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VERMONT JAZZ CENTER EMERGING ARTIST FESTIVAL: Two days of Jazz Featuring Emerging and Established Young Artists In Fourteen Performances


The Vermont Jazz Center is excited to present its first annual Emerging Artists Festival on Friday evening, November 2nd in downtown Brattleboro during Gallery Walk and all day Saturday, November 3rd at the Vermont Jazz Center. This event is in collaboration with area schools and colleges, the Boys and Girls Club, Strolling of the Heifers, BrattRock, Youth Services, Gallery Walk and the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance. The VJC's goal is to use this annual Emerging Artists Festival to cultivate a greater interest and deeper knowledge of jazz amongst younger audiences, to connect with our region's youth and ultimately boost their attendance throughout the year. As a participatory event, VJC's Emerging Artist Festival will break down barriers to accessing the arts, especially for the region's young people.

The Festival begins with a Friday night Jazz Walk in downtown Brattleboro, piggybacking on the town's well-established monthly Gallery Walk, The opening evening includes local, young groups performing at restaurants and arts venues from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.

After the Gallery Walk performances, at 9:00, the VJC will present a free concert with one of the festival's headlining acts, Planet Kniffen, at the River Garden. This free concert, in collaboration with the Strolling of the Heifers, will provide an opportunity for the young musicians who have performed during the Jazz Walk to come together with friends and family to enjoy a top-notch example of jazz performed led by the Los Angeles-based drummer Darryl Kniffen,who will be flying in exclusively to perform and instruct at this festival.

The Festival continues on Saturday at performing at the VJC's concert hall beginning at 1:00 PM. Juried high school and college-age groups will perform during the afternoon followed by a Q + A session with the headlining artists. The Festival will culminate with performances by the headliner groups.

Summary of Events:

11/2/18 -- Friday Evening Jazz Walk
Youth bands will all perform at downtown restaurants and performance venues as part of Brattleboro's monthly Gallery Walk event. Confirmed venues include the Brattleboro Boys and Girls Club (feat. BUHS Jazz Band, Keene State College Jazz Band and Rei Kimura Duo), 118 Elliot Street (feat. Archer Parks Trio), The Lounge (feat. Jeremy Turgeon Quartet), and Echo Restaurant (feat. UMass's Kaplan-Padula Quintet).

After all these groups have finished their sets, the VJC invites everyone to the River Garden at 9 PM for a free concert with headliner band Planet Kniffen.

11/3/18 - Saturday
1:00 - 5:00 PM
The VJC will present youth artist performances and educational workshops at the Vermont Jazz Center (72 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro VT 05301). Local school and college groups including Khalif and Talyn Neville, Montpelier HS Jazz Ensemble, Amherst College's Ascension, Amherst College Alumni group SCOBI, UMass's Brecker Brothers Combo (directed by Jeff Holmes) and the UVM Postbop Ensemble (directed by Ray Vega, host of VPR's Friday Night Jazz). There will be a Q+A with members of the Young Lions, Sonic Asylum and King Klave.

5:10 - 10:30 PM
In the evening, these headliners will perform the Festival's main concert event at the Vermont Jazz Center performance space. The evening concert will begin at 5:00 with the VJC Young Lions and, following a dinner break, will continue with two groups from New York: Arcoiris Sandoval's Sonic Asylum and Amaury Acosta's King Klave at 8 PM

Headliner Bios:

Planet Kniffen: Performing Friday at The River Garden, 9 PM
Planet Kniffen's release, "Dreamland" climbed to #5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart the week after its release. Darryl was named Outstanding Teacher of The Year by the University of Vermont. He currently teaches music at Stoneman Elementary in Pittsburg, CA. He has also taught at Arlington Memorial High School in Arlington, VT, SUNY Adirondack, and Readsboro and Twin Valley Elementary Schools. Darryl has performed with Chilean vocalist Natalia Bernal, Freddy Shehadi, Richard Boulger, Saturday Night Live saxophonist Alex Foster, pianist Peter Primamore (The Today Show), trombonist Maximillian Sholl (PitchBlak Brass Band) and many others.

The Young Lions: Performing Saturday at VJC, 5 PM

A group formed by alumni of the VJC's Summer Workshop Program including Franz Robert, Malik McLaurine, Jahian Cooper-Monize, Zach Trombley and Ben Barnett. Most of the members live and are active in New York City, and the focus of much of their activity revolves around a hip club on West 10th Street called Smalls. The Young Lions have been playing together for many years. In August 2018, they performed as a featured act at the VJC Summer Faculty Concert performance after being coached by acclaimed trumpeter Jason Palmer. They are planning to record their debut album at Guilford Sound.

