One of the most well-regarded jazz programs in the country, according to the New York Times, is coming to Hopkins. UW-Eau Claire Jazz I will perform on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Hopkins High School auditorium. The Hopkins Jazz Band, made up of about 20 students, will also perform one song with the university’s jazz ensemble.
UW-Eau Claire director Robert Baca said the Hopkins community has such a high bar of appreciation for the arts that they felt a combined performance would make for a fantastic experience of performer and audience interaction.
“Inspiring experiences change our lives and set a positive direction in our thinking — making us happy people. For performers and listeners, it is the miracle of how music affects us in a concert setting,” Baca said.
The concert will feature Alexa Tarantino, Adi Yeshaya and the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band. Tarantino is an award-winning jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer and educator. Yeshaya is an Israeli-American composer, arranger and jazz pianist. Finally, the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band is made up of Minnesota’s finest high school jazz musicians.
About UWEC Jazz I
UWEC Jazz I is proud to have received some of the highest awards available to educational institutions including eight DownBeat awards for the “Best Undergraduate Jazz Band”, two Grammy nominations along with 21 CDs. The ensemble has toured throughout the United States, Europe and the Pacific Rim. In 1991 they performed in China, being recognized as the first jazz ensemble to tour this country since opening its borders to the western world. In the last three years, Jazz I has included performances at the Midwest Band Directors Conference in Chicago, Illinois; the New York Brass Conference in New York City; the Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio Music Educators Conferences, two Northwestern Regional MENC Conferences, and the MENC National Conference.
About Alexa Tarantino
Alexa’s “lovely, ardent way of improvising,” and “sharply plotted but gracefully unencumbered straight-ahead jazz [compositions]” (Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times) establish her individual voice which shines through as a dynamic performer and educator. Tarantino’s performance highlights include prestigious venues such as the Umbria Jazz Festival (with Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project), the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Hollywood Bowl (with Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra), the Rockport Jazz Festival (Alexa Tarantino Quintet), Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra), and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (with LSAT, Earth, Wind & Fire and others). She performs regularly as a leader and side woman in a wide variety of ensembles and genres including Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (holding a weekly residency at Birdland Jazz Club), Cécile McLorin Salvant’s OGRESSE, LSAT (her new quintet co-led with baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian), and the Alexa Tarantino Quartet.
About Adi Yeshaya
Adi Yeshaya is an Israeli-American composer, arranger and jazz pianist. Graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Adi has been active, both as a musician and educator for nearly four decades. His credentials include arranging and orchestration for many artists, including Prince, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, Doc Severinsen, Burt Bacharach, The Minnesota Orchestra, and The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra / Jazzaar. In addition, he has been a staff arranger for NBC’s The Voice. As an educator, Adi has taught at the University of Minnesota, McNally Smith College of Music (St. Paul, MN), the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). His CD Shammer Jam was released on March 2017 and his new book Arranging For Studio, Stage and Pit will be published in Fall 2019.
About Robert Baca
Robert Baca is Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Other duties include teaching Jazz Improvisation, Jazz History, directing Jazz Ensembles I & II, and coordinating one of the nation’s largest jazz festivals. Mr. Baca’s background includes numerous performances in both classical and commercial areas. Mr. Baca has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and is a current member of the Phillip Brunelle “Plymouth Music Series Orchestra” as well as a past member of the popular radio ensemble for Garrison Keilor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” He has toured with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett and Mel Torme and numerous others. As a teacher, Mr. Baca works with all levels of students and has served as conductor for many all state honors jazz ensembles. He has performed as a soloist in China, London, Costa Rica and Europe. Mr. Baca is a past executive board member for the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) as the United States Representative as well as an advisory board member for the “Edwin Franko Goldman Band.” He also previously served as Vice President of Wisconsin Music Educators Association (Northwest Region) and president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, Wisconsin Chapter.