Thursday, 20 June 2013 13:08

Summer Jazz Institute Begins 26th Year Next Week

By Staff Report | Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Skidmore College Summer Jazz Institute marks its 26th year this summer with a program that focuses on instruction and performance.

Scheduled June 23 to July 6 and directed by Todd Coolman, the program provides a new generation of musicians with the opportunity to mingle with and learn from gifted educators and world-class performers in an intimate, supportive environment. Previous students have successfully pursued jazz-related careers in the areas of performance, teaching, and business and include Kendrick Scott, Walter Smith, Richie Barshay, Jonathan Batiste, Brandon Lee, Christian Scott, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Ryan Cohan, and Myron Walden, among others.

A highlight each summer is the series of special concerts featuring guest artists and Jazz Institute student and faculty performers. All concerts will take place in the Arthur Zankel Music Center, Ladd Concert Hall. 

The schedule includes the following:

June 25: Ravi Coltrane Quartet: Ravi Coltrane, Blue Note recording artist and son of jazz legend John Coltrane, leads this quartet that also features Adam Rogers, Dezron Douglas, and Jonathan Blake.

Saxophonist Coltrane has earned notice for “Spirit Fiction,” his debut recording on the Blue Note label. Two different bands joined Coltrane for the recording – his long-term quartet (pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Drew Gress and drummer E.J. Strickland) and a quintet featuring trumpeter Ralph Alessi, pianist Geri Allen, bassist James Genus and drummer Eric Harland.

Coltrane has said, “The energies of the two groups on ‘Spirit Fiction’ are unique. The quintet stuff is looser and the quartet has played together for close to 10 years so it has that particular sound.”

Joe Lovano, fellow Blue Note artist who performed last summer at Skidmore, produced ‘Spirit Fiction.’

June 27 and July 4: The Skidmore Faculty Sextet: featuring Bill Cunliffe, Todd Coolman, Dennis Mackrel, Pat LaBarbera, Bobby Shew, Mike Rodriguez, Jim Pugh, and Curtis Fuller.

July 2: Vincent Gardner Quintet: Trombonist Gardner leads this quintet, which also includes Carlos Henriquez, Ali Jackson, and Sherman Irby.

Gardner has released four albums on SteepleChase Records, including the 2012 release “Book of Bebop” and also performs and records in a group with his brother, trumpeter Derrick Gardner. He is the lead trombonist for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and performs all over the world as a top call musician in many groups including Marcus Roberts, Nicholas Payton, Lizz Wright, and more.

June 28 and July 5: Concerts by students participating in the institute.

All concerts will begin at 8 p.m. in Arthur Zankel Music Center, Ladd Concert Hall, with the exception of the student concerts, which begin at 1 p.m. in the same location.

Admission to the four evening concerts is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors/Skidmore community, free for students and children. To reserve tickets, please visit

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