Arco Iris Sandoval's Sonic Asylum: Performing Saturday at VJC, 8 PM
A vehicle for pianist Arco Iris to explore her original compositions with some of the top names in NYC. She is the recipient of a Fulbright award and holds a Master's degree in jazz piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Sandoval has won several ASCAP young jazz composer awards as well as being a semifinalist at in the Montreux Solo Jazz Piano competition. She has been a participant in the Mary Lou Williams Festival, Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program and the Metropole Orkest Arrangers Workshop. Ms. Sandoval has also performed at major festivals throughout the world including the Telluride Jazz Festival, the Tucson Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Summer Festival, and many others throughout China, Europe, India, South America, and Mexico.

King Klave: Performing Saturday at VJC, 8 PM
A group led by drummer Amaury Acosta that includes Godwin Louis on alto saxophone, Javier Santiago (piano, Fender Rhodes, and synths), Paul Wilson (synths and key-bass) Michael Valeanu (guitar and the leader on drums and percussion). Acosta has played or recorded with Candido Camero, Jose James, Paquito D'Rivera, Wynton Marsalis, Ambrose Akinmusire, , Luques & Zaccai Curtis, Marcus Strickland, Casey Benjamin, John Ellis, Joe Sanders, Boris Kozlov, Charles Tolliver, Ben Williams, Robert Glasper, Kris Bowers, John Ellis, Pedrito Martinez,  Isreal "Cachao" Lopez, Osmany Paredes, George Cables, Kenneth Whalum III, Sean Jones, John Hicks, Mark Whitfield, John Benitez,  Arturo O'Farril, Yosvany Terry,  Taylor Eigsti, Jaleel Shaw, Jeremey Pelt, David Bryant, Logan Richardson and many others. King Klave's promo pack says: "What if you could merge Questlove and JazzyJeff into one performance artist?  The answer is King Klave, the nom de guerre for the solo electronic production project of Amaury Acosta.  Through his search for a fresh sonic spectrum, Amaury combines his complex Jazz Funk HipHop beats with the sonic textures of his Afro Cuban roots, a dominion created by incorporating drums with technology."

The VJC is using the Festival as a platform to assist nationally emergent jazz artists at a critical stage in their careers. The Festival also offers local young professionals and aspiring performers an opportunity to perform on a professional stage and be featured in a VJC showcase. As part of Saturday's schedule, multigenerational audiences will have the chance to dialogue with performers during Q&A sessions and clinics with our headlining bands. As with all VJC events, there will be options for people to volunteer in exchange for participation in the Festival.

Catch the fire of youth involvement in jazz and join the VJC community in the excitement surrounding this event. Admission to all of Friday's shows are free and open to the public. Saturday's activities at the VJC are $20 for general admission, students admitted free.

The VJC is grateful to a host of individuals, foundations and businesses that have made this multi-pronged event possible. Thanks to the musicians many of whom are performing for free or below their normal fee. Special thanks to financial sponsors: Janet and Jeremy Birch, Dave Snyder/Guilford Sound, Diana Bingham, Vermont Arts Council, The Thomson Trust and Edward Jones. Thanks to the numerous collaborators including Strolling of the Heifers, The Lounge at Duo, Echo Restaurant, 118 Elliot, The Boys and Girls Club of Brattleboro, Youth Services, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program, Brattleboro Downtown Alliance, Gallery Walk, BrattRock, Music departments of Brattleboro Union High School, UMass, University of Vermont, The Putney School, Montpelier High School. Thanks to the following in getting the word out - Chris Lenois, the Brattleboro Reformer, The Commons, WKVT, WVEW, and VPR and its Friday night jazz host Ray Vega. A huge thank you to all the committee members and volunteers who make this endeavor possible.

Tickets for the Emerging Artist Festival at the Vermont Jazz Center are $20, general admission, free for students with I.D., available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at, by email at Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access is available by calling the VJC at 802 254 9088.

Arcoiris Sandoval

King Klave/(U)nity

Planet Kniffen

Vermont Jazz Center to launch a new semester of classes starting on week of September 17th


The Vermont Jazz Center will host a new ten-week session of classes beginning the week of September 17th. Courses include Youth Jazz for ages 10 through high school, Anna Patton's Soubrette Choir, the Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Jazz Uke Ensemble, Claire Arenius' Blue Note Ensemble, a Jazz Guitar Ensemble with Draa Hobbs, and, NEW this semester, a Samba Percussion Ensemble led by Julian Gerstin and Ron Kelley.

Join a combo and learn how to perform classic jazz compositions while being guided by one of the VJC's professional faculty. If you've never improvised, that's no problem. There are opportunities for all including classical musicians intrigued by jazz's structure and improvisational opportunities.

Sessions are 10 weeks long (except for Youth Jazz which is 8 weeks and will begin on October 2nd) The classes will culminate during a full day of performances on December 8th at the Jazz Center Performance Space during the Cotton Mill Hill Open House.

