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.
The history of the Vermont Jazz Center reaches back to the early 1970's, when the late founding Director, jazz guitarist Attila Zoller, would invite numerous musicians from New York City to unwind and create at his home in Newfane, Vermont.
Renowned jazz artists such as George Mraz, Sir Roland Hanna, Ron Carter, Lee Konitz, Don Friedman, Jimmy Raney, and Kenny Barron grew to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of southeastern Vermont. From these beginnings grew the renowned summer workshop series, which evolved into the Vermont Jazz Center.
In 1997 Zoller passed the torch to pianist, Eugene Uman, who together with his wife, Elsa Borrero and Board President Howard Brofsky, developed the jazz center into a year 'round program that hosts monthly concerts featuring some of the world's most innovative jazz musicians. Thanks to Borrero's financial and production skills, Brofsky's wisdom, Zoller's tremendous contacts, the help of generous supporters, a deeply committed board of directors and numerous friends and volunteers, the jazz center evolved to manifest Uman's vision to provide a nurturing environment where concerts, workshops, weekly jam sessions, classes in jazz history, ensembles and private lessons are held.
The Jazz Center is run by Artistic Director Eugene Uman, Office Manager, Jane Findlay, and Administrative Assistant Robby Roiter. The VJC's Board of Directors, spearheaded by Board Liaison Beth Kiendl and Art Director, Elsa Borrero, are actively involved as invaluable working volunteers for the organization, providing assistance in financial services, communications, grant writing, graphics, concert production and collaborations. The VJC is also reliant on the support of a strong grassroots community of musicians and jazz lovers who volunteer at many levels.
Today the Vermont Jazz Center is located in Brattleboro's Cotton Mill Hill Complex; the site includes a classroom, office space and 170-seat performance hall. The pleasant, loft-style space is reminiscent of New York's SoHo district; it claims favorable acoustics and is equipped with an ample, lighted stage, a Yamaha C7 grand piano, a Yamaha Oak-Custom drum set, and Mackie PA equipment.
The VJC collaborates with area businesses and other arts organizations to provide consulting, musicians for public events, and educational opportunities. Collaborations include projects with:
- Brattleboro Union High School
- Brattleboro Middle School
- The Brattleboro Town Arts Committee
- Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity
- The Yellow Barn
- Thompson House Elder Care
- Strolling of the Heifers
- Hilltop Montessori School
- Lawyers vs Guitars
- Peter Eldridge of NY Voices
- Brattleboro Arts Initiative
- Kurn Hattin Schools
- Vermont Association of Jazz Educators
- Building a Better Brattleboro
- The Putney School
- Pure Water for the World
- Brattleboro Town Library