The Telluride Jazz Festival will present the 26th year of the annual Artists In The Schools student education program in the Telluride School District on Friday, April 1st, 2016. In the spirit of tapping localized talent and educators to activate area youth, Western Slope natives the Durango Funk Allstars have been chosen to conduct a Master Class, performance, and Q&A session with the elementary, middle, and high school students at the Michael D. Palm Theater.
The interactive format allows students to directly engage with the artists in discovering the musicality and current player practices of jazz music. All seven members of the Durango Funk Allstars are very experienced educators in their own right, in addition to being members of numerous bands that tour throughout the state of Colorado. Bassist Evan Suiter held a staff position at Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature, and served as a faculty member at Fort Lewis College and the Stillwater Foundation music program. Trumpeter Christopher Ross is a Fort Lewis College alumnus with a major in Music Performance, serves as a mentor for the Stillwater Foundation, and travels to Portland, OR to work with Grammy Award winning trumpet master Thara Memory each year.
All seven members have strong roots in live performance styles centered around improvisation that is showcased in the Durango Funk Allstars band format. Their Master Class with the Telluride High School band will focus on classic songs by Telluride Jazz Festival veterans including “What Is Hip” by Tower of Power and “Cissy Strut” by The Meters. The students have spent weeks practicing these compositions in music class with program Director Tuck Gillett. The Durango Funk Allstars members will focus on both the student’s execution of the instrumental parts, and offer instruction about reaching into their ability to step into the world of improvisation.
More About Artists In The Schools:
Telluride Jazz Festival’s Artists in the Schools program offers informal and interactive music education to area youth through the learning vehicle of music. Visiting musicians with an affinity for education provide their knowledge, talent, and energy to the program by performing and interacting with students through Master Classes, performances, workshops and Q&A sessions. The Telluride Jazz Festival nonprofit student education organization the Telluride Society for Jazz collaborates closely with the Telluride School District and Music Director Tuck Gillette to produced the annual event each Winter season. Additional generous support comes from Lagunitas Brewing Company, Telluride Foundation, and CCAASE. Past artist participants include Esperanza Spalding, Kevin Mahogany, Joey DeFrancesco, Claudia Villela, Astral Project, Holly Hoffman, Son Como Son, Nosotros, and many other internationally renowned jazz musicians.