Schedule for VJC's Fall Education Opportunities: 2018

11:00 - 12:30 Samba Troupe - Julian Gerstin and Ron Kelley, instructors. Alternate Sundays through 12/16. First class meets 9/23/18
2:30 - 4:00 PM: Jazz Guitar Ensemble - Draa Hobbs, instructor.
First class meets 9/23/18.

5:15 - 6:45 PM Blue Note Ensemble - Claire Arenius, instructor.
First class meets 9/17/18.

3:45 - 5:00 Youth Jazz Ensemble - Eugene Uman, instructor. First class meets 10/2/18.
5:15 - 6:45 Uke Jazz Ensemble (At VJC) - Ben Carr, instructor First class meets 9/18/18.
5:30 - 7:15 Soubrette Choir Meets at 62 Spruce Street, Brattleboro Anna Patton, instructor. First class meets 9/11/18/

4:15 - 5:45 Latin Jazz Ensemble - Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman, Instructors. First class meets 9/19/18.
6:00 - 7:30 - VJC Sextet (full) Rob Freeberg, director


Sept. 15 - Etienne Charles and Creole Soul
A Trinidadian trumpet star who builds off of that country's carnival tradition. A daring Improviser, Charles also delivers with heart-wrenching lyricism. -Jazz Times

Fri. Oct. 12th - Christian McBride and New Jawn Quartet
Six-time Grammy Award winning bassist Christian McBride leads an all-star quartet with no chordal instruments in the spirit of Ornette and Sonny.

November 2 and 3rd (Fri./Sat) - Emerging Artist Festival
A major event featuring area youth ensembles, showcases and master classes plus a Saturday doubleheader with King Klave and Sonic Asylum.

Dec. 7th (Friday) - VJC's Annual Big Band Gala: A Tribute to Artie Shaw
Four affiliates of the Artie Shaw Orchestra will join the VJC's big band to perform swing music made famous by the legendary clarinetist.

January 19th- Helen Sung: "Sung with Words"
Helen Sung has written a collection of songs to the poetry of Dana Gioia. Features an all-star Octet with two vocalists.

February 9th - Sullivan Fortner Trio
Winner of the Cole Porter Fellowship and the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, one of the top pianists of his generation.

March 16th - Russell Malone Quartet

The New York Times has called Malone "a guitarist of taste and tradition." He is one of today's leading guitarists, a mature and revered master.

April 12-13 (Fri./Sat.) - Solo Jazz Piano Festival

The VJC's third annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival builds on its past success. This year's headliner is Joanne Brackeen and a laureate of the American Piano Association

May 18th< - Pedrito Martínez and Alfredo Rodriguez Duo
Two of Cuba's greatest young musical masters come together in an incendiary duo performance.

June 1st - Sheila Jordan and Friends
Cameron Brown, Eugene Uman and Others
A celebration and appreciation of NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan's 90th year and her two-decade relationship with the Vermont Jazz Center.

The Vermont Jazz Center is an internationally recognized institution that provides jazz education, programming and outreach. Currently in its 40th year, it was founded in 1974 by the legendary guitarist, Attila Zoller and is now run by pianist, Eugene Uman.

The VJC features a summer jazz workshop, a monthly concert series, Wednesday night jam sessions, and frequent collaborations with area schools, arts organizations and businesses.

Mission: The Vermont Jazz Center is dedicated to creating and preserving jazz through the presentation of workshops, concerts, and instruction to a broad constituency of artists, students, and the general public.

Keep in touch
Upcoming Concerts
VJC's Annual Big Band Gala: A Tribute to Artie Shaw
Fri. December 7th, 8:00 PM
Helen Sung: "Sung with Words"
January 19th, 8:00 PM
Sullivan Fortner Trio
February 9th, 8:00 PM
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Handicap Accessible
Concerts at the VJC are handicap accessible.

SEATING: For wheelchair or other handicapped seating at concerts, please call in advance, 802-254-9088 or 802-579-5515.

PARKING AND ENTRANCE: The Cotton Mill’s handicapped entrance is on the south side (on your right as you enter the parking lot). There is one van-accessible parking spot next to this entrance. Other handicapped spots are located along the west side of the building (facing you as you enter the parking lot. There is no handicapped entrance or elevator on this side.

ELEVATOR: To get to VJC on the second floor, you’ll need to use the freight elevator. At the handicapped entrance, pass the flight of stairs and go through the door on your left, into the building's loading area. The elevator is at the far end of the loading area. If you have someone to assist you, make sure they open and close both the elevator’s gate and main door, both from inside (to run it) and when you exit (so other people can use it). If you need assistance with the elevator, call us. We appreciate a call ahead of time but you can also call when you arrive, and we’ll send someone right down. 802-254-9088 or 802-579-5515.

RESTROOMS: Accessible restrooms are located at the far end of the building. As you exit our concert space take a left, and at the end of the hall take a right. They’re pretty far. Leave yourself time.

Please call to discuss arrangements to facilitate your enjoyment of this concert: (802) 254 9088, ext. 2.

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