Jazz 101 is an eight-week listener's introduction to Jazz music, as heard through century of Jazz history. The course is designed for absolute newcomers—demystifying in simplest terms how the music works and how it has evolved. Jazz 101 is suitable for adults as well as middle-school and high-school students. The course has no test, no homework, no entrance exam, and, in this offering, has no admission fee; just bring your ears! The course has been offered for more than a decade at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is now being piloted outside of New York City.
William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City. He has recorded over 150 albums, published six books, and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.
He has been called “one of the most inventive bassists/leaders since [Charles] Mingus,” and “the creative heir to Jimmy Garrison and Paul Chambers...directly influenced by ‘60s avant-gardists like Sirone, Henry Grimes and Alan Silva.” The Village Voice called him, “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time” and Time Out New York named him one of the “50 Greatest New York Musicians of All Time.”
Parker’s current active bands include the large-band Little Huey Creative Orchestra, the Raining on the Moon Sextet, the In Order to Survive Quartet, Stan’s Hat Flapping in the Wind, the Cosmic Mountain Quintet with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, and Cooper-Moore, as well as a deep and ongoing solo bass study. His recordings have long been documented by the AUM Fidelity record label and on his own Centering Records, among others.
Over the decades, Parker has developed a reputation as a connector and hub of information concerning the history of creative music, recently culminating in a two hefty volumes of interviews with over 60 avant-garde and creative musicians, Conversations I & II. He is also the subject of an exhaustive 468-page “sessionography” that documents thousands of performances and recording sessions, a remarkable chronicle of his prolificness as an active artist.
He has been a key figure in the New York and European creative music scenes since the 1970s, and has worked all over the world. He has performed with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Peter Brotzmann, Milford Graves, Peter Kowald, and David S. Ware, among many others.
William Parker works all over the world but he always returns to New York’s Lower East Side, where he has lived since 1975.
As a composer, performer, instrument builder/designer, storyteller, teacher, mentor, and organizer, Cooper-Moore has been a major, if somewhat behind-the-scenes, catalyst in the world of creative music for over 40 years. As a child prodigy Cooper-Moore played piano in churches near his birthplace in the Piedmont region of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. His performance roots in the realm of avant jazz music date to the NYC Loft Jazz era in the early/mid-70s. His first fully committed jazz group was formed in 1970 - the collective trio Apogee with David S. Ware and drummer Marc Edwards. Sonny Rollins asked them to open for him at the Village Vanguard in 1973, and they did so with aplomb. A studio recording of this group was made in 1977, and issued as Birth of a Being on hatHut under Ware’s name in 1979. Following an evidently rather trying European tour with Ware, Beaver Harris, and Brian Smith in 1981, Cooper-Moore returned home and completely destroyed his piano, with sledgehammer and fire, in his backyard. He didn’t play piano again until some years after, instead focusing his energies from 1981-1985 on developing and implementing curriculum to teach children through music via the Head Start program. Returning to New York in 1985, he spent a great part of his creative time working and performing with theatre and dance productions, largely utilizing his hand-crafted instruments. It was not until the early 90s, when William Parker asked him to join his group In Order To Survive, that Cooper-Moore’s pianistic gifts were again regularly featured in the jazz context. In the early 'aughts the group Triptych Myth was his own first regular working jazz group in decades and released two albums. Cooper-Moore's creative life continues well-strong and unabated into the present day.
Daniel Carter: One of the legendary masters of creative music. Born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in 1945. He has performed or recorded over the past three decades with such artists as: Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Billy Bang, William Parker, Roy Campbell, SabirMateen, Sonic Youth, Simone Forti, Joan Miller, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), NayoTakasaki, Earl Freeman, Dewey Johnson, NamiYamamoto, Matthew Shipp, Billy Martin, John Medeski, Wilber Morris, Denis Charles, MMW (Medeski, Martin, & Wood), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Options, Spring Heel Jack, Yo La Tengo, Federico Ughi, RaphéMalik, Sam Rivers, Sunny Murray, HamietBluiett, Bob Moses, JacoPastorius, Enrico Rava, David S. Ware, Steve Swell, Matt Lavelle, Karl Berger, Don Pate, Gunter Hampel, David Grubbs, the No Kneck Blues Band, Alan Silva, Susie Ibarra, Steve Dalachinsky, D.J. Logic, Margaret Beals, Douglas Elliot, Butch Morris, TEST, Other Dimensions In Music, One World Ensemble, Saturnalia String Trio, Levitation Unit, Wet Paint.
