Friday July 5:
4:30 PM United Jazz Ensemble
Every May, this collaborative high school ensemble comes together to prepare for the Jazz Festival. Directed by Rich Medd and Ryan Arp, the band is composed of students from Iowa City High School and West High School in Iowa City. For 20 years, this group has served as of one of signature elements of the Iowa City Jazz Festival’s commitment to education outreach. The deep immersion of students in jazz over the summer not only strengthens their musical growth, but builds a strong bond between the programs at the two schools. Their sound swings so hard that you can’t help but agree about the bright future of the music!
Laranja is an Iowa City band on the cutting edge of composition and improvisation. Rooted in jazz, their influences also delve into the worlds of hard rock, classical, and world music, seamlessly combining genres in their original music. The band consists of Dan Padley on guitar, Ryan Smith on saxophones, Michael Jarvey on keys, Blake Shaw on bass, and Justin LeDuc on drums, with most of the music written by Smith, Padley, and Jarvey
Sachal Vasandani & The Iowa Jazz Orchestra
If you’ve ever awakened to breakfast in bed, Sachal Vasandani would be the voice lullabying out of some small speaker in the corner, subconsciously convincing you to stay there the rest of the day. A singer of unique original talent, impressing and impressionable to the communicative compositions of old-school and contemporary Jazz, Vasandani’s voice carries over the airwaves as butter to a hot mess of jazzy pop flapjacks. With his breakthrough 2007 debut, Eyes Wide Open, vocalist/composer/arranger Vasandani established himself as one of the most promising voices in modern jazz. A 2010 Downbeat "Rising Star" poll winner, Vasandani presented his distinctive blend of jazz and pop with the critically acclaimed release, We Move in 2009. Vasandani’s third Mack Avenue release, Hi-Fly, confirms the high praise showered on its two predecessors and proves the singer is one of the freshest, most versatile artists to emerge onto the scene in recent memory. Produced by renowned Grammy® award winning bassist John Clayton and Grammy nominated Mack Avenue EVP of A&R Al Pryor, both long-time supporters, Hi-Fly is an exciting mix of standards, originals and pop covers showcasing Vasandani’s ability to filter a wide range of material through his highly individual vision.
Saturday July 6:
2:00 PM North Corridor Jazz All Stars
The North Corridor All-Star Big Band is returning for its third performance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival. Like the United Jazz Ensemble, this group is composed of some of the most talented high school jazz musicians of the corridor from Cedar Rapids to Cedar Falls. Under the direction of Steve Shanley, the North Corridor Jazz All Stars will present a musically diverse program featuring the many facets of Big Band repertoire. Always ensured to be a romping and swinging live jam, the North Corridor Jazz All Stars will certainly have the crowd moving to the beat and grinning with local pride.
4:00 PM Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola Duo
New Jersey-born percussionist Scott Amendola is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. He met guitarist Charlie Hunter soon after arriving in San Francisco in 1992. The two joined forces along with Will Bernard and John Schott to form the innovative band T. J. Kirk (Warner Bros.). T. J. Kirk went on to be nominated for a Grammy in 1995. A year and a half later, Scott joined the Charlie Hunter Quartet. The band toured worldwide and recorded three records for Blue Note. As far as compliments go, guitarist Charlie Hunter and percussionist Scott Amendola are like cold deep-dish pizza and a whiskey-hangover. The groovy, delectable variances of funky jazz is fueled by Amendola’s innate drumming skills and accentuated into a caliber of uniqueness all its own by Charlie Hunter’s equally astounding guitar skills. The pair’s intensive background in composition and performance of almost 20 years gives them the tools and the daring to touch just about every genre of music when they’re on stage. The two playing together is like an uninhibited, late night musical talk-show that’s taking place on a merry-go-round in time to whatever popping, smooth and sexy tune comes to their heads. Their most recent album, Not Getting Behind Is the New Getting Ahead, was produced by Brooklyn Recording straight to two track analog tape, with no editing, just like one would record a garage jam sesh on a tape recorder. The amazing versatility and perfection of beat trapped in each performance from these two is one of the most distinct on the American Jazz scene today.
