“The Music of Ken Schaphorst and John Medeski” Concert to Feature Pianist and Hammond B3 Organ Player Medeski, Percussionist Rakalam Bob Moses, and the NEC Jazz Orchestra Conducted by Ken Schaphorst
Medeski Also Working with Students During 3-Day Residency
NEC alum John Medeski ’88 returns to his alma mater to play piano and Hammond B3 organ with the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a concert featuring his own music alongside works by Duke Ellington, Rakalam Bob Moses and Ken Schaphorst. Medeski is best known as a member of Medeski Martin & Wood, a group with deep roots at NEC, where Medeski connected with fellow NEC student, Chris Wood, and was introduced to Billy Martin through NEC faculty member Rakalam Bob Moses.
Titled The Music of Ken Schaphorst and John Medeski, the concert follows Medeski’s 3-day residency at the school. He will conduct a masterclass for students on Wednesday, February 25 at 1 p.m. in NEC’s Keller Room. The concert on Thursday, February 26 takes place at Jordan Hall. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, log on to: necmusic.edu/ or call 617-585-1122.
The concert will feature new arrangements of three of Medeski’s compositions –“Otis,” “Querencia” and “Where’s Sly?”– as well as two Ellington compositions that Medeski has recorded: “Blues for New Orleans” and “Chinoiserie.” These are the opening tracks from two late Ellington suites. “New Orleans Suite” (1970), commissioned by George Wein for the New Orleans Jazz Festival, also became a Grammy-winning recording. “The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse” (1971) was one of Ellington’s last large-scale works.
Jazz Studies Department Chair Ken Schaphorst will direct the NEC Jazz Orchestra in the performance of two of his new pieces, “Two Street” and “Smoke,” both featuring Medeski on the Hammond organ. NEC faculty member Rakalam Bob Moses will join Medeski and the ensemble on his composition “African Violet,” written for the 2000 recording “Nishoma” that was created as a tribute to his late mother.
NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur “genius” grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. Now in its 44th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 98 students; 54 undergraduate and 44 graduate students from 14 countries.