SEMJA Clinicians at Montreux-Detroit

As is shown in the Montreux-Detroit schedule, SEMJA will again present seven Jazz Clinics on the Pepsi Jazz Academy Stage (near the Detroit River at Hart Plaza). We have been lucky to gather some of the area's most prominent musicians/educators as clinicians, as should be evident from this lineup:

Teddy Harris Jr. (Sept. 3, 1 p.m.) is a Detroit pianist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and educator who was brought up under the tutelage of his father, a pianist and organist. In the fifties he was a student of Detroit's legendary pianist/educator Barry Harris. He also studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and studied composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. On his return to the U.S., Harris joined Motown as a studio musician in 1962. He soon moved up in the organization as an arranger, conductor and musical director. He traveled with the Motown Review and for sixteen years was the Musical Director of the Supremes. Since 1983 he has headed the New Breed Bebop Society, which has served as a big band training ground for many Detroit players. Some of the alumni include Geri Allen, James Carter and Greg Phillengaines. Harris has been the recipient of numerous awards, including being named a Midwest Jazz Master in 1993, the Detroit Music Awards Jazz Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Governor's Michigan Artist Award in 1995.

Wendell Harrison (Sept. 3, 5 p.m.) is a Detroit clarinetist and saxophonist who is a widely known recording artist and teacher. He attended Northwestern High School, where he met Charles McPherson and Lonnie Hillyer, who were studying with legendary Detroit pianist Barry Harris. Harrison studied with Harris and at the Detroit Conservatory of Music. At 18 he moved to New York and worked with Lou Rawls, the Joe Henderson/Kenny Dorham big band, Grant Green, Sun Ra, Hank Crawford, Ray Charles and Betty Carter. Harrison now leads his own ensemble, and has made eighteen recordings for labels all over the world. His latest group is his clarinet ensemble, Mama's Licking Stick, which has recorded "Rush and Hustle" for Enja Records. His instruction books, the Be Boppers Method Book with accompanying cassette tape and the Be Boppers Method Book II, are widely used by students all over the U.S. He has conducted workshops and residences in the U.S. and Europe. Harrison has received the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award and in 1996 toured with the Michigan Jazz Masters to Africa and the Middle East. He has also performed as a jazz master with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which featured two movements from his suite "Something For Pops."

Ellen Rowe (Sept. 4, 1 p.m.), jazz pianist and composer, is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has also been Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut. She has performed with, among others, Kenny Wheeler, Gene Bertoncini, Tom Harrell, and John Clayton. She was recently a guest on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz" on National Public Radio. In Ann Arbor she regularly performs with the Bird of Paradise Orchestra. Rowe's compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by the Village Vanguard Orchestra, U.S. Navy Commodores, the Berlin and NDR Radio Jazz Orchestras in Germany, the London Symphony and others. She has conducted All-State jazz ensembles throughout the U.S. and has been an invited clinician at the Music Educators National Conference and the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention.

Chris Collins (Sept. 4, 5 p.m.), is a Detroit born saxophonist/composer/arranger. He is on the faculty of the School of Music at Wayne State University, where he is the Director of Music Management. Collins has toured much of the world as both leader and sideman with Mel Torme, Louie Bellson, Red Rodney, Lou Rawls, Don Menza, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Brokensha and Phil Collins, to name a few. He is sought after as a clinician and jazz educator since he combines performance, composition, and communications technology. Collins has presented workshops and master classes all over the U.S. and in Japan, Scotland, and Canada. His latest CD, A Time To Mourn A Time To Dance was released two years ago and received critical acclaim. It features Collins on the tenor sax with a quartet, which includes pianist Gary Schunk.

Jack Pierson (Sept. 5, 1 p.m.) is Executive Director of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, and is also the President of the International Association of Jazz Educators in Michigan. He was educated at Ohio University and has a teaching career stretching back into the late 1950s. He was Director and founder of the Jazz Studies program at Henry Ford Community College and made the first visit to the Montreux Festival in Switzerland in 1973. He has also taught in area high schools, and at Schoolcraft College, Interlochen, and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. His former advanced improvisation students include young lions like tenorist Rick Margitza and bassist Bob Hurst.

Andrew Speight (Sept. 5, 5 p.m.), alto saxophonist, is Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. Born and raised in Australia he was a leading player on the Australian jazz scene and worked with many visiting jazz greats, like Nat Adderley, Buddy de Franco, Joe Newman, Joe Williams and Louis Bellson. He was a finalist in the Thelonius Monk Competition in 1991 and 1997. In 1994 he became a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Speight has played jazz festivals in Europe and the United States, including Montreux-Detroit. He will be appearing with Rodney Whitaker and with Ray Kamalay at this year's festival. In 1997 he recorded two CDs, one released in the US ("Speight") and one about to be released in Australia. In 1998 Speight toured Australia with a band including Donald Walden, Marcus Belgrave and Karriem Riggins.

Ernie Rodgers (Sept. 6, 1 p.m.) moved to Detroit in 1947 from Monroe. He had started on the clarinet in his hometown and once in Detroit he changed to the alto saxophone. Rodgers studied saxophone under the world-renowned musician and educator Larry Teal and received degrees from Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University. He has performed with many top jazz performers, including Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Wynton Marsalis. In Detroit his parents started the legendary Rapa House, an after hours performance space for Detroit musicians. He is the leader of three Rapa House bands varying in size from 6 to 18 pieces. His career as an educator began at Miller Middle School and continued at Northwestern High School where he founded the Jazz Ensemble. His former students include bassists Ralphe Armstrong and Marion Hayden, and saxophonist James Carter. He is currently teaching in the Jazz Studies Program at Wayne State University where he is the director of Lab Band II.