2012-13 Jazz Series

Kurt Elling Quartet with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble

Friday, November 2, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Jazz Celebration Weekend

Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has been named Male Singer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association on a half dozen occasions in the past 10 years, and during the same interval has been the perennial winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll. He is also a Grammy Award winner, and every record he has made has been Grammy nominated. Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His command of rhythm, texture, phrasing and dynamics is more like a virtuoso jazz instrumentalist than a vocalist. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry.

“The standout male vocalist of our time.”
—The New York Times


Maria Schneider Orchestra

Saturday, November 3, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Jazz Celebration Weekend

Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence. With that recording, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for her 17-member collective, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the unique voices of the group. Subsequently, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. Schneider has received numerous commissions and guest conducting invites, working with more than 85 groups from more than 30 countries spanning Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and North America.

“Maria Schneider’s orchestral jazz is about feeling. Like Wayne Shorter, she somehow expresses compassion through tones.”
—The New York Times


The Bad Plus

Friday, February 1, 2013, 8 p.m.

For the past 10 years The Bad Plus—Reid Anderson, Ethan Iverson and David King—have broken down the walls of jazz convention and created an uncompromising body of work. Few jazz groups in recent memory have amassed such acclaim, and few have inspired such controversy. The members’ belief in the band ethos and their personal brand of avant-garde populism has put them at the forefront of a new instrumental music movement, drawing audiences both traditional and mainstream. While the bulk of the band’s output has been original music, it has deconstructed songs in the pop, rock, country and classical music idioms. The upcoming release Never Stop is the first album by The Bad Plus to consist entirely of originals. Recorded in Minnesota with a live, stripped-down sound, Never Stop showcases the band’s range as well as its three distinct personalities. From gentle and melodic to fierce and abstract, from swing to ’80s techno, Never Stop is tied together by a group sound that embraces diversity as strength. Ten years in, The Bad Plus is here to stay.

“Better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-’60s jazz and indie rock.”
—The New York Times


Gretchen Parlato

Friday, May 10, 2013, 8 p.m.

Gretchen Parlato’s 2009 sophomore breakthrough, In a Dream, signaled the arrival of an incredibly inventive modern jazz singer. Her follow-up, The Lost and Found, demonstrates that she has staying power. In a Dream garnered international acclaim with Billboard magazine hailing it as “the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009.” It also made it onto the top year-end polls for Jazz Times, the Boston Globe, the Village Voice and NPR. The Lost and Found shows immediate weight and intensity, exposing a greater dynamic range. “I feel like I stepped out of my own way and allowed myself to be more revealing and vulnerable through the music,” reflects Parlato.

“She enters the music, becoming part of the band, improvising in melody and rhythm, prying open sweet spots in the songs ... it’s evident that she’s an extraordinary singer.”
—The New York Times