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Septet from Jazz at Lincoln Center will tour South Africa to benefit Field Band Foundation

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will sponsor Jazz at Lincoln Center’s first ever South African cultural exchange program with the Field Band Foundation to produce performances and educational events in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

The Field Band Foundation uses brass and drum corps marching music to engage its members and make them, their families, classmates and audiences aware of the importance of HIV prevention. Jazz at Lincoln Center is partnering with the organization to employ jazz in this manner as well as teach the organization’s members and instructors the New Orleans-style marching band jazz tradition.

In May 2006, Wycliffe Gordon, leading the Jazz at Lincoln Center Septet, and distinguished teaching jazz musicians, will travel throughout South Africa for a 10-day performance/ education tour of the country. In each of the three cities, Jazz at Lincoln Center will also produce a formal concert in a large venue to raise awareness of the Field Band Foundation’s HIV/AIDS education and prevention program. They will also provide jazz master classes for township residents.

Prior to setting off on its tour of South Africa, the septet will also perform a free afternoon concert on Tuesday, May 9, at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Field Band Foundation’s musician/instructors will teach Wycliffe Gordon and the other septet members about traditional South African township music so that Jazz at Lincoln Center can produce cross-cultural artistic and educational programming in New York.

In recent years, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra has produced concerts celebrating the connections between jazz and the musical traditions of Brazil (samba, bossa nova), Spain (flamenco), Argentina (tango) and Ghana (Ghanaian drumming). In response to the exchange experience and the relationships that are forged with South African musicians, JALC will plan innovative programming that informs and entertains audiences in the U.S.

Members of the touring group:

Wycliffe Gordon enjoys an extraordinary career as a performer, conductor, composer, arranger and educator, receiving high praise from audiences and critics alike. He tours the world performing hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz for audiences ranging from heads of state to elementary school students.

His trombone playing, which mixes powerful, intricate runs with sweet notes extended over clean melodies, has been universally hailed by jazz critics. He is rapidly becoming one of America’s most persuasive and committed music educators. Currently serving on the faculty of the newly-established Jazz Studies Program at The Juilliard School, he also is the Artist-In-Residence at the School of Music at Michigan State University. His work with young musicians and audiences from elementary schools to universities all over the world is extensive and includes master classes, clinics, workshops, children’s concerts and lectures — powerful evidence of his unique ability to relate musically to people of all ages.

Herlin Riley was born into a musical family in New Orleans, LA, and began playing the drums at age three. He was a member of Ahmad Jamal’s band from 1984 through 1987, and has performed and/or recorded with Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr. and George Benson, among others. In the spring of 1988, he joined Wynton Marsalis’s septet, with which he toured and recorded for six years. He has performed regularly with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra since it began touring in 1992 and has released two recordings as a leader, “Cream of the Crescent” in 2005 and “Watch What You’re Doing” in 2000. Both of these albums feature fellow Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra members.

Shannon Powell, a drummer, who also shows off his talent as a vocalist, is most assuredly a product of his environment. The always-smiling Powell digs into his huge bag of resources and influences acquired through a lifetime of experiencing the music scene in the heart of New Orleans. He’s at once a traditional jazz and modern jazz musician, who early-on worked with banjoist/guitarist Danny Barker as well as pianist Ellis Marsalis. Powell undoubtedly received his widest recognition during his six years in Harry Connick Jr.’s band, that resulted in two platinum records. The rhythm and blues scene also utilized Powell’s huge abilities and he boasts recordings with vocalists Johnny Adams and Tommy Ridgley.

Mark Braud was born in New Orleans and began playing the trumpet at the age of 12. He began his professional career at age 15, playing with some of the best New Orleans brass bands. He attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a nationally-known high school dedicated to educating students in the fine arts, with alumni including such jazz greats as Harry Connick, Jr., Branford Marsalis and Nicholas Payton, to name a few. In 2001, he joined the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band and still currently a member. In 2002, he was in the Broadway production of “One Mo’ Time” where he received critical acclaim. He currently leads his own jazz band (The New Orleans Jazz Giants) and brass band (The Basin Street Brass Band).

