Two-week JAS Academy opens Sunday |

Two-week JAS Academy opens Sunday

Staff report
A JAS Academy big band session in August 2018 with Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride as the director, left, going over notes with vocalist Marion Powers.
Aspen Times file

Twenty-three jazz students from across the U.S. and beyond will be arriving in Aspen on Sunday for the two-week JAS Academy.

Presented by Jazz Aspen Snowmass in collaboration with Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, the program is in its second year back in town after shuttering for eight years following the economic recession.

The diverse group of students represent 11 music programs including Frost, the Manhattan School of Music, North Texas University, Michigan State, UCLA, Princeton, Florida State University, Eastman, The Hartt School, California State University Northridge and Tel Aviv University.

During their time in Aspen, the students will work with and learn from some of the greatest jazz musicians in the field, including six-time Grammy Award-winning bassist and JAS Academy artistic director Christian McBride. Additional Academy faculty include Frost School dean Shelly Berg and Jazz Aspen founder and CEO Jim Horowitz among other Frost faculty.

The Frost faculty will spend much of the first week in a classroom setting with the students focusing on Frost curriculum surrounding the business side of the music industry with subjects including technology, entrepreneurship, artistic vision and recording. The second week will focus on big band training with McBride, leading up to a public performance at the JAS Café at the Aspen Art Museum on Aug. 18.

Students also will also attend master classes with some of the biggest names in jazz including the legendary Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and vocalist Catherine Russell. They will be joined by two of the hottest newcomers on the jazz scene today in Frost alumnus Veronica Swift and pianist Emmet Cohen. Public shows at the JAS Café during the session include the Shelly Berg Trio (Saturday and Sunday), Arturo Sandoval (Thursday), Veronica Smith with the Emmet Cohen Trio (Aug. 9), Catherine Russell (Aug. 16), and Christian McBride & Inside Straight (Aug. 17).

JAS Academy students also will perform a three-night run of concerts at The Limelight Hotel in Aspen from Monday to Wednesday. During these free “jam sessions” students can be seen performing in small combos and groups.