Monday, July 16, 2012

The Shed: Portland State's First Jazz Camp starting this WEEK!

The Shed is happening this week!
I've very excited about what's happening this Tuesday: the first ever Portland State Summer Jazz Camp. We're calling it "The Shed." It's a three day combo and improvisation centered intensive workshop, being held right on the Portland State University campus(in Lincoln Hall). We have a great faculty; myself, Darrell Grant, Charley Grey, Farnell Newton, Alan Jones, Tim Gilson, David Valdez, and special guest Dan Balmer. There will be some great masterclasses, ensemble coaching, and student/teacher jam sessions. It's a great way to keep your inspiration up during the summer break.

Darrell Grant
I think it is a unique jazz camp in that we are focusing on specific repertoire. The idea is that three days of concentration on a set group of tunes will give a certain amount of clarity to the entire camp. When we end the day with jam sessions, we can come together and see how we have improved and also see what others are doing with the same tunes. There won't be the dreaded,"uhhhhh, I dunno, what do YOU wanna play?" We'll have a collective rep to call upon. I prepared transposed charts for every student( I even add correct intros and chord changes, so there is a bit more accuracy than just reading out of the Real Book), and students who have already signed up have the charts to prepare beforehand.

Alan Jones
If you are reading this and thinking, "I wonder if there is more space in the workshop?" Yes, there is! While the enrollment thus far has been better than expected, we still have room and would love to have you. The last chance to enroll, besides today, is tomorrow between 8 am and 10 am in Lincoln Hall 47. Please see the website ( for details. If you email me today, I can send you the packet of charts in PDF form so you can take a look before we start.

Dan Balmer
I'm extra enthusiastic about this camp because my own experience with summer band camps was a big part of why I became a musician. I went to a summer music camp at Centennial High School in Maryland in the early 80's; this is where I first heard Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Clifford Brown, and Weather Report, thanks to the Music Appreciation segment. I wouldn't have had a jazz career without that class. Hopefully, "The Shed" will serve as lasting inspiration for all the students who have enrolled. See you there bright and early tomorrow!

I'm leaving you with a video of Darrell Grant on piano, one of our students Jon Lakey on bass, and I on drums. It's always fun for me to get a chance to play drums, and it's especially fun to play with Darrell Grant! Enjoy!

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