Roderick Paulin, grew up immersed in the New Orleans brass-band tradition. He began studying saxophone when he was in the fourth grade and soon started performing with his father as the youngest member of the ‘Doc’ Paulin Brass Band. In 1990, Kermit Ruffins invited Paulin to join ReBirth Brass Band that was reviving and transforming second-line music with its willingness to incorporate urban, funk and hip-hop into the mix. With ReBirth, Paulin was able to explore his interest in funk and began composing and arranging for the band. He went on to form his own soulful funk band. For now, he admits to being in a “heavy funk” phase, but, with his vast experience, there is no telling what will follow.

Doreen Ketchens has been called the “Queen of Jazz”, “the Female Louis Armstrong” and “Miss Satchmo” in every place she has performed. She is a rising star whose brilliance shines forth from the purest, most profound and living sources of New Orleans jazz. She is the leader of Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, a group whose interest lies in spreading the culture and traditional music of New Orleans all over the world.

Lawrence H. Ketchens’ talents for playing his tuba has made him a powerful soloist as well as a great bass-man. He plays for the ensemble Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, a group whose interest lies in spreading the culture and traditional music of New Orleans all over the world.

Jazz at Lincoln Center is a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to jazz. With the world-renowned Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and a comprehensive array of guest artists, Jazz at Lincoln Center advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by producing a year-round schedule of performance, education and broadcast events for audiences of all ages.

Jazz at Lincoln Center, with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will produce The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad, a program that compiles international tours that bring jazz and urban music groups to destinations throughout the world each year. The theme for 2006 tour is “Latin Jazz” and, in addition to performances, musicians will conduct educational programming such as master classes, lectures and radio and television appearances.

All groups will have an opportunity to perform at free public performances at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and in Washington D.C. prior to the tours. Other Jazz at Lincoln Center productions include concerts, national and international tours, residencies, weekly national radio and television programs, recordings, publications, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, a band director academy, a jazz appreciation curriculum for children, advanced training through the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies, music publishing, children’s concerts, lectures, adult education courses and student and educator workshops.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, Chairman of the Board Lisa Schiff, President and CEO Derek E. Gordon, Executive Director Katherine E. Brown, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center board and staff, Jazz at Lincoln Center will produce hundreds of events during its 2005-2006 season. In October 2004, Jazz at Lincoln Center opened Frederick P. Rose Hall, the first-ever performance, education and broadcast facility devoted to jazz.

For more information, visit www.jalc.org.

The Field Band Foundation in South Africa works to create life opportunities for the youth of South Africa through the discipline and creativity of music and movement. The Field Band Foundation is a non-profit in South Africa that brings together poverty-stricken youth by giving them the opportunity to learn and perform music and dance skills –- in the tradition of marching drum and bugle corps in the United States.

However, there is much more to the FBF than music and dance. The youth participate in a multi-module HIV prevention program that teaches them to separate misinformation from facts about the disease and how it is spread. AIDS kills 1 in 3 persons in SA and deaths caused by AIDS are as high as 40% in some of the townships in which the FBF works. Many of the youth become “peer counselors” that take on the responsibility of teaching other youth or family members in their townships that are not directly associated with the FBF.

Through the peer counselor program, thousands of people have access to accurate information on how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent and reduce the spread of HIV within their communities.

The FBF also promotes employment opportunities through a minimum of 30 paid performances per band per year. Field Band alumni who age out of the field bands also have employment opportunities to become mentors or teachers for a band or an internal staff member.

Finally, the programs teach gender equality, how to live in a just and civil society (11 years after the end of apartheid), self-discipline, teamwork and how to prepare to be a young adult in a country that is rife with opportunity. The FBF currently serves 3,600 youth from 133 townships across South Africa.

To learn more about the Field Band Foundation and donate online, go to www.fieldband.org.za.

(1) Source: Medical Research Council – Printed in BBC News, May 18, 2005

U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs fosters mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through international educational and training programs. The bureau does so by promoting personal, professional and institutional ties between private citizens and organizations in the United States and abroad, as well as by presenting U.S. history, society, art and culture in all of its diversity to overseas audiences.

Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program presents selected professional American performers of jazz and urban music on concert tours in countries where there is limited exposure to live American culture. The program is administered and produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program is the new name for the Jazz Ambassadors, and reflects the program’s inclusion of additional musical forms.

Further information is available at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/citizens/culture/jazzamb.htm.

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