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Embodiology Dance and Music Improvisation Workshop w/Joey Sellers

Joey Sellers Joins JazzXchange!

New enterprises for exploration are afoot at JazzXchange. Bringing his insight from an long and impressive career of freelance trombone and piano playing, arranging and composing for big Jazz names such as Doc Severinsen and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Conrad Herwig, Dave Liebman, we welcome Joey Sellers to the JazzXchange family for exciting new projects that will be announced officially in the coming months.

Sellers was assistant professor of music at Northern Illinois University from 1999 to 2002 and he is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Saddleback College.

JazzXchange Director and Founder Sheron Wray and Sellers will synergize their expertise in a collaborative investigation fueled by their mutual curiosity about the relationship between jazz dance and jazz music. Through embodied research and interdisciplinary interplay, Wray and Sellers will search for a transformative paradigm that returns Jazz to its dance music roots.

For more on Joey, check out his website.

Welcome Joey!

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KUCI Wednesday 5-6pm

This upcoming Wednesday from 5-6pm on the radio station KUCI, Artistic Director, Sheron Wray will be interviewed about our upcoming event “Jazz: the House that America Built”. Please tune in to hear more about the programmed show and the non-profit JazzXchange!

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JazzXchange Premiere!

Jazz: The House That America Built

Join us at the Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano, CA!

Envision a nation without division; this is – Jazz: The House that America Built. While many people perceive jazz as a 20th century musical phenomena, JazzXchange exists to show audiences how the art of jazz continues to be a space for 21st century innovation; a space where diverse communities come together through art, in the moment, to create anew.

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Get Ticket$ Now!

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One Night Only…

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Jazz is a process of creation which embraces difference melded together through a commitment to swing into time. It has always represented a multitude of nationalities that make up the United States and this JazzXchange performance embodies exactly this. Visibly, artists from different ethnicities create together.

Jazz music and jazz dancing are American inventions; each exists because of the other, embracing uncertainty with dynamism in surprising new ways. JazzXchange brings together six dancers, three musicians and three spoken word artists who combine their talents to create an inspired evening of musical performance. Join us, as we navigate through “Jazz: the House that America Built,” and witness the intimate connections between cross artform dialogue, insightful improvisation, and soulful expression. Led by Artistic Director Sheron Wray, the artists include, Mark W, The Dylan Romaine Trio, Makeda Kumasi and Jamielle Rankin.

 

The program also includes a new work-in-progress from the OC choreographer Leann Alduenda. Leann is delighted to be the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Dance at Santa Ana College and is an adjunct faculty at Chapman University. Leann was the Artistic Director of the Jimmie DeFore Dance Center for 15 years, where she taught technique and performance classes, headed the teen performance company, and co-directed the scholarship program. She is currently still an instructor there and co-directs the faculty choreography showcase “PULSE” each January.

Watch the JazzXchange Trailer! 

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Today in Jazz History

Today in the California, June 7th is one of the days we get to practice and participate in our government. I hope all of you had the chance to exercise your right to vote today. On another note, here are some jazzy notes about what has happened on this particular day regarding jazz music.

 

Guitarist Tal Farlow born 1921 in Greensboro, NC.

Pianist/composer Thelonious Monk records solo album in Paris, 1954.

Trumpeter Miles Davis records Nefertiti with his quintet (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hanock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, 1967.

If you’re curious for more information regarding jazz history, this is a great source: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/education/today-jazz-history#jun

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Jazz: the house America built

Mark your calendars for June 23rd! We would love to share our latest works with you.

 

Here are some photos from JamXchange that took place on April 30th.

 

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Responses to the “Transformations Suite”

The Transformations Suite

Composed by Samora Pinderhughes

 

The Transformations Suite is a composition in five movements, combining spoken word

and music. Continuing in the tradition of artists such as Bob Marley, Duke Ellington,

Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday and Tupac Shakur, the suite paints a musical picture of the

current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States. It connects the

experiences of all members of the African Diaspora both musically and socially,

examining notions of art, oppression, spirituality, resistance, faith and love.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6:30-9:30 pm, Student Center

259 RSVPs through Illuminations Eventbrite Link

 

Student comments (from students enrolled in the Illuminations Colloquium)

 

The time flew by at this event! I didn’t want it to end. The second it started, I felt like

I was transported into another place. The room was filled with so much emotion and

passion. I had to confront my own feeling on this issue. I am glad I went!

