It was 2:00pm and those who knew just how great this concert was going to be were all ready in their seats and grateful they didn’t have to miss it, for a class.
Our amazing Jazz faculty warmed up and began performing one another’s works! The set list included:
Motor City by Kevin Pace
Key West Waltz by Harry Watters
Floating on AIR by John Kocur
Forgiven by John Kocur
Route 90 East by Ken Hall
Tune for Ralph by Ken Hall
The Grind by Kevin Pace
We have a stunning line up of musicians here at NOVA! Our latest faculty addition, Harry Watters, took us to a whole new world. Harry, has graced the stage with, “Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Erich Kunzel, Kevin Mahogany, Wycliffe Gordon, Lou Rawls, Maureen McGovern, Bill Watrous, Carl Fontana, Jiggs Whiggam, James Moody, Peter Erskine, Conrad Herwig, John Fedchock and the Boston Brass. In addition, Harry has appeared as a featured soloist with the Syracuse Symphony, the Baton Rouge Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Tulsa Pops, the West Virginia Symphony, the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, the Janacek Philharmonic, the Moldovan Festival Orchestra and the U.S. Army Orchestra, to name a few…
Andrew Hare is an exceptional drummer! Andrew Hare grew up in a musical family, but didn’t find the drums until high school. He quickly fell in love with jazz through the music of Miles Davis and began to grow rapidly as a musician. His pursuit of jazz led to a music degree from Michigan State University, where he played in the schools award-winning Big Band, as well as an array of small groups. In addition to touring Japan and the United States with the MSU Big Band, he was also selected to participate in the prestigious Jazz Aspen Academy under the guidance of Christian McBride. He has also had the opportunity to perform with some legendary musicians including Rodney Whitaker, Jon Faddis, Frank Morgan, and Hank Jones. Since moving to DC in 2009, Andrew has become the chair of the percussion department at the Levine School of Music, earned a masters of music from the University of Maryland , and created the popular jazz drumming blog “The Melodic Drummer”, all while playing and recording with some of the area’s top jazz musicians. He looks forward to an exciting career of sharing his passion for music with audiences in DC and around the country.
Kevin, is known for his solid, earthy style of bass playing that you can hear live on over 30 recordings. A founding member of the DC Jazz Composers Collective, Pace has composed numerous award-winning compositions for jazz ensembles, orchestras, film, and artist collaborations. He has performed throughout the world at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and the Smithsonian, as well as jazz clubs all over the East Coast. Pace has performed with jazz greats including Gretchen Parlato, Freddie Redd, and David “Fathead” Newman. He teaches here at NOVA as well as Shepherd University.
Our Jazz piano teacher, Wade Beach, (As George Mason’s website proudly states, ” is widely respected for his harmonic sophistication and superb technique, which knows no stylistic limitations.” vWade teaches at George Mason University, as well as here with our students. Wade is everywhere, He’s honestly just a joy to listen to. He’s collaborated, ” with jazz artists including: Eddie Harris, Billy Harper, Gary Bartz, Richie Cole, Grady Tate, Keeter Betts, and Andrew White. Also pop artists including The Jackson Five, Barry White, and The Dells. Performed sols piano at the Kool Jazz Festival in the Kennedy Center – also performed at the Wolftrap Jazz Festival. He Joined The Air Force Band in 1979,” as well as working with The Airmen of Note. Wade, ” has performed for three presidents, and with great artists such as: Peter Erskin, Bob Berg, Tommy Newsom, Joe Williams, Ernie Watts, Arturo Sandoval, and Dave Liebman.Twice performed Duke Ellington’s piano concerto “A New World A’ Comin” with The Air Force Orchestra at Constitution Hall. Traveled throughout the world performing at notable locations including Carnegie Hall in NewYork. Also created many recordings with The Air Force Band. Played on the Norway’s Jazz Cruise, at the East Coast Jazz Festival with Andrew White, and at Blues Alley with Vaughn Nark, Andrew White, and Tim Eyerman. Most recently Wade is playing in a group with Jeff Antoniuk, Tom Baldwin, and Tony Martucci called “The Jazz Update.”
John Kocur is the head of our Jazz Studies Program. At the Washington Post puts it, “Kocur, a saxophonist so admired in the D.C. area that he’s nicknamed “The Smoker,” dominated the bandstand with his passionate playing.” – The Washington Post
When John isn’t teaching around town, he’s working with his quartet or freelancing. Recent performances by the John Kocur Quartet have included venues such as Bohemian Caverns, Blues Alley, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the DC Jazz Festival, Twins Jazz, and the Phillips Collection.
Overall, City Paper said it best, Alto saxophonist John Kocur isn’t called “The Smoker” for nothing. He’s simply one of the finest soloists the D.C. jazz scene has to offer—and, it turns out, one of its most promising composers and bandleaders, too.” -Michael J. West, Washington City Paper
In addition to leading his own group, John has performed as a sideman with the international touring acts such as Jamie Cullum and Joe Piscipo. In the Washington, D.C. area he has particiapted in the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra, Capital Focus Jazz Band, and the Too Damn Big Orchestra. In addition, he frequently collaborates with musicians in other genres, playing with progressive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon and bluegrass duo Herb and Hanson. John has proudly performed overseas at the Jazz Ascona Festival in Switzerland and the first annual Nagano Jazz Festival in Japan. Throughout his career, he has shared the stage with legendary jazz artists such as Benny Golson, Fred Wesley, Jimmie Owens, Freddie Redd, and Buck Hill.
And Jacob Garbus is our next up and coming saxaphonist! He’s placed all around the world and with our own John Kocur, The Pharcyde, De La Soul and Talib Kweli, to name a few! His bio will blossom before you know it because his playing is right up there! My advice is, learn what you can from him now, because he’ll be off creating an amazing career before we know it!