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Vermont Jazz Center's 41st Summer Jazz Workshop to take place at the Putney School week of August 7 - 13


  • Educational Program: August 7th to August 13th, Putney School, Putney, VT
  • Faculty Concert: Thursday, August 11th at 8:00 PM, Michaels S. Currier Center, Putney School
  • Student Concert: Friday, August 12th, Michaels S. Currier Center, Putney School - Set I at 3:30PM - Set II at 8:00 PM

The Vermont Jazz Center is preparing for its 41st iteration of the summer jazz workshop. The week-long program takes place on the beautiful campus of The Putney School in Putney, Vermont. This workshop encourages intermediate to professional level students from down the street and around the world; while in Vermont they polish their improvisational and musicianship skills while enjoying a hiatus in a beautiful, bucolic setting. The workshop began in 1974 when famed Hungarian guitarist, Attila Zoller, formed the Attila Zoller Guitar Clinics. These informal programs were fundamental in the development of young musicians like Peter Bernstein, Helmut Kagerer, and many others who would come to Zoller's rustic home in Newfane and study with him and other masters. The program attained non-profit status in 1989 when Zoller took on a board of directors, registered with the state, and conscripted friends like Joy Wallens-Penford, Howard Brofsky, and Gene Rush to help with the curriculum and organization. To this day, the VJC honors Zoller's immense spirit and attention to quality.

Over the years, the Summer Workshop has grown in numerous ways, most notably through increased numbers of students and staff, but also by developing a vocal program under the caring guidance of Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton. Because the workshop has taken place now for 18 years at the Putney School, a sense of rhythm has been achieved through repetition. The community simultaneously grows outward while getting deeper: returning students visit each summer and nourish friendships, develop their musical skills, and live their dreams. Both students and faculty consider this week in the country the highlight of their year. Pianist Bob Werbel, who has been attending the program for more than a decade, told the VJC last week "It's my favorite week of the year, I wouldn't miss it for anything." There exists a natural, intergenerational balance where participants of all ages learn from each other, gleaning from both the wisdom of jazz's "old school," the pedagogical advancements put forth in today's developed system of jazz education and the freedom that is synonymous with the word "jazz."

The Vermont Jazz Center's Summer Workshop emphasizes the importance of improvisation and small-group dynamics, encouraging participants to find their own voices using the jazz language. The courses offered include jazz theory, master classes in each instrument, focused listening and faculty led ensembles. The atmosphere is friendly and productive; participants and teachers alike form bonds that last a lifetime. The Summer Workshop stands as the pinnacle of the VJC's educational year thanks to a phenomenal world-class faculty - teachers who are brilliant players but still have a vested interest in the unique journey brought to the program by each student. Eugene Uman is Artistic Director and Ginger Morawski is the Summer Workshop Administrator. There are dozens of community volunteers who contribute to its smooth operation.

This year's program will feature approximately 50 instrumental and 20 vocal students under the tutelage of over a dozen highly regarded musician/teachers. They will meet and enjoy the excellent musical facilities at the Putney School; they will unite into instrumental and vocal ensembles and each day partake in master classes, formal performance groups, and classes in jazz composition and theory. In the evenings--e evoking the Zoller spirit--students and faculty will jam until the wee hours of the morning.  The students will offer a performance on the final evening of the workshop; the Faculty will deliver their own on Thursday evening. Both concerts will take place at the Michael S. Currier Center at the Putney School. 

The best indication of a program's success is the ardent support and return of its alumni. Sally Station, who attended the workshop in 2013, is excited about returning this summer. After participating at the 2013 workshop, she returned home to Bogotá and diligently applied the study materials garnered at the VJC. She now performs weekly at a venue near her apartment, playing guitar in a jazz trio, improvising over an expanded repertoire with newly developed confidence. A licensed, bilingual interpreter, Station's reflection about the VJC summer workshop upon leaving was: "Live it, breathe it, eat it, sleep it then get up the next day and do it all again. Total immersion, this is the best way to learn a new language!"