I enjoyed Transformations Suite mainly because of the variety of music used, such as

piano, spoken word, vocals, and drums to connect the audience with issues of social

inequality and injustice. With the incorporation of musical instruments of jazz into social

justice issues, I was able to understand these artist’s emotions through their spoken word

and vocals. Rather than listening to a speech about social inequality, I enjoyed the

musical integration in this event. Overall the event was musically soothing and I learned

how art and music can influence social change and also encourage society to step

forward.

 

I was not expecting this event to be anything it turned out to be. This performance of

jazz, spoken word, and singing was very powerful. I appreciated the time that they took

out to perform and prepare for this. It was amazing to hear how many places they

performed at—Julliard and so many others. They played beautifully. The way they

performed was so powerful and amazing. It was very moving and powerful to see how

passionate their music was. The spoken word was what moved me the most. The effect of

the spoken word performed made me feel what she felt. Having gone through the

experience herself, the emotion was powerful.

 

I loved how their performance was in stages, and also how the performance itself was a

transformation. It encouraged the audience to make a transformation. The ending where it

was on us to change was so great because it is true. We can listen, watch powerful

performances, and say so much, but if we do not do act on it then nothing will happen. It

is amazing and sad where this world has come to, but it can change. Thank you for the

amazing performance, Transformations Suite.

 

Personally, I never really liked poetry with music; however, this event has definitely

changed my mind. First of all, I love how everyone so enjoyed this event and I love how

much the musicians, singers, and poets have put their hard work into this performance.

The lyrics were very effective and inspiring in a way that made me enjoy them even

more. I also loved the Q&A that the performers did after. I might actually start to attend

more events like this after this very exciting experience!

 

The entire performance was fabulous, especially “Momentum.” Those shocking yellings

of "Now!" makes the audience automatically clap and encourage them to think about

unequal treatment and other difficulties. Moreover, I liked one part of “History,” the sax

solo especially because it made me clam down.

 

Last night’s performance at the Crystal Cove auditorium was amazing. I was very

impressed by how the music, poetry, and lyrics on the board came together to create a

strong impact. My favorite was the fourth section: Momentum. The performer gets very

emotional when she spoke her lines from her soul. Racism, slavery, poverty, and violence

must not be forgotten, and the time for us to speak the truth and demand justice is now.

I definitely was not expecting such an emotional performance. At the very end the

vocalist was talking about using seduction to draw in the audience before hitting them

with the message they wanted to get across. I felt that in the beginning the music was

inviting. Then the other vocalist did some spoken word poetry that was beautiful and

intense at times. Personally, words in these spoken word pieces did not speak to me, but

the tone and the feelings attached to them did. The jazz music gave this component of

hope for the future, while the spoken word poetry was there to display the issues in our

society today. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of historical audio and video with the live

performance. It was an eye opening experience and I’m glad I attended this performance.

 

I was profoundly impacted by the Transformations Suite performance last night. As a

cultural anthropology major, diversity and cultural awareness has been a passion of mine

for many years. I am ecstatic that an event like this can be brought to campus in order to

educate people about the history and continued impacts of racism. The event represents

the ideals of the Illuminations program: that art can teach, that it is a valuable part of

education and human experience, and should receive more attention. It was stated that the

event was to showcase how art could create social change, and I believe having powerful

spoken words mixed with music provides an emotional venue through which to

understand these difficult topics, and is much more powerful than a lecture or reading

could ever be.  Needless to say, this was not the jazz you listen to in a cafe while you

mindlessly drink coffee. While at the beginning there seemed to be a dissonance in the

music that made it slightly hard to listen to, it would seem that the music was designed

