Friday, September 22

A New Tune


A&E


Thursday, February 13, 1997

UCLA celebrates its new Jazz Studies Program with an

inaugural concert Friday featuring jazz great Herbie Hancock.By
Nerissa Pacio

Daily Bruin Contributor

lthough the music department typically radiates with the sounds
of musicians blaring trumpets or strumming chords, for the past two
weeks the department has been buzzing with talk of jazz keyboardist
and composer Herbie Hancock.

As this year’s regents’ lecturer, Hancock is not only bringing
new insight about music to UCLA students in his lectures and
demonstrations, but he will bring his own unique musical sounds and
compositions as the guest performer in tomorrow’s Jazz Studies
Program benefit/inaugural concert at the Veterans Wadsworth
Theater.

"I felt very honored to be UCLA’s Regents’ Lecturer this year,"
says Hancock, "By teaching here, I hope to help get rid of that old
stigma of jazz musicians. I want to promote the image of jazz, yet
not hype it."

With both the recent creation of the Jazz Studies Program in
September and the February celebration of Black History Month,
Hancock’s arrival is especially timely.

"The whole of music history has changed due to African
Americans," Hancock emphasizes, "people don’t realize the true
influence of other ethnicities and it’s time to change that. The
establishment of the jazz concentration is a great way to
begin."

Professor Burrell, director of the Jazz Studies Program agrees
with Hancock, noting that "ethnomusicology should be part of the
mainstream and not simply a branch of the music department."

As both a celebratory and fund-raising effort for the program,
the inaugural concert featuring Hancock will showcase a host of
other great jazz artists. Along with guest performer Hancock, the
concert will feature UCLA’s #1 Big Band directed by Grammy award
nominee Gerald Wilson and Garnett Brown, UCLA’s #1 Jazz Combo,
directed by Kenny Burrell, and the jazz faculty ensemble.

While both the #1 Big Band and #1 Jazz Combo consist of UCLA
students, the faculty ensemble consists of jazz faculty greats such
as Billy Higgins, Harold Land, Billy Childs, Oscar Brashear,
Garnett Brown, Roberto Miranda, Tom Ranier and vocalist Ruth
Price.

Although the program for the concert isn’t finalized, Professor
Gerald Wilson, a Jazz Studies professor who will perform, is sure
that they will play selections by the "great writers of jazz." Some
big names that are sure to appear on the list include compositions
by Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Garnett Brown and Hancock
himself.

The concert rightly celebrates the new Jazz Studies Program
while at the same time celebrating Hancock’s visit. Sponsored by
both the music and ethnomusicology departments, the new program
will enhance the departments by "encompassing a broader spectrum of
music," says Kenny Burrell, director of UCLA’s new jazz studies
program.

"Some would say this jazz concentration is long overdue, which
it is," Burrell continues, "but we’re glad it eventually
happened."

In terms of teaching music, Burrell also adds that the Jazz
Studies Program will bring in a broader range of students and
faculty, diversifying the curriculums. Wilson says that in addition
to the program itself, having Burrell as the director greatly adds
to the program. "Burrell is a brilliant musical architect," Wilson
says.

With a name virtually synonymous with jazz, Hancock’s
involvement with the students also enriches the program. Hancock,
who has worked with artists such as Miles Davis and Buster Williams
and won a Grammy award for best R&B instrumental, remains
grounded in his knowledge of old school jazz but also on the
cutting edge. With his computer-based pieces and exploration of
electronic devices in his music, Hancock is also interested in the
future of music technology.

One of Hancock’s lectures during his two-week stay at UCLA even
consisted of a demonstration and signing of his new CD-ROM on the
history of jazz, titled "Living Jazz," which was the first non-book
title nominated for a Peabody award.

Hancock’s goal in his demonstration and lectures to UCLA
students is to show that jazz has something in it for everyone.
"Jazz is both a fresh and mature music. It is not confined to the
young or old," says Hancock. "In fact, its popularity is
increasing, with jazz clubs physically expanding, providing larger
venues for larger audiences."

Burrell applauds Hancock’s non-linear approach to music and his
efforts to bring his innovative ideas to the campus. "It’s not
often that you have musicians working in such technological realms.
This is true insight from a musician’s point of view as a primary
source."

Hancock’s lectures during his stay have included topics such as
the "Preparation for Success in the Music World" and various
lectures on jazz theory and improvisation. Preceding tomorrow’s
concert, a public forum on the "Perspectives of Jazz" will also
take place in the afternoon with Burrell serving as moderator and
Hancock as one of the panelists.

"My hope is to inspire the students, to support their inherent
openness, and to give them the sense of spirituality in the music,"
says Hancock. "Jazz is such a great example of that creative
spirit."

Although Hancock has a busy schedule ahead of him, as he is
continuing to undertake his CD-ROM project and other new musical
technologies, and is working on projects with the Thelonious Monk
Institute, Hancock hopes to return to UCLA in the future to work
with the music and ethnomusicology departments.

The highlight of my stay here so far has been the incredible
attitude of the students. I’m proud to have a connection with
UCLA," says Hancock.

Meanwhile, Hancock’s aim is to enjoy the rest of his visit on
campus and to prepare and make the most of tomorrow’s
performance.

Interested listeners could even stop by a jam session/rehearsal
as the musicians prepare for the concert. However, Burrell jokes,
"You can come in but you better not steal one of our licks!"

Hancock adds, "Yeah, maybe I should cover my hands!"

Joking aside, Hancock reflects about his love for the art.

"I love composition, but to me, the best aspect of jazz is
playing it. It’s immediate, spontaneous, fresh off the pot," says
Hancock, "You may see us sweatin’ up there, but we are having some
fun!"

MUSIC: The UCLA Jazz Studies Inaugural Concert will begin at 8
p.m. Friday at the Veterans Wadsworth Theater. Tickets: $22, $7
students. For more info, call CTO at (310) 825-2101. The forum,
"Perspectives on Jazz," starts at 1 p.m. at the Jan Popper Theater
in Schoenberg Hall. Admission is free. For more information, call
(310) 825-4761

Todd Cheney/ASUCLA Photography

Kenny Burrell (left) and Herbie Hancock play at an informal jam
session in Shoenberg Hall.Bahman Farahdel

Kenny Burrell will play at the Jazz Studies inaugural concert
this Friday.

"My hope is to inspire the students … and to give them the …
spirituality in the music."

Herbie Hancock

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