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Dianne Reeves and Inside Straight Celebrate Christian McBride's 40th Birthday With Concert and Conversation 5th Annual Inside the Jazz Note Hosted by Jazz House Kids
(Published: May 24, 2012)

Jazz House Kids presents its critically-acclaimed program, Inside the Jazz Note® on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at the Alexander Kasser Theater, Montclair State University.

Newly-crowned GRAMMY-winning virtuoso of the acoustic and electric bass Christian McBride will celebrate his 40th birthday by welcoming this year's special guest, Dianne Reeves, the world's preeminent jazz vocalist. McBride will be joined by his all-star band, Inside Straight featuring Carl Allen on drums, Peter Martin on piano, Steve Wilson on sax and Warren Wolf, Jr. on vibraphone. McBride's album with Inside Straight, Kind of Brown was released in 2009 to critical acclaim.

Now in its fifth year, Inside the Jazz Note has become a hallmark of Jazz House Kids award-winning education and community programs and a highly anticipated must-attend event for jazz fans in the tri-state area. The program is divided into two action-packed events: a New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards-approved afternoon masterclass for hundreds of high school band and choral students and their teachers from across the State (1:00 pm to 5:00 pm); and, in the evening (7:30 pm), a rare one-on-one conversation and concert open to the public. Both the day and evening sessions feature live performances and a "behind-the-scenes" look from today's most sought-after jazz giants.

"We are thrilled that Dianne Reeves, a true iconic jazz vocalist in every sense of the word, has given us an entire day of mentoring music students and music lovers in our area," said Melissa Walker, founder and president of Jazz House Kids. "As a fellow jazz vocalist, I am personally awed by Ms. Reeves' immense talent, superb instrument and vocal chops."

Four-time GRAMMY winner, Reeves is the only singer to win the GRAMMY's vocal award for three consecutive recordings in any singing category. Her virtuosity in song interpretation is unrivaled; a talent which is richly on display in each and every song.

According to Walker, Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride and the members of Inside Straight represent just a few of the internationally recognized jazz giants who have helped Jazz House Kids fulfill its mission - to close the gap in the arts and opening the window for students to cultivate the talent, discipline, skills and principles they need to play, sing, and appreciate America's original musical art form.

"I cannot emphasize enough the effect this level of mentorship has had on the students who have been fortunate enough to experience a masterclass or work on stage with our previous guests of Inside the Jazz Note programs, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Pat Metheny and Chris Botti," said Walker. "During these challenging economic times and state budget cuts, the role of independent community arts organizations like Jazz House Kids becomes more critical to our children," she said.

Walker is also pleased that this year's 5th annual Inside the Jazz Note program has been moved to Montclair State University, a highly respected institution where many Jazz House Kids "graduates" continue their education in the renowned John J. Cali School of Music.

This year's event marks two important milestones for the organization. First, Jazz House Kids is commemorating its 10 year anniversary in 2012. Secondly, the organization is celebrating the 40th birthday of its beloved artistic director, board member and guest instructor Christian McBride.

McBride is widely recognized as one of the most important and original American musicians to emerge from the jazz and improvised music scene. On October 17, 2012, he will serve as host to Jazz House Kids 10th Anniversary Gala and Concert Reaching for the High Notes at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The Jazz House Kids opens the first annual James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival at NJPAC, a weeklong celebration of jazz and the musical legacy of longtime Newarker and beloved jazz musician James Moody. McBride serves as artistic adviser to the NJPAC Festival which will take place October 15-21, 2012 at the Arts Center and various community activities.

Inside the Jazz Note Masterclass - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
The day session features two exciting masterclasses for high school musicians from across the state. More than 200 music students and their teachers are expected. Lead sponsor, The National Endowment for the Arts and other supporters help make the event financially accessible to all interested schools and individual students - $5 per student registration fee and the cost of a bus. With such a diverse group of musicians, both vocal and instrumental jazz students will attend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The first workshop features Christian McBride and his band Inside Straight. This incredible ensemble includes saxophonist Steve Wilson, drummer Carl Allen, vibraphonist Warren Wolf and pianist Peter Martin. This session will share with the participants how developing as a versatile and professional musician will open musical doors during their career. It will also address the compositional process and how to develop ideas into songs. The format will include performance, demonstration and Q & A.

