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(Published: June 06, 2016)

The annual All-Female Jazz Residency of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a weeklong, summer intensive for aspiring women jazz professionals, will take place at Rutgers-Newark this July.

A partnership with the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University-Newark will enable young women from 14 -25 years old to reside, study and rehearse in a beautifully restored, historic 1930 skyscraper on the Rutgers-Newark campus at 15 Washington St. Entering its third summer from July 10-16, the residency is led by an all-star faculty under the artistic directorship of Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Geri Allen, winner of this year's Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Hero Award. Allen is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

By locating the program at "Fifteen Wash," participants are close to NJPAC, the archives of the Institute of Jazz Studies, Jazz Radio WBGO (88.3FM), and a number of venues for live performance opportunities. The newly renovated building provides dorms, rehearsal studios and an intimate jazz club, Clement's Place, all within its walls.

An all-star team of extraordinary jazz artists is at the heart of this unique intensive. Students travel from across the country to study and play elbow-to-elbow with an outstanding faculty: bassist Linda Oh (has performed with jazz greats Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Kenny Barron and others), trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (hailed as "one of the most gifted trumpeters of her generation), singer Connaitre Miller(Associate Professor of Music and Vocal Jazz Coordinator at Howard University and leader of the vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue) and saxophonist Bruce Williams (acclaimed jazz alto and soprano saxophonist who has performed with jazz legends including Little Jimmy Scott, Frank Foster, Roy Hargrove, and others). Vibraphonist Stefon Harris (four time Grammy nominee) and saxophonist Tia Fuller (best known for her years as saxophonist in Beyoncé's all-female band) will conduct master classes.

New to the faculty this summer are drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts (seven-time Grammy award-winning drummer) and pianist/composer Ellen Rowe.

A protégé of jazz piano great Marian McPartland, Rowe, who is on the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Music, uses the word "powerful" to describe opportunities for women to perform jazz together in a supportive environment.

"I've been active in mentoring young jazz female jazz musicians for a long time," she says. "When I first saw how important [it] was for young women and how putting together small ensembles of women helped them develop confidence and celebrate their own voices as improviser and composers, I became convinced that it was a positive thing."

Alison Scott-Williams, NJPAC's Vice President of Arts Education, agrees that "a space where female jazz students can express their authentic voices is a rarity." She adds, "Establishing lifelong relationships with others student musicians, as well as trailblazers in the field, makes this such a unique experience. When they're under the wing of the best in the business, taking flight comes naturally."

"The Institute of Jazz Studies is thrilled to host NJPAC's All-Female Jazz Residency, the nations' premiere training ground for women in jazz, here at Rutgers-Newark. Our archives and related resources will certainly enhance their experience and they in turn will be a welcome presence on our campus," says Wayne Winborne, Executive Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark.

The All-Female Jazz Residency offers classes in improvisation, musicianship and jazz theory. A timeline survey introduces students to pacesetters as far back as Ma Rainey and as up-to-the-minute as Esperanza Spalding. One of this summer's workshop leaders is Columbia University Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin, the author of several books on jazz and co-editor of Uptown Conversations: The New Jazz Studies.

Past programs gave young musicians the opportunity to perform in a jazz club, take a private tour of the Institute of Jazz Studies, attend one of Allen's concert engagements in New York City, and visit WBGO's studios with Newark's "First Lady of Jazz," Dorthaan Kirk. Students will participate in a culminating performance at the end of the residency.

Applications are now being accepted at njpac.org/getacceptd. For details or additional information on financial aid, email artseducation@njpac.org or call (973) 353-7058.

More Information: http://njpac.org/getacceptd

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