that way in order to reflect the subject matter. Talking about slavery, racism and poverty

is not easy, and as such the music should not always be easy, or pleasant, to hear. Instead,

it forced me to feel, as well as have my mind stimulated, rather than allowing me to tune

out to the sound of pleasant music. I was so moved by the line, “You are everything they

read about but are too afraid to see.” I felt this line encapsulated the current condition of

race talks in our community. We can read about racism and watch news reports on it, but

once people actually try approaching the topic of race there is an extreme amount of

discomfort. Oftentimes, this can lead to a conversation being shut down, which only adds

more tension to the situation. This line serves as a unifying statement, as many target

groups can rally behind this point, acknowledging that they have struggled, and yet

people do not want to hear about it. But instead of allowing ourselves to be shut down,

we must keep speaking through the difficult conversations, pushing for a better

understanding of each other and creating a better world. We have this power, through our

words, through our art, through our actions. Needless to say, I was in tears during this

event. Thank you so much for bringing this performance to UCI.

 

I really enjoyed this Suite because I thought the singers and musicians played with their

hearts. I would like to see more events like this on campus. This was the first time I

attended an event that so clearly portrayed a topic that is relevant today. I loved the

spoken word and the dialogue after.

 

It was my first time attending a musical-based composition that also provides educational

value. The Transformations Suite was an excellent event that aimed to use art to reflect

life, and actually it perfectly did. The jazz music was thoroughly impressive, with spoken

words and songs describing the history. I loved the saxophone because through it, I could

get the idea of what the main points during the section were. During the Transformation,

I sensed through the music a willingness to change. During the Cycles, I sensed puzzling

feelings. During Momentum and Ascension, I felt the enthusiasm and confidence to

change the world. I can understand how the composer wants to convey the messages of

history and revolution. I was so moved by the repeated words “NOW” in the Momentum

section, and I believe that “We got to change.” In all, this event was very meaningful for

its artistic and educational values.

 

So far this event has had the biggest impact on me. I really enjoyed the music, the lyrics,

and how it all tied together to address social injustice. The music was very moving and

the lyrics made me think of different issues within society. It also made me challenge

myself to address the feelings that the music and overall performance made me feel. I

really enjoyed the composition of the event—how it was a performance as well as a time

to address social injustice through lyrics and poetry-like speech. The composer did an

amazing job in creating and building up to the climax to provoke a sense of action against

these injustices, and demonstrating a little of what it can feel like to face these types of

challenges. I also enjoyed the question and answer because we got to meet all the

performers and hear their thoughts of their work and how they feel about it. I really

enjoyed this event, and I am so inspired and taken away by the composer and all the

performers in this presentation.

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Artist Profile: RobbC.

RobbC. is a 22 year old music artist, film-maker, and student out of Compton, California. Set to Graduate from UC Irvine in June 16′, Robb plans on pursuing a career in music and film. His sound is versatile and his style heavenly influenced by his personal life experience and those around him. He tells stories that range from his childhood experiences all the way to his now adult life. He is a politically conscious artist who believes in educating and spreading a positive message through his music. We are excited to have Robb perform with us on April 30th at JamXchange!

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Artist Profile: Mark W.

Mark “Mark W.” Whitlock III, one of Inglewood’s finest emcees, is a man with many

layers. The son of a pastor, an artist, a dancer, and a self-taught pianist, he grew up

an introvert. A student of Hip-Hop at an early age, Mark W. struggled with anger

issues and eventually began writing as a means of anger management. Over the

years, he has grown to use rap and Hip-Hop as a means of expression and his main

vehicle to connect with others. No longer the introverted preacher’s kid, Mark W.

transformed into a playful and outgoing cypher emcee. Charismatic and sarcastic,

his suave and complex delivery instantly captures an audience. Driven by success

and his deep-seeded love of family, Mark W. persistently chases his dreams and

hopes of inspiring others. Highly educated and fun loving, Mark W. is inspired by

extremely passionate individuals who are fiercely devoted to their crafts. His keen

work ethic and multifaceted nature solidify his future place among the highly

regarded and widely recognized emcees of all time.