Following a short break, Jazz House Kids welcomes to the stage the jazz luminary special guests - vocalist extraordinaire Dianne Reeves, bassist and host Christian McBride. The living jazz legends will be joined on stage by the Jazz House Big Band, a 21-person ensemble comprised of a cross-section of talented students from 15 towns in New Jersey, grades 9 through 12. For two years in a row, the Jazz House Big Band took 1st prize in its division and won six additional coveted awards in the prestigious Charles Mingus High School Competition & Festival at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, an impressive recognition for this new big band formed in September 2010.

The second session will include a performance, an interactive discussion with the participants, demonstrations, a Q & A session and a brief photo op with the artists. In past years, the discussions have been very engaging and both students and educators have left feeling inspired and energized.

Fundamental to the mission of Jazz House Kids, the annual Inside the Jazz Note Masterclass provides both students and teachers an unparalleled "backstage pass" on what it looks like to play in a professional small ensemble, work in a big band, and to back a vocalist. The students learn about composition, and learn it at the hands of some of the greatest internationally celebrated jazz artists of the day. Access to mentoring and education can be awe-inspiring for these talented emerging student musicians. As one teacher remarked, "the opportunity to get to hear a living legend is life changing; the impact of directly interacting with and being mentored by a celebrated musician can't be underestimated."

Previous guests have included pianist great Chick Corea (2011); Grammy's newly-crowned Best New Artist, Esperanza Spalding (2010); acclaimed trumpeter Chris Botti (2009); and 17-time Grammy winning guitarist Pat Metheny (2008).

Inside the Jazz Note: An Evening Program of Musical Insights and Inspiration
Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Jazz House Kids will continue its day-long program by opening up the Kasser Theater to the general public for its fifth annual Inside the Jazz Note event. Diane Reeves and Christian McBride and the members of Inside Straight will perform live together and share intimate reflections into their illustrious careers, star-studded collaborations and early years. The audience can expect to hear many wonderful Christian McBride stories as he celebrates his big birthday. The evening will also include video and audio recordings.

General seating tickets are $55 and $35. $125 tickets include premium seating and entrance to a post-event birthday party with Christian McBride and friends. All proceeds benefit Jazz House Kids. For tickets, call 973-744-2273 or visit www.jazzhousekids.org.

"The Inside the Jazz Note series is a rare opportunity to examine the world of jazz through the eyes of the artists and it is a perfect complement to our student masterclass," said Melissa Walker. "Have you ever wondered what a great musician was listening to as a child? How their musical tastes and technique developed? Or have you day-dreamed what it was like to play around the world with jazz, pop and rock music icons? Come out to the program on June 6th and you'll get an insider's view. You may never listen to music the same way again!"

Music of Distinction Awards
At the culmination of the evening program, two outstanding student musicians will be honored with the 4th annual Jazz House Kids Music of Distinction Award. Both winners will take home new, professional-level instruments, generously donated by RS Berkeley Musical Instruments, and will receive one year of artist mentoring by a Jazz House Kids instructor, a $10,000 value.

Jazz House Kids is an award-winning community-based arts organization with a mission to provide year-round musical, educational, and cultural programs to students in grades K-12, teachers, adults, and families from diverse backgrounds.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, internationally renowned jazz performers and multi-Grammy winners teach alongside a professional staff, offering students a wide range of creative programming that develops musical potential, enhances leadership skills, and strengthens academic performance.

The "Jazz House" provides the framework for students to cultivate the talent, discipline, skills and principles they need to play, sing, and appreciate America's original musical art form. Through music, mentoring and education, Jazz House Kids cultivates tomorrow's global citizens so they may build vibrant communities where they live.

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