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(Published: February 14, 2013)


MEDIA CONTACT: George Berry FAX: 201.227.1997
PHONE: 201.408.1464 E-MAIL: gberry@jccotp.org




Tenafly, N.J., February 14, 2013-The JCC Thurnauer School of Music, New Jersey's leading community music school, named a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, announces the addition of a Youth Jazz Big Band to its jazz program for middle and high school students with at least two years of instrumental experience. The program will be co-directed by TSM faculty and local professional jazz musicians, saxophonist Debbie Keefe Johns and drummer Steve Johns. The Youth Jazz Big Band will be held every Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m., for a 15-week session, including performances, workshops, and opportunities to learn various Big Band styles and improvisation. Call Michele Wright at 201-408-1463 or email: mwright@jccotp.org to schedule an audition or for more details.

About the Jazz Program
The jazz program at the Thurnauer School has grown over the past several years and offers students the opportunity to study jazz and improvisation in a friendly, relaxed, and encouraging environment with professional jazz musicians. Student ages range from 12 to 18, from beginner through advanced. The program also includes a separate adult component for those who want to continue their musical education, or develop a new interest in jazz. Jazz Wednesdays has become a very popular component of the jazz program, providing students with many experiences to develop improvisation, aural skill development and music reading skills. Students are encouraged to perform in the Performance Forum, which provides performance opportunities and mini-concert in a casual atmosphere. The program also provides opportunities for faculty to demonstrate through performance for students.
About our Jazz Faculty

Vincent Sperrazza - Percussion, Head of Jazz studies; Director, JCC Jazz Camp

M.M. William Paterson University. Performances and recordings with Tony Malaby, Clark Terry, Rick Margitza, Jim McNeely, and Rich Perry, among others. Member of the Matt Blostein/Vinnie Sperrazza Quartet. Recorded album with pianist Noah Baerman featuring saxophonists Jimmy Greene and Wayne Escoffery.

Steve Johns
Drummer/Music Educator
Steve Johns is from Boston, Mass. and attended the New England Conservatory of Music. He is a long-time resident of Englewood, N.J. and has toured and recorded with The Sonny Fortune Quartet, The Gil Evans Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra,Duke Ellington Orchestra, Nat Adderley, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Ronnie Cuber, Jessye Norman, Larry Coryell, Benny Golson to name a few. Steve has recorded 75 NPR Radio Shows with The Billy Taylor Trio, with guests including Nancy Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lavano, Harry Sweets Edison, Milt Jackson, and many others. He is on the teaching staff at Montclair State University, Jazz House Kids in Montclair, N.J., Litchfield Jazz Camp in Connecticut, NJPAC's Jazz for Teens in Newark, N.J., and Jazz in July in Amherst, Mass.

Debbie Keefe Johns - saxophones/clarinet/flute/educator
Debbie Keefe Johns is from Philadelphia, Pa. and holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and New Jersey State Teacher of Music certification. Debbie resides in Englewood, N.J. with her husband, drummer Steve Johns, and son, bassist Daryl Johns. She has performed with the Cab Calloway Big Band, Jackie Byard Big Band, Melba Liston Smith Big Band, George Russell Big Band, Junior Cook, Walter Booker, Jimmy Cobb, Stanley Turrentine, Dave Stryker, Don Sickler, Michael Cochrane, The Mingus Big Band, and The Diva Big Band. Debbie has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Damrosch Park Jazz Festival in New York City, and Kansas City Jazz Festival, among others. Debbie teaches at The Elisabeth Morrow School and The Dwight-Englewood School.

Matt Blostein - saxophone
Saxophonist Matt Blostein has toured with Maynard Ferguson and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, Ravinia Jazz Festival, and at the Thailand Cultural Center. He attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Mark Turner, Bob Mintzer, and Dick Oatts. Matt is also on faculty at the Larchmont Music Academy, and co-leads a band with Vinnie Sperrazza. He also works frequently as a freelance music composer/producer for the media.

Geoff Kraly - electric bass, composer, and bandleader
Geoff Kraly--electric bassist, composer, producer, and bandleader-a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.-is active on the New York creative music scene and in demand as a rock and studio bassist. Kraly is involved with several diverse projects including a duo with drummer Josh Dion, the punk-rock-tinged efforts of Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, and with Matt Blostein and Vinnie Sperrazza's jazz group. Before coming to New York, he studied at Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music cognition, studying the cognitive processes involved in learning, performing, and listening to music. While in the Chicago area he studied with Steve Rodby. Kraly cites weekly performances with pianist Rick Montalbano and several appearances with Victor Wooten as important and favorite landmarks among his early experiences as a musician. He has taught ensembles as well as private guitar and bass students at Queens College CPSM Preparatory School, Landmark & Coalition Public Schools, and Northwestern University's National High School Music Institute. He teaches at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades and the Larchmont Music Academy.

Jacob Sacks - piano
Jacob Sacks is one of the most creative pianists on the NYC jazz scene today. Originally from Michigan, Jacob moved to NYC in 1995 to study with Garry Dial at the Manhattan School Of Music. Jacob has performed with musicians such as Clark Terry, Paul Motian, Joe Maneri, Charles Gayle, Eddie Henderson, Christian McBride, Brian Blade, Tony Malaby, Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Ben Monder, Adam Rogers, Kenny Wollesen, Gene Jackson, and Matt Wilson. Jacob has also joined with Bob Bowen, Brian Drye, Mike McGinnis, and Khabu Doug Young to form a partnership, the Creative Music Workshop, a cooperative school based upon helping students of all ages and levels transcend the boundaries of style to find their own voices through the creation of original works, both written and spontaneously conceived, in different sized ensembles.

About the JCC Thurnauer School of Music
The JCC Thurnauer School of Music, New Jersey's leading community music school, has been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Open to everyone with a desire to learn music, it offers a comprehensive program of private lessons for students of all ages on every instrument and voice, plus musicianship classes and orchestral, choral, jazz, and chamber ensembles. Concert and master class artists have included Glenn Dicterow, Pinchas Zukerman, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Paquito D'Rivera, Mark O'Connor, Alan Gilbert and musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Francisco J. Núñez, Bob McGrath, Colin and Eric Jacobsen, and many more world-class musicians. Recipient of a special award for "excellence and high standards" from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Music School is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. It is part of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, a non-profit organization serving more than 20,000 people annually from Bergen County and beyond.

More Information: http://www.jccotp.org/thurnauer

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