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2017 ABAC Jazz Festival with Terell Stafford
So far, 2017 has been an exciting year for me. For our 2017 ABAC Jazz Festival, we were fortunate enough to have one of my trumpet heros, Terell Stafford down as a guest artist. As usual, his performance was nothing short of amazing. He was featured on a program that covered the entire history of jazz trumpet including songs made famous by Cootie Williams, Nat Adderley, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and others.
In other news, I was awarded the ABAC Foundation Faculty Enrichment Grant which made it possible to professionally record all of the major ensembles at ABAC. The recording will feature one of my arrangements with the jazz ensemble. This will be released on a CD this coming fall, so stay tuned! I will also be embarking on my second "Top Brass" tour this July with trombonist Mitch Butler. I will post all of the dates as soon as they are finalized.
February 2017 performance dates with trombonist Mitch Butler
Feb. 1 @ The Square Room, Knoxville, TN at 12:00 pm
The Jazz Room Series
Kieth Brown: piano
Tommy Sauter: bass
Kenneth Brown: drums
Feb. 3 @ Speakeasy, Columbia, SC
Nick Brewer: piano
Abiud Flores: bass
Jeff Elmore: drums
Well, it's been a busy 2016! The ABAC Band finished our spring tour. Along with the concert band and choir, we performed at Ware Co. HS and Lowndes Co. HS. Next, the band brought the house down with a standing ovation performance at the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Port Orange, FL. We concluded the year with a performance on April 21 with saxophonist Gregory Tardy at the 2016 ABAC Jazz Festival.
In other news, I recently co-authored my first book! Entitled "Understanding Music: Past and Present," it is an open Music Appreciation textbook co-authored by music faculty from across Georgia. The text covers the fundamentals of music and the physics of sound, an exploration of music from the Middle Ages to the present day, and a final chapter on popular music in the United States. More information can be found on the book by clicking here. In the meantime, stay tuned for more news, including a new album in the works!
FIRST YEAR AT ABAC
My first year at ABAC was a lot of fun! We had a very well-received fall concert, and on April 16, 2015, we hosted the annual ABAC Jazz Festival. The all-day festival featured high school jazz ensembles from all over Georgia, followed by an evening concert with a guest artist. This year, the featured artist was my quintet with my good friend, trombonist Ron Westray. We performed several numbers with guest artists Leon Anderson, Rodney Jordan and Louis Heriveaux. That was followed by the ABAC Jazz Ensemble with Ron as the featured soloist. The next day, we left on our spring tour to perform in high schools in south Georgia and at the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Port Orange, Florida. ABAC has some very talented students, who are also wonderful people. Special thanks to my fellow faculty members, and everyone at the school who has made me feel so welcome. Looking forward to next year!
There have been so many changes in my life over the past few months. First and foremost, I became the proud father of a beautiful baby girl! Anna Breschine Heflin was born at Lenox Hill Hospital on February 23 of this year.
As if that isn't enough, I will be moving out of New York City in July. One of my life goals has been to teach jazz as a full-time college professor, and that's finally happening. My family and I will be moving to Tifton, GA where I have accepted the Assistant Professor of Jazz position at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
Don't let the school's name fool you. While primarily known for their School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the jazz ensemble at ABAC is one of their crown jewels. The ensemble has already taken three European tours where it performed at festivals like the Montreux in Switzerland, the North Sea in Amsterdam and the opening of the Tour de France in London. The group has also been featured at the New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival among others. I'm really looking forward to working with the students and faculty there to continue building the fantastic music program.
SUMMER 2013: FROM VIRGINIA TO AUSTRALIA
This summer has been a lot of fun. In June, I served as an instructor at the 3rd Annual Jazz Institute at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA. I really enjoyed working with the wonderful kids there. Thanks again to everyone involved, especially Chad Eby, Michael Blanco, Daniel Faust, Cyrus Pace and Dylan Locke.
I was also fortunate enough to serve as the The Central Greenough Artist in Residence in Western Australia. While I was there, I performed at the Central Greenough historical settlement as well as the Queens Park Theatre in Geraldton, where I premeired a new piece, Land of the Setting Sun. I had a great time working with the kids at Nagle Catholic College and Geralton Senior College. Special thanks to the guys in the band for your beautiful playing: Chris Budhan, Josh Crothers, and Daniel Susnjar. Another special thanks to the people at the Central Greenough historical settlement for your unbelievable hospitality: Kevin and Elaine Freeman, Joao (John) Victor Leite, and Eden Doudle. Finally, thanks to Jo Tamburri and Michelle Jones at the Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park for letting me have a run of the place and pet the kangaroos!
I will be performing at the Shrine on April 2. The Shrine is one of the best live music venues in Harlem. This will also be a reunion of sorts with my good friends Quinn Blandford and Chris Conner, both of whom were on my first album, Symmetry. Be sure to save the date and join us uptown for some great music!The quartet is comprised of:Tom Wilson - keyboards, Chris Conner - vibraphone, Max Stehr - bass, Quinn Blandford - drums
THE KELLY POWERS PROJECT
I was fortunate enough to be involved in a recording with the Kelly Powers Project. This group has been performing regularly at Cafe Cielo here in NYC and we are excited to finally record Kelly's fantastic compositions. To support this project, be sure to visit Kelly's Kickstarter page here.
LIVE FROM AUSTIN HITS THE AIRWAVES!
Live From Austin was recently featured on Jazz After Hours, a nationally syndicated show on PRI, Public Radio International that airs on approximately 70 stations across the US. Live From Austin has also been played on some of the biggest jazz stations in the country from WBGO in New York to WRTI in Philadelphia to WCLV in Cleveland to WWOZ in New Orleans.
THE REVIEWS ARE IN!
NEW RECORDING BY THE BILL MOBLEY BIG BAND
In April, I was honored to sit in on a tune with the Bill Mobley Big Band. I regularly perform with this amazing band on Monday nights at Smoke Jazz Club on 106th St. and Broadway in Manhattan. Bill is my favorite big band arranger on the scene today, and this album will be chocked full of amazing writing. The album was recorded in front of a live audience and will be available soon on the French jazz label, Space Time Records, so keep an eye out for it!