicians throughout the region who flock to Moravian College each July to learn from and jam with some of the biggest names in jazz.

This year’s July Jazz Getaway features guest artist Bud Shank who has been an integral member of the international jazz scene for 50 years. A respected saxophonist, composer, and arranger, his soaring dynamic performances have enlivened countless concerts, festivals, nightclubs, and recording sessions.

July Jazz Getaway (JJG) was conceived in 1993 as a simple idea: a place where adult amateur jazz musicians could get away from their usual daily lives and get together to play lots of jazz in a fantasy camp, vacation atmosphere, with no pressure and where the emphasis is on having fun.

During the week, musicians explore a range of jazz genres: Swing, Bebop, Fusion, Traditional (Dixieland), Rock, Latin, and more. Every day their schedule encompasses playing in small groups, big bands, and even daily jam sessions.

Led by Neil Wetzel, director of jazz studies at Moravian College, and other JJG faculty members, participants have a full week of playing and listening to jazz.

Clinics and concerts with guest artists are also a part of the week's activities. Past artists have included Ellis Marsalis, Al Grey, Terell Stafford, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Bobby Watson, Stanley Turrentine, Wycliffe Gordon, Bobby Sanabria, David “Fathead” Newman, and Rufus Reid.

JJG participants have come from several states across the country and had various occupations. Among them were: college professor, scientist, mail carrier and advertising executive. What brought them together was their love of jazz. As Jelly Roll Morton once said, “Good music never gets old.”

Shank will perform a duo with Bill May and the Moravian College BIG Band on Thursday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Foy Concert Hall. A master class with Shank will be conducted on Friday July 15, 10:30 a.m.

Shanks’s performance and master class are part of the July Jazz Getaway (JJG), a weeklong summer jazz vacation camp at Moravian College. The Getaway is designed for non-professional adult musicians. The program offers daily jazz, big band, ensemble, and jam session playing with a faculty of professional musicians.

Shank first came to prominence in the big bands of Charlie Barnet and Stan Kenton during the late 1940s. In the 1950s the saxophonist began a long tenure with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All Stars, as well as work with his own quartet. A charter member of the "West Coast" jazz movement, Shank's cool but always strongly swinging sound has made him one of a handful of sax players with an instantly recognizable and always exciting sound. In addition to club and concert dates this period found the musician producing some 50 diverse albums.

During the next two decades Shank augmented his club, university, and festival appearances with a healthy amount of studio work. A first call alto sax and flute player, he was a four-time winner of the coveted Most Valuable Player award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

In the 1970s and 80s Shank joined with Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, and Laurindo Almeida to form the world-renowned LA Four, who recorded and toured extensively through the decade. Shank helped to popularize both Latin-flavored and chamber jazz music, and as a musician's musician also performed with orchestras as diverse as the Royal Philharmonic, the New American Orchestra, the Gerald Wilson Big Band, Stan Kenton's Neophonic Orchestra, and the legendary Duke Ellington.

In the 1990s Shank continued to grow and explore, creating the multi-media jazz performance, "The Lost Cathedral," expanding the Bud Shank Jazz Workshop formerly in Port Townsend, Washington (now in Albuquerque, New Mexico), and touring with his quartet and sextet. Both bands feature exemplary writing, tight and fiery playing, and a joyous sense of collaboration.

An “electronic press kit” for Bud Shank that includes a complete biography and color and black and white photos is available at: http://www.budshankalto.com/

The July Jazz Getaway week events that are open to the public include the following:

    The Moravian College Faculty Kick-Off Jazz Concert will be held on Sunday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. The ensemble features Neil Wetzel on saxophone, Dave Roth on piano, Paul Rostock on bass, and Gary Rissmiller on drums. General admission is $12; $6 for senior citizens, students, and children 12 and under.

    The Lehigh Valley Open Jam Session will be held on Wednesday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. All area musicians are invited to bring their instruments and join in the action on stage. The jam session is free and open to the public.

    Bud Shank and Bill Mays Duo with the Moravian College Big Band will perform in concert on Thursday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $20; $15 senior citizens: $10 students and children 12 and under.

    A Master class with Bud Shank will be held on Friday, July 15 at 10:30 a.m. He will review and critique July Jazz Getaway players techniques offering suggestions and tips. The workshop provides insight into the style and techniques that made Shank a jazz great. All seats are $5.

    The July Jazz Getaway Ensembles Concert will be held on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. The concert features the talents of the camp participants along with the Moravian College BIG Band. Admission is free.

Events are held in Moravian College’s Foy Concert Hall at Main and Church streets in historic downtown Bethlehem. For more information on the July Jazz Getaway and concert schedule, contact the Moravian College Music Institute at (610) 861-1650 or jjg@moravian.edu. Visit the July Jazz Getaway on the web at http://www.julyjazzgetaway.org