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
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
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.
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!
Jamielle Rankine is a Jamaican born Fashion Designer, Motivational Speaker and Poet. Born in the
ghetto of Kingston, Jamielle learned from an early age that life was not always a bed of roses. Her family
shortly moved to a middle class neighborhood which allowed her the privilege to attend prestigious
elementary and secondary schools, where her love for writing began, and living in a household of mostly
women, she learned of heartache, beauty and the power and strength of a woman.
Jamielle and her family moved to the United States in 2008 and settled in New York. A city filled with
so many creative individuals, and lovers of fashion. This move sparked her always existing passion for
fashion and beauty and she, after failing an attempt as a Marketing Major at Broome Community
College, began working as a stylist. This grew to wanting a career in Fashion Design, and after starting
her family Jamielle, then moved to California and later earned an Associate of Arts Degree in fashion
design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM).
After figuring out what she loved to do, Jamielle ventured into volunteering and now teaches at the
Precious Life Shelter a class called “Finding Fashion and Yourself”, for women who are homeless and
pregnant along with mentoring some of the women there. She began to seek God after her calling, and
that lead her to writing her experiences in the form of poetry. Each gift gifted was being used. Using her
pain, misfortune, happiness, and overcoming sprit, to inspire the people around her. Jamielle now does
freelance designing and is working on her own collection of clothing called “MUMA”. She continues to
motivate others and hopes to become an author of a book of poetry, and an auto biography, in hopes of
allowing God to use her to inspire others with her story.
Meet Jamielle Saturday April 30th at JamXchange!
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
Follow Mark W. on Instagram @MarkWLive and get more on The Tribe at
“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
Featured Choreographer and Dance Photographer:
A United Kingdom dancer, choreographer, and dance photographer, Irven Lewis has an unique ability to bridge gaps and fuse urban dance styles with classical forms in an enjoyable way. Irven’s first experience of dance was through the local community center in Leeds. There was no formal dance training but he observed and experimented with the improvisational street jazz styles being developed.
After Dancing and performing in local shows in Leeds, Irven auditioned for the Urdang Academy in Covent Garden winning a three-year scholarship. Upon leaving his training at the Academy, Irven Lewis created the company, Brothers in Jazz. The company uniquely combined British Street Jazz with classical techniques, giving the company’s style an edge. It was the foundation of Be-bopdance, a mixture of Nicholas Brother style Jazz combined with Ballet, Contemporary and the dancers’ own quick and precise footwork with expansive mambo movement.
After touring extensively with Brothers in Jazz, Irven broke away from the company to found his new company, Irven Lewis Dance Theatre. Irven then started exploring the traditions of Jamaican culture passed on to the new generations in the UK from a different perspective. Instead of representing tradition through existing dance forms, he is now exploring a dance language that emerges from the communications of young Britons with Jamaican heritage. The rhythms of conversation along with dynamics and spatials form of body expressions inform the dancer, which merges into physical theater and text. Irven Dance Theatre has performed and toured nationally and internationally.
His work’s include a residency with Bucks dance Step Afrika UK, a 6 week community project as part of the Sadler’s Wells Community Dance Showcase, and Rhythm Blast residency for Free Summer on the South Bank. Irven is also engaged in a 3-year relationship with Derby Dance in collaboration with Punch Records. Irven also received an Arts Council England Continuing Professional Development Award under Pro-Motion and a Trailblazer Fellowship from Dance UK and ADAD.
SONG OF THE WEEK/ARTIST FEATURE:
Honeysuckle Rose, Jason Moran, and Live Skateboarding
Hi I am Julianna! I am a JazzXchange warrior and enthusiast, bringing you our featured song of the week. This week’s choice is Jason Moran’s arrangement of “Honeysuckle Rose”, featuring Lisa E. Harris. This fresh arrangement of a well known standard composed by Fats Waller adds a more contemporary hip-hop groove to the standard, while still playing with a traditional jazz feel. Lisa E. Harris sings the head of the song, trading lines with the trumpet, as if the horn is a fellow vocalist. A great tune, featured on a great playlist by “Katzpheno” for his Jazzism Podcast 12.8
Jason Moran plays often at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco, and is currently a resident artistic director for the organization. A highlight of his presence at the Center, a show that I sorely missed seeing but heard raves about, featured live skateboarders in the auditorium that shared the limelight with Moran’s musicians. Moran’s goal with this collaboration was to examine and celebrate the link between improvisation in jazz and improvisation in skateboarding. Just like jazz, skateboarding requires the skater to make creative decisions from moment to moment, to solo, to improvise, and ultimately groove with the terrain in which the skateboarder comes into contact with. Also similar to Jazz, skateboarding is as much about community as it is about skateboarding itself, a connective interest that empowers skaters to share ideas, and better ones own craft for the betterment of the community. Because skateboarding is thought of more as a sport than an art, Moran’s work is highlighting this Ubuntu (“I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am”) connection, while also creating some phenomenal entertainment. I appreciate Moran’s focus on blending otherwise separate communities, a fantastic interdisciplinary experiment that recognizes mutual values in diverse vocations. Moran supplies the music for the skaters, “to egg them on”, to accompany their free-styling, similar in many ways to what we experience as dancers when improvising to/with jazz music.
When performed at the Center, the SFJazz production crew built a phenomenal half-pipe fitting in front of a small stage space (removing the frontmost orchestra chairs), and skateboarders free skated to the tune of Moran’s lineup. The show was even featured by Thrasher Magazine, one of the most popular skate magazines in the USA. Last time I was at the Center, the crew had just dismantled the last few boards from the half-pipe, as it had lingered intact in the equipment storage underneath the cavernous performance space for a year or so post Moran’s performance. This performance idea remains true to the statement in Moran’s bio: “An ambitiously creative musician who frequently collaborates with artists in film and dance, pianist Jason Moran is jazz’s wild card, a probing conceptualist who transforms everything he touches into a bracingly contemporary statement.”
Back to Moran’s tune featured this week, this arrangement reminds me of my sister’s arrangement of “Honeysuckle Rose” from her debut album “Unfolding”, where she also adds a flavor of contemporary popular music in the rhythm section and blending into her vocals. Her version is more stripped down than Moran’s, and does not feature much horn soloing, besides her own trombone playing -. aAnother enjoyable experience of a great Fats Waller standard!
Here is a link to her version: