Back to all news stories

Cool at heart

By Marilou Carlin

The life and music of Miles Davis was at the heart of this year’s University of Michigan Jazz Festival, held Saturday, Feb.11. The festival featured a day of clinics, lectures, masterclasses and performances at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

The festival featured the U-M Jazz Ensemble, the U-M Jazz Trombone Ensemble and performances by trumpeter Sean Young (photo below) with Geri Allen on piano, Robert Hurst on bass and Sean Dobbins on drums.  Also appearing will be legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller (photo left), who received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Jazz Festival is organized and run annually by SMTD through the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, with support from numerous academic units within U-M.  It is a noncompetitive event providing collegiate and high school students with an opportunity for increased experience and understanding of American jazz.  All participating students enjoy interaction with the festival guest artists, the music faculty of SMTD, and other professional jazz musicians and distinguished music educators. The festival is open to students, educators and music lovers of all ages.

The 2012 festival is named “Miles Davis Day” in celebration of the late great trumpeter, and will include a historical lecture about Davis with Young and Fuller. Jones is one of jazz’s top young trumpeters, known for both his lyrical fluidity and high-tier technical facility.  Fuller, a Detroit native celebrated for his unique style and sound, has enjoyed half a century of performing with a who’s who of jazz giants, including Davis.

Other highlights of the day included a music career seminar (“Getting a Gig”), a Sean Jones masterclass, and a Festival Awards Concert featuring the UM Jazz Lab Ensemble with guest soloist Bill Sears.