6:00 PM Christian Scott Quintet
Armed with a full scholarship, Christian headed north to Berklee College of Music, where he earned two degrees in two years and eventually launched a music career that has positioned him as one of the great innovators of his generation. But along the way, Scott has learned that there’s still much work to be done – not just within the jazz idiom- but also in the larger world in which jazz exists. Scott was already proficient enough to join his uncle’s band when he was 13, and he played on Harrison’s 2000 recording, Paradise Found, when he was 16 – all of which gave him a considerable head start in relation to his peers in high school and at Berklee. In 2002 he made his solo debut with his self-released and self-titled album, Christian Scott.
In 2006, after earning significant attention and landing a record deal with Concord Jazz, Scott released Rewind That, an album whose mixture of modern jazz, rock and R&B garnered both criticism and praise – but ultimately a Grammy nomination. Anthem, released the following year, was in large part a statement about the political and social dynamics that enabled many people to ignore the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, his, 2010release on Concord Jazz, reflects the legacy of some of his musical heroes of the ‘60s, and at the same time wields the music as a tool to address some of the very important issues of contemporary culture. He followed with Ninety Miles on Concord in 2011 and a 2-CD release, Christian aTunde Adjuah on Concord in 2012, his most ambitious and expansive recording to date.
8:00 PM Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith and fans at the 2010 Iowa City Jazz Festival were very disappointed when a severe thunderstorm kept Dr. Lonnie Smith from taking the stage. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to bring back someone as imperial and pertinent to jazz as Dr. Lonnie Smith. The organist is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban!”
Always ahead of the curve, it is no surprise Dr. Smith’s fan-base is truly worldwide. Dr. Smith has been amused to find himself sampled in rap, dance and house grooves while being credited as a forefather of acid jazz. When questioned about his consistent interest in music some consider outside the jazz “mainstream,” Lonnie shrugs. “Jazz is American Classical,” he proclaims. “And this music is a reflection of what’s happening at the time… The organ is like the sunlight, rain and thunder…it’s all the worldly sounds to me!”
Sunday July 7:
2:00 PM Philip Dizack Quartet
Described by the Los Angeles Times as “One of the top young talents working today”, trumpeter Philip Dizack plays with a rawness and pure emotional expression that is heartfelt and startling upon first listening. Accompanied by bassist Joe Sanders, percussionist Justin Brown and pianist Sam Harris, the Wisconsin native addresses his music the way he addresses life – passionately and meaningfully. Debuting back in 2005 with his album Beyond a Dream as a freshman, his sophomore effort End of an Era reemphasizes his characteristic, what Stephanie Graham of Jazzwise calls, “a high-register sense of abandon and plenty of guts”. Frank Alkyer, reviewing End of an Era as an Editor’s Pick in Downbeat Magazine in November 2012, said “Philip Dizack is a terrific trumpeter with a grand vision. He drives a beautiful tone from his instrument, and thoughtfulness is a hallmark of his compositions and arrangements.” He added, “I hope this album marks the beginning of an era in which we get to watch the talent of Philip Dizack blossom.”
"I feel like when you're young, and people who are older than you tell you, 'Well, you'll learn when you're older,' this is what you learn," Dizack tells NPR’s Josh Jackson. "You learn by going through these experiences and really having to sort through the difficulties of learning and growing as a person."
4:00 PM JD Allen Trio
Hailed by the New York Times as "a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style," JD Allen is a bright rising light on today’s international jazz scene. His unique and compelling voice on the instrument – the result of a patient and painstaking confrontation with the fundamentals of the art - has recently earned Allen a blaze of critical attention signaling his ascension to the upper ranks of the contemporary jazz world. In 2008 Allen began an association with Sunnyside Records, which released I AM – I AM featuring Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) and garnered rave reviews from the New York Times (Ben Ratliff’s Playlist), Time Out NY (music cover), All About Jazz, Jazzman, Jazz Wise and Downbeat. That year Allen was awarded Rising Star Tenor Saxophone in the 56th Annual Downbeat Critics Poll and appeared on NPR's Jazz Perspectives, WNYC's Soundcheck and WKCR's Musician's Show. The Trio’s most recent album The Matador and The Bull, emits a blazing flurry of different melodies over pouncing bass lines, rambunctious drum rhythms and a rush of sax in a musical death dance, as it attempts to conquer the scenery from the point of views of the matador, and then the bull.
