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Jazz Colony subject of TV documentary

Stewart Oksenhorn

The Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony, a collaboration between Jazz Aspen Snowmass and the Washington, D.C.-based Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, is a few months away from its mid-summer date in Snowmass Village.

But the Colony, entering its fourth edition this summer, is a hive of activity nonetheless.

“Jazz Colony,” a one-hour documentary on the 1997 gathering of established jazz masters and top young students, will have its world television premiere on Monday, March 22.

The documentary is directed by local Walter “Chip” Cumins and co-produced by Jazz Aspen, Denver’s Jazz Alley TV and American Spirit Productions, a company founded by Cumins and fellow local Harvie Branscomb. It will air at 9 p.m. on Denver public station KRMA-TV, channel 6 in Aspen. A reception and public viewing of “Jazz Colony” will be held Monday at the Aspen Club Lodge.

“Jazz Colony,” hosted and narrated by actor Michael Douglas, features footage of concert performances, master classes, rehearsals and interviews. Among the musicians appearing in the film are Wayne Shorter, Dr. Billy Taylor, Arturo Sandoval and Herbie Hancock, Jazz Aspen’s distinguished artist-in-residence.

Jazz Aspen has also announced several of the musicians who will participate in the upcoming 1999 Monk Jazz Colony, an educational event that brings more than 20 young musicians, on full scholarship, to spend two weeks interacting and playing with top jazz players.

Returning to the Monk Colony, set for July 26 through Aug. 6, is Hancock, a regular performer at Jazz Aspen events. Joining Hancock in Snowmass Village will be bassists Ray Brown and Christian McBride, vocalist Rosemary Clooney, Latin percussionist Ray Barretto and trumpeter Nicholas Payton.

“I think it’s maybe the deepest and most balanced program we’ve had,” said Jazz Aspen founder and executive producer Jim Horowitz, adding that several more participants will be added to the program.

“Ray Brown was not only one of the most popular performers we’ve had, but he’s a really talented clinician. And having Rosemary Clooney is an honor; she’s associated with so much classic American music. We’ve wanted her for a while,” Horowitz said.

The jazz masters will not only instruct the younger players, but will also give performances at the Silvertree Hotel’s Cabaret Room and at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

Heading the performances will be Brown and McBride playing together in both duo and trio settings, and Hancock playing a dual tribute to George Gershwin and Duke Ellington. Hancock, who recently earned two Grammy Awards for his CD “Gershwin’s World,” will also present a public master class concerning the work of the two composers.

The Monk Jazz Colony students will also perform, with concerts scheduled for Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village, and at various club venues in Aspen and Snowmass.


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