Steve Swell, born in Newark, New Jersey, has been living, working and performing in New York City his entire adult life. In the mid-seventies he studied with Roswell Rudd, Grachan Moncur III and Jimmy Knepper after attending Jersey City State Teacher’s College. He's toured and recorded with such diverse jazz personalities as mainstreamers Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich, to so-called outsiders like Anthony Braxton and Jemeel Moondoc. Swell has 40 recordings as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than 100 other releases. His CD, "Suite For Players, Listeners and Other Dreamers", recorded on the CIMP label, was ranked number 2 in the 2004 Cadence Readers Poll. He received grants from USArtists International in 2006, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, an MCAF award (LMCC) in 2008 & 2013 and was commissioned for the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in 2006 and again in 2012 at Roulette. Steve is well known for his many collaborations with Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Alan Silva, William Parker, and his many projects including “Slammin’ The Infinite” with Sabir Mateen, The Ullmann/Swell 4tet featuring Barry Altschul, “Fire Into Music with Hamid Drake and his large ensemble, Nation Of We. He was the Jazz Journalist’s Association Trombonist of the Year nominee for 2008 & 2011, named Trombonist of the Year 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2012 by El Intruso, an Argintinean Jazz journal and selected for the 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 Downbeat Critics Poll in the Trombone category. Steve is a Teaching Artist in the NYC public school system working with special needs children and was awarded the 2008 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship Award of the Tides Foundation for recognition of that work.
Trombonist/composer Joe Fiedler is known to critics as “among the most impressive trombonists to emerge in the past couple of decades” (Harvey Pekar, Signal to Noise) and “an MVP in configurations that range from salsa bands to the jazz avant-garde” (Time Out New York).Based in New York since 1993, he has performed and recorded in a long and eclectic list of musical settings ranging from pop (Firewater, Wyclef Jean, Jennifer Lopez) to Afro-Caribbean (Celia Cruz, Ralph Irizarry, Eddie Palmieri) to jazz (Andrew Hill, Lee Konitz, Maria Schneider) to the avant-garde (Borah Bergman, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor). In addition to work as a solo trombonist and leader of the groups the Joe Fiedler Quintet, Joe Fiedler Trio and Big Sackbut, Fiedler is an active member of such ensembles as Bob Stewart’s First Line Band, Fast and Bulbous, Chris Jonas’ The Sun Spits Cherries, and the big bands of Satoko Fujii, Ed Palermo and Charles Tolliver among others. His diverse discography features more than 100 recordings, including four as a leader.
James Keepnews is a musician, writer and multimedia artist. He received a degree in English from Hamilton College and attended the electronic arts MFA program given by iEAR Studios at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As a musician and composer, he has performed and/or recorded with such artists as George Lewis, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Karl Berger, Daniel Carter, Charles Gayle, Kidd Jordan, Roy Campbell, Tony Malaby, Hamid Drake, Jason Kao Hwang's Spontaneous River, Ras Moshe, Matt Lavelle, Holland Hopson, The New York Chapter of Crafty Guitarists, Chapter Two, The New York Guitar Project, Brown Cuts Neighbors, Blown Woofer and Lick the President. He has developed and performed with improvised computer-interactive video systems at The Kitchen, Bard College and other venues. His writing has appeared in Chronogram, New Haven Advocate, Bass Guitar, Fairfield Weekly, Metroland, The Squid's Ear and Reign of Toads. He lives in Beacon, NY.
Ben Young is a jazz scholar and educator, heard for 20 years as a radio host on WKCR-FM in New York City. He has produced, annotated and/or researched several hundred historical jazz reissues, alongside a small number of monographs and articles documenting essential figures of the New York avant garde. Since 2009 he has been a staff lecturer in the Swing University program at Jazz at Lincoln Center.