Bard Concert Celebrates a Century of Jazz

Chris Washburne

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – To mark the centennial of the first jazz recording in 1917, trombonist Chris Washburne leads an international group of all-stars in a celebration of the roots and influences of jazz, in the Fisher Center at Bard College on Saturday, May 13, at 8pm. The concert, “Celebrating 100 Years of Jazz,” will explore traditional folk songs to the music of jazz pioneers including Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Bessie Smith.

Washburne’s ensemble will include clarinetist Evan Christopher; vocalists Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Martina DaSilva and Vuyo Sotashe; pianists André Mehmari and Dan Tepfer; trumpeter Dominick Farinacci; and saxophonist Caleb Curtis.

The program, co-presented by Catskill Jazz Factory, features a pre-performance talk at 7pm, “Looking Back: The Global Roots of Jazz,” in which Washburne, bandleader and associate professor of music at Columbia University, will deliver an illuminating talk on the origins, global roots, and influences of the jazz genre.

Chris Washburne is one of those rare musicians whose musical activities cross many styles and cultural borders. From early in his career he refused to be pigeon-holed as just being a jazz or classical player, but instead has continually pursued a diverse path. Washburne is currently freelancing as a studio musician and performing trombone, bass trombone, tuba, didjeridu and percussion with various classical, jazz, rock and Latin groups in New York City. He also tours extensively with various groups and has concertized throughout the North America, Europe, Asian, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Washburne received his Bachelors of Music in classical trombone performance from the University of Wisconsin where he studied with William Richardson, Richard Davis and Les Thimmeg. In 1988, he completed a Masters degree from the New England Conservatory in Third Stream Studies where he studied with John Swallow, Ran Blake and Bob Moses. He was the winner of the 1988 New England Conservatory Graduation Concerto Competition. He spent two months living in Zambia in 1985, studying the traditional music of that region, and in 1993, received a Mellon Fellowship to travel to and explore the rich musical traditions of Cuba.

In 1999, Washburne completed his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. He is currently Associate Professor of Music and Found Director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University in New York. He has published numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa. He is author of the book “Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York” (2008) and editor of the book “Bad Music” (2004).


vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles (photo Shervin Lainez II)

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a rising vocalist/composer based in New York City. She has worked and studied with artists such as George Cables, Geri Allen, Nicholas Payton, Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Owens and Carmen Lundy and released her debut record, “Red” in September 2012 with her band SCOPE.

As the active vocalist in a number of bands (including SCOPE, AJOYO, Manner Effect, Transient Beings, Enoch Smith Jr. and Benjamin Rando), Charles has performed at many venues throughout her career. These have included the White House, the first annual Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi, The Kennedy Center, the Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival, the Sicca Jazz Festival in Tunisia, the Blue Note in New York City, Gillette Stadium as a National Anthem singer for the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, the Burlington Jazz Festival, the Apollo Music Café, Le Poisson Rouge, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Rose Theatre with Jazz at Lincoln Center and many more.

In addition to her performances, Charles is also an active educator. She works as a teaching artist with Carnegie Hall’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Lullaby and Future Music Project Youth workshops, has a private lessons studio in New York City and is developing an early childhood music education program with Rise2Shine, a non-profit organization based in Fond Parisien, Haiti.

Charles’s critically acclaimed sophomore project, “Inner Dialogue”, released in March 2015 on Truth Revolution Records, featured her band along with co-producer/special guest Christian Scott. She is currently working on her third album to be released in 2017, which will feature SCOPE as well as Christian Scott.


Tickets are $25-50; purchase three or more tickets and save 30%. A gala benefit ticket is also available for $100 and includes a pre-performance reception with the artists; the proceeds support future Catskill Jazz Factory programs and community outreach initiatives. Tickets and additional information are available online at the Fisher Center at Bard College or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900.







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