Jazz Goes to School back in the classroom Sept. 24-27

By Real Vail
September 21, 2012

Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation’s jazz education program for Eagle County 4th and 5th graders, returns to schools the week of September 24th. The innovative educational program features professional musician/educators who visit with 16 local schools to share their love and knowledge of jazz and American History, and inspire young people to embrace jazz: America’s own art form.

“On the heels of the Vail Jazz Foundation’s most successful summer festival,” says Executive Director Robin Litt, “we are more excited than ever to bring jazz to local school kids. There’s nothing like Jazz Goes to School elsewhere in the country, and we are privileged to have such an esteemed teaching staff lead the program.”

Joey Gulizia helps local students experiment with improvisation during Jazz Goes to School.

This first session of the four part program traces the evolution of the music from its origins in Africa and the American south through to today’s jazz. Local jazz musician and program director Tony Gulizia explains, “We look at the geographical movement of Senegalese, Yorbuba-Dahomean and Ashantis slaves to the United States. We examine their customs and culture with a particular emphasis on the musical traditions they brought to America.”

The history of great jazz giants, such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, Scott Joplin, King Oliver, Kid Ory, and how the migration of the black population brings the blues to New Orleans is also featured in this lesson.

Additionally, the history of many musical instruments is discussed, and students are encouraged to try their hand at playing special percussion instruments from West Africa. Students learn about African rhythms which found their way to New Orleans, where they began to blend with European church music.

Tony Gulizia (keyboard and vocals), directs the Jazz Goes to School program for the 15th year for the Vail Jazz Foundation. For this first session, Gulizia is joined by his brother Joey, who is also a professional jazz musician and educator, on drums and Michael Pujado, on percussion. Subsequent sessions include up to six jazz musicians as they share their various functions within the jazz band.

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