Please join us in celebrating jazz and enjoy the VJC's summer workshop concerts held at the Putney School's Michael S. Currier Center. On Thursday evening, August 11th the Vermont Jazz Center Faculty Concert will present vocalists Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton, Rob Freeberg (trumpet), Jeff Galindo (trombone), Scott Mullett, Michael Zsoldos (saxophone), Carolina Calvache, Harvey Diamond, Ray Gallon and Eugene Uman (piano), Marcus McLaurine, George Kaye, David Picchi and Cameron Brown (bass), Franciso Mela, Brian Adler and Claire Arenius, (drums) and Julian Gerstin, percussion. The ticket price for the faculty concert is $20, $15 for students. Local music students are admitted free of charge.

On Friday evening, August 12th, the VJC Summer Workshop Student Concert will showcase faculty-coached student ensembles with numerous vocalists and several piano trios. This concert will be divided into two sections, the first will start at 3:30 PM and the second show will resume after a dinner break at 8:00 PM. Singers will be accompanied by a professional jazz trio and the piano trios will be assisted and perform with a faculty bassist. Also performing will be five faculty-coached ensembles, usually comprised of two or three horns, piano, bass and drums. For the student concert, a $5.00 donation is suggested. All concerts will take place at The Putney School's Michael S. Currier Center and are accessible to all.

The VJC's Summer Jazz Workshop is sponsored by William and Laurie Schutt with further assistance from Vermont Public Radio and the Vermont Arts Council.

For information regarding this workshop and related concerts, please visit the VJC's website at, or call 802 254 9088.

For more information on VJC programs please contact Ginger Morawski at 802 254 9088 or to receive a brochure, or visit the VJC website at For specific questions regarding curriculum and content, email Eugene Uman directly at

Concert Season, 2016-2017 Vermont Jazz Center
  • Sept. 17 - Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio
  • October 1st - Caili O'Doherty Quartet (Emerging Artist Series)
  • Oct. 15 - Chico Freeman Plus-tet
  • Nov. 12 - Javon Jackson + Jimmy Cobb's Tribute to Coltrane
  • Dec. 2 - VJC Big Band + Wanda Houston - Tribute to Ella
  • Jan. 14 - Christian Scott
  • February 11 - Christian Sands Trio
  • March 18 - Sheila Jordan with Alan Broadbent
  • April 7, 8 - SOLO JAZZ PIANO FESTIVAL Stanley Cowell, Amina Figarova, Luis Perdomo, Yoko Miwa, and Miro Sprague
  • April 29th - Adam O'Farrill Quartet (Emerging Artist Series)
  • May 13 - Billy Childs Quartet
  • June 10 - Eugene Uman's Convergence Project
Stanley Cowell, April 8th, 2017


The Vermont Jazz Center instructors are committed to the jazz ethic of passing the tradition on and keeping it alive. Their ability to pull beautiful music out of even beginners is phenomenal. Their contributions to our community cannot be overstated.

~Susie Webster-Toleno, parent of youth ensemble students

The Vermont Jazz Center will begin their 10-week long semester of Fall educational programs, most classes will begin the week of September 19th, 2016. Visit the Jazz Center's website at for details, or call or email Office Manager, Ginger Morawski to register: 802 254 9088, Sessions are 10 weeks long (except for Youth Jazz which is 8 weeks). Starting dates are listed below and at Fees are $250 for 10 week semesters, except for Latin Jazz which is $200 and Youth Jazz which is $100. Call for scholarship/work study options. The semester will culminate in a concert with a short set performed by each of the groups.

5:15 - 6:45 Blue Note Ensemble, Scott Mullett, instructor. Starting the week of September 19th, 2016. 
This ensemble will focus on the repertoire from landmark Blue Note recordings of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mullett states that this era represents for him, "the heartbeat of American jazz." The repertoire performed by this ensemble will include jazz standards and originals recorded by the bands of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter.