Obsessive, and at times over-analytical, Mark W. motivates himself and fellow group

members (J.Qwest and Mistah Redd) to employ greatness as their standard for each

verse. Since 2007, Lost Dialect has entertained audiences nationwide with their

thought-provoking and exciting lyrical accounts of self-development and emotional

struggles. Reminiscent of musical pioneers such as Run DMC and The Roots, who

refused to be confined to stereotypical categories of music, Lost Dialect hope to

inspire others to a more communal view of Hip-Hop than current mainstream songs

suggest.

Follow Mark W. on Instagram @MarkWLive and get more on The Tribe at

www.lostdialect.com.

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Baseball’s Most Valuable Dancers

“We need some extra movers at a packing house in Anaheim.”

 

Packing house? Movers?? That was exactly how UCI Dance Professor Sheron Wray described March 26th to me as well as several other dancers while asking for our help. It’s relevance to dance was quite beyond my knowledge at the time and I wasn’t the only person to have doubts. Little did I know that this day would be filled with plot twists.

 

At the time, I didn’t realize that this was an event produced by JazzXchange, a non-profit performing arts organization, to expose to the public and give a taste of the Citrus Festival that is to occur in April 9th in honor of Jazz Appreciation month.

 

And, contrary to my initial thoughts, the alleged “packing house” is actually the Anaheim Packing District where the interior is lavishly decorated by artsy furniture, garnished with touches of history and full of a  multitude of unique restaurants that serve food from around the globe in different styles.

 

Well . . . I thought I would be hauling around boxes of potatoes.

While my day consisted of taking photos and documenting the event under the supervision and mentorship of Annalisa Carrillo-Fulk, one of JazzXchange’s administrative volunteers, Artistic Director Sheron Wray and guest choreographer and UCI alumni Leann Alduenda led the young dance majors around the area to teach them various pieces and perform said pieces in front of the unsuspecting crowd. One of the pieces that certainly turned a lot of heads was Sheron’s tap piece that was taught in the center of the Packing House on the wood floor. Meanwhile, the dancers have also utilized the furniture within the building such as one of Leann’s pieces on one of the tables. Several other dancers choreographed a modern dance on a patio outside of the House and mimicked the same choreography on the different stairways throughout the building.

 

Instead of the masses attending a dance show, our job today was to bring the show to them.

 

For the dancers, it’s not a surprise that they’ve performed site-specific work around the UC Irvine campus; however for some such as Jazmine Curie, they’ve never had experience in performing in areas as public as the Packing House.

“It was wonderful to hear the inquiries of passersby and see those intrigued enough to stop and watch.  There were a few times I felt bad to be in someone’s way or making them feel they couldn’t interrupt.  Looking at it now I think it’s a very interesting social situation.” said Jazmine as she recounted her experience on Saturday.

 

Of course, there would be more to occur on that Saturday. After the number of surprise performances, one of UCI’s dance majors, Irishia Hubbard, arrived with the intention of conducting three impromptu workshops for the youths at the Packing House.

 

When I first gave out the announcement that the workshops were going to happen, I expected small groups of girls to approach us with the eagerness to move. We didn’t predict that the turnout would actually be a large group of rambunctious young boys! When Irishia started to warm them up by doing basic dance moves to hit songs, it became obvious that the boys weren’t interested in learning a small hip hop combo but rather kept urging Irisha to host an intense dance battle instead! When Irisha complied with their wishes, March 26th became the funniest and cutest day in my life.

 

When the event came to an end, everybody was able to leave the Packing House with a story to tell. For me, this mysterious event transformed into a pleasured memory. I learned that nothing is what it seems and that perhaps the result would be pleasantly surprising

 

Instead of the masses attending a dance show, our job today was to bring the show to them.

 

Instead of bringing the show to the masses, we brought to ourselves a renewed cognizance of our extraordinary world.

 

Written by Shannon O’Connor