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Annual jazz concert held or Storer College grounds

By Staff | Jul 6, 2018

Members of the 2018 Don Redman Next Generation Jazz Academy Scholars perform on the grounds of Storer College.

The 17th annual Don Redman Jazz Heritage Awards and Concert was held Saturday on the grounds of Storer College in Harpers Ferry.

The concert commemorated Don Redman, the internationally-acclaimed and influential 1920 graduate of Storer College, and featured 2018 Heritage Award honorees, Billy Hart and Bobby Watson, along with the Howard Burns Quartet and special guest Terell Stafford. The program also featured music by the 2018 Don Redman Next Generation Jazz Academy Scholars.

Lovers of jazz were treated to several selections by the Jazz Academy Scholars, juniors and seniors from high schools in the tri-state area, who came together in the third year of the program to be mentored by jazz performers receiving the Don Redman Heritage Awards.

From Jefferson High School were Kody Johnston, tenor saxophone; Kristian Moore, alto saxophone; Andrew Kelvington, trombone; Matt Holmes, bass; and Ian Livingston, trumpet. Students also came from Musselman High School, Loudoun Valley High School, H.B. Woodlawn Secondary School, Duke Ellington High School and Tuscarora High School.

Guest instructor was Terell Stafford, an acclaimed trumpet player based in New York. Stafford has appeared on The Tonight Show, Rosie O’Donnell Show and You Bet Your Life. He has been a member of many Grammy-nominated bands. He now serves as the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University.

Since 2002, the Don Redman Jazz Heritage Award has been given annually to legends in the jazz field whose work in music and education reflect Redman’s spirit. It is presented each year by the Harpers Ferry Historical Association, the Jefferson County NAACP and the Don Redman Heritage Society.

Redman, born July 29, 1900 in Piedmont, was a 1920 graduate of Storer College. Following his graduation, he went on to write arrangements that would help develop the sound that was to become swing. He played brass and reed sections off each other in a call-response pattern, according to one biography. His use of this technique helped form the basis of much big band jazz writing.

Known as “The Little Giant of Jazz,” Redman composed and arranged music for radio, television and many big bands, including his own.

The 2018 recipients were Billy Hart and Bobby Watson, who entertained Saturday evening after receiving their awards.

Hart, born Nov. 29, 1940 in Washington, D.C., is a jazz drummer and educator who has performed with such artists as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave. He leads the Billy Hart Quartet.

Watson, a saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. He has led the Highcourt of Swing band and the Grammy-nominated Tailor Made Big Band.