Corrections or additions?
This article by Richard Skelly was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
July 15, 1998. All rights reserved.
Jazz in the Afternoon
Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, is developing
a reputation far beyond the borders of the Garden State for its
musician alumni from the Jazz Studies department.
Prominent jazz musicians who have studied at Rutgers’ New Brunswick
campus include New Orleans-based trumpeter Terence Blanchard,
vocalist Jeanie Bryson (who sang at the Ledge, a campus hangout,
her college years), vocalist Regina Belle, pianist Harry Pickens,
drummer Ralph Peterson Jr., trumpeter Riley Mullins, and the
trombonist Frank Lacy, who works with the young and equally brilliant
trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Even former Brooklyn-based saxophonist and
composer Thomas Chapin, who died earlier this year, had several
under his own name and was developing a following in the jazz world.
Drummer Yoron Israel will lead a group of faculty musicians from
Newark campus in a SummerFest ’98 concert in New Brunswick on Sunday,
July 19, at 2 p.m. That group includes saxophonist Ralph Bowen, also
an alumnus of Rutgers-New Brunswick’s jazz program.
Bowen, who directs the Rutgers student jazz ensemble in New Brunswick,
co-founded the group OTB, an acronym for "Out of the Blue."
He has recorded and performed with pianists Michel Camillo, Horace
Silver, Renee Rosnes, and Hank Jones, to name just a few prominent
"This is a historically significant concert, because it’s the
first time the two campuses are collaborating on a performance
says Bowen. "Collaboration on a jazz concert between our two
hasn’t happened in the past.
"While we do collaborate a lot, academically speaking, since many
of our graduate students do go on to study up in Newark, the site
of the Jazz Archive, we haven’t ever collaborated on a performance.
The emphasis in Newark, basically, is on jazz history and
Bowen explains, "and we have an adjunct instrumental component
up there that includes Yoron and the others. The emphasis down here,
you could say, is more on performance."
Naturally, saxophonist and composer Bowen received both his bachelor
and master’s degrees in music from Rutgers University. He joined the
jazz faculty in 1990, and when former director Michael Mossman left
the university three years ago to concentrate on performing and
Bowen — who had worked with Mossman in OTB — took over as
director of the Rutgers New Brunswick Jazz Ensemble.
Bowen notes that Israel, bassist Kenny Davis, and saxophonist Greg
Wall, all adjunct professors on the Newark campus, will be joined
by Louis Porter, director of the Newark Faculty Jazz Ensemble. Bowen
will play saxophone and flute.
What can the audience expect?
"We’ll be performing some original compositions that Yoron and
I and others have written," Bowen says, "but for the most
part, we’ll be playing jazz standards."
— Richard J. Skelly
Nicholas Music Center, Douglass College Campus, New Brunswick,
$18. Sunday, July 19, 2 p.m.
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