7:00 - 9:00 Valley Rock Choir, Tony Lechner, instructor. Tony Lechner, has been conducting choirs in the Northampton Massachusetts region for over a decade under the auspices of Valley Jazz Choirs. He uses the VJC to rehearse his rock choir on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM. Contact Mr. Lechner directly for starting date and fee information. To register:

3:45 -5:00 Youth Jazz Ensemble, Eugene Uman, instructor. Starting the week of September 19th, 2016. 
For youth age 10 - 16 who are interested in adding improvisation to their musical toolbox. This ensemble will use simple tunes written by jazz masters Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley and others as vehicles for taking off. The tunes we will start with are simple melodies that encourage participants to want to delve deeper into the jazz repertoire.
5:45 - 7:30 Women's Jazz Harmony Vocal Ensemble, Anna Patton, instructor, starting the week of September 19th, 2016.
. Anna Patton will lead a women's vocal ensemble that will sing arrangements of songs from the swing era as well as contemporary pieces in the jazz idiom. The ensemble will work on blend and precision in close harmonies in the style of groups like the Andrews Sisters and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. We will also spend some time working on aural skills and playing with chord progressions. Recommended for singers who read music and/or have quick ears. The group is not auditioned, but does take on some challenging material.

4:15 - 5:45 Latin Jazz Ensemble, Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman, instructors. Starting the week of September 19th, 2016. 
For musicians who wish to learn and play jazz influenced by rhythms of Latin America. Emphasized styles include salsa, son, rumba, danzon, bolero and cha cha chá from Cuba (and Puerto Rico); cumbia, bambucco and porro from Colombia; bossa, samba, partido alto and samba reggae from Brazil.

VJC Wednesday Night Jam Sessions (ongoing)
All are invited to attend our Wednesday night jam community sessions which are held from 8:00 - 10:00 PM every week. All levels and all instruments are invited. A $3.00 donation is suggested for listeners and players. The jam sessions were especially important in past times for musicians to learn from each other and review the jazz repertoire. Today is no exception. A supportive environment prevails in order to encourage musicians who can, at a minimum, play through a melody. Most musicians also use the opportunity to explore their improvising "chops." Sessions are attended by a myriad of musicians from diverse backgrounds. High School and college students are especially urged to attend. This open jam at the Vermont Jazz Center has been taking place since 1997 and is a means for young and old to hone their skills together.

Check out the VJC's website at and find class descriptions and further information on all the VJC's offerings. For registration: 802 254 9088 or For information on class content No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, please call to find out about the VJC's scholarship and extended payment options.

List of Classes and Ensembles Vermont Jazz Center Fall 2017

  • Blue Note Ensemble 5:15 - 6:45, Scott Mullett
  • Brattleboro Rock Chorus 7:30 - 9:00, Tony Lechner
  • Youth Jazz Ensemble 3:45 - 5:00, Eugene Uman
  • Women's Jazz Harmony 5:45 - 7:30, Anna Patton
  • Latin Jazz Ensemble 4:15 - 5:45, Gerstin/Uman
  • VJC Sextet (full) 6:00 - 7:30, Rob Freeberg
  • Jam Session 8:00 - 10:00, Uman


This year's offerings include a new class from percussionist/musicologist Julian Gerstin. He will be introducing participants to a broad range of percussion instruments from African and Latin America. The class will learn basic techniques on these instruments and will get participants grooving, they will receive an overview of percussion instruments from African and Latin America that includes active jamming using authentic rhythms. Here's how Julian describes the class: Many instruments, many styles: more than bongo and cowbell. Julian will introduce you to instruments from Ghana, Cuba, Brazil and Martinique, from drums of many kinds to bells, shakers, and scrapers.


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.

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Upcoming Concerts
Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio
Sept. 17th 2016, 8:00 PM
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