6:00 PM Fred Hersch Trio
Proclaimed by Vanity Fair magazine, as “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so,” Fred Hersch balances his internationally recognized instrumental skills with significant achievements as a composer, band leader, and theatrical conceptualist, as well as remaining an in-demand collaborator with other noted bandleaders and vocalists. As a solo pianist (he was the first artist in the 75-year history of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard to play week-long engagements as a solo pianist – his second featured run is documented on the 2011 release Alone at the Vanguard); as leader of a widely praised trio whose Whirl found its way onto numerous 2010 best-recordings-of-the-year lists; and as the impetus behind ambitious 2011 production, “My Coma Dreams,” a full-evening work for 11 instruments, actor/singer and animation/multimedia – Hersch has fully lived up to the approbation of the New York Times which, in a featured Sunday Magazine article, praised him as “singular among trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz – a jazz for the 21st century.” He was nominated for two 2012 Grammy Awards for Alone at the Vanguard – for Best Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo9. These were his fourth and fifth nominations. His 2011 release Alone at the Vanguard was awarded the 2012 Grand Prix du Disque by the Academie Charles Cros in France and has made the Best Jazz CDs of 2012 list in Slate and Downbeat Magazine.
8:00 PM Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders is a Grammy Award-winning American jazz saxophonist. Saxophonist Ornette Coleman once described him as "probably the best tenor player in the world." Emerging from John Coltrane's groups of the mid-1960s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of "sheets of sound." Sanders is an important figure in the development of free jazz. Born Ferrell Sanders, the name ‘Pharoah’ was claimed to have been iven to him by fellow band member and legendary pianist and composer Sun Ra. Sanders played with John Coltrane’s band for about a year beginning in late 1964, the same year he recorded his first album as a leader. Most of his late-1960’s albums were released on the Impulse, his first major label.
In the 1970’s, the tenor saxophonist continued to develop his abilities as bandleader, working with the likes of Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Don Cherry and producing highly acclaimed albums for Impulse such as Black Unity (1971) and Thembi (1971). In 1994, he travelled to Morocco to record with master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania, resulting in the Bill Laswell-produced The Trance of Seven Colours. Sanders continued to work with Laswell, Jah Wobble, and others on the albums Message from Home (1996) and Save Our Children (1999). In 2000, Sanders released Spirits -- a multi-ethnic live suite with Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph. In the decades after his first recordings with Coltrane, Sanders developed into a more well-rounded artist, capable of playing convincingly in a variety of contexts, from free to mainstream. Some of his best work is his most accessible. As a mature artist, Sanders discovered a hard-edged lyricism that has served him well.
Youth Stage sponsored by West Music
College Stage sponsored by Clinton Street Social Club
Friday Evening, 5:30 to 6:00 pm & 7:30 to 8:00 pm
Local Stage: Saul Lubaroff Quartet
College Stage: Chris Reichmeyer Trio
Youth Stage: Silver Swing Band
Saturday Daytime, 1:30-2:00pm & 3:30-4:00 pm
Local Stage: Chris Oatts
College Stage: Jose Emilio Gobbo Ensemble
Youth Stage: Jazz St. Louis
Saturday Evening, 5:30-6:00pm & 7:30-8:00pm
Local Stage: Bob Domsic Combo
College Stage: Steve Grismore Trio
Youth Stage: The Dakota Combo
Sunday Daytime, 1:30-2:00pm & 3:30-4:00pm
Local Stage: Andrew Di Ruzza
College Stage: The Commons Jazz Ensemble
Youth Stage: The Cedar Rapids Washington Vanguard Combo
Sunday Evening, 5:30-6:00pm & 7:30-8:00pm
Local Stage: Jon Snell Quintet
College Stage: Adam Schroeder Combo
Youth Stage: Iowa City High School Jazz Ensemble
Jam Session Bands at The Mill
Friday: Laranja with Cassius Goens
Saturday: Chris Oatts
Sunday: Jose 'Ze' Gobbo