Eugene Uman's Convergence Project

Composer and pianist Eugene Uman and his Convergence Project returns for his seventh annual Vermont Jazz Center concert with a special night of high-energy original jazz compositions based on traditional Colombian music on Saturday, June 6th at 8 PM. Other members of the Convergence Project Joining Uman will be Michael Zsoldos, on saxophone, Jeff Galindo on trombone, Stomu Takeishi on electric bass, Satoshi Takeishi on drums and Adam O'Farrill on trumpet, who was the third place winner in this year's Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

"The intention when writing these pieces was to combine the vocabulary of jazz with the edge of rock and funk and the inspiration of Colombian folkloric rhythms such as pasillo, cumbia, currulao, puya and porro," says Uman. The music of the Convergence Project balances an artistic tightrope between fresh, innovative and exploratory on one side, and accessible, understandable, exceedingly enjoyable and fun to listen to on the other.

Sponsored by Michael McKenzie and the McKenzie Family Foundation

The leader of the Convergence Project, Eugene Uman, is a renowned composer, pianist, educator and community activist. He has been the Executive Artistic Director of the Vermont Jazz Center since 1997, has worked tirelessly to connect music and the local community and has written over 150 jazz compositions, including three that appeared on Latin Jazz star Sammy Figueroa's 2005 Grammy Nominated CD In Walked Sammy. Jazz Legend Jimmy Heath has called his compositions "music of substance and integrity."

For the VJC performance on June 6th, the Convergence Project will be playing material from their first two albums as well as debuting new compositions that Eugene recently wrote. The arrangements intentionally travel far afield from traditional structures by incorporating odd meters and musical language from the worlds of jazz and rock. But the pieces based on the Colombian rhythms still retain their original folkloric essence. This is because the foundation of these compositions are rhythmical grooves which give immutable finger-prints to their sound. Furthermore, everyone in the Convergence Project is encouraged to add his own voice to the big picture. The band concept is founded on the synergy of each musician's personal style in combination with the primordial, rhythmical pulse.

"Each of these musicians brings vast knowledge and wisdom to musical performance," said Uman. "In putting together the Convergence Project, I have created a situation in which I could effectively express all the styles that influence my composition. These musicians go beyond that objective and add depth, sophistication and fun. This band is extremely exciting!"

Now in its seventh year as a core group, the Convergence Project, in addition to Uman on piano, features: Drummer Satoshi Takeishi has appeared on over 75 recordings including those by Latin giants Nestor Torres, Ray Barretto, Hector Martignon and Eliane Elias. Satoshi has also performed with Laszlo Gardony, Badal Roy, Erik Friedlander, Colombian saxophonist Antonio Arnedo, Paul Winter, Anthony Braxton, Theo Bleckmann/Ben Monder, Joel Harrison and Rob Brown. Satoshi's roots are deep in jazz, Latin and experimental music; he can be found on recordings including Marc Johnson, Eddie Gomez, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Mark Murphy, Herbie Mann, and the Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band. His unique style incorporates ethnic percussion and electronics along with the traditional drum set. He currently works with pianist/conceptualist, Shoko Nagai.

Electric bassist Stomu Takeish has been praised by critics for his sensitivity to sound and timbre. He has played in many international jazz festivals and at major venues throughout the the world. In Downbeat's 57th Critics Poll, Stomu was the winner in the category of Electric Bass, Rising Star. He has appeard on over 45 recordings including those with Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band, Lazlo Gardony, Dave Tronzo, Henry Threadgill & Make a Move, Badal Roy, Erik Friedlander, Cuong Vu, Myra Melford's Crush, Steve Gorn, John Zorn and many others.

Saxophonist Michael Zsoldos has performed with Paquito D'Rivera, Sheila Jordan, Ernie Watts, Matt Wilson, Rebecca Parris, and Jerry Bergonzi and has opened for piano legend McCoy Tyner. Michael has arranged for and performed with the horn section of the Dartmouth Gospel Choir and Chicago's One Accord. They performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Umbria, Napoli, Rome, Chicago's House of Blues, Jazz at Lincoln Center and at the Obama Inauguration. Zsoldos plays with the Discover Jazz Festival Big Band in Burlington, VT and the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band in Brattleboro, VT. For six years, Michael was the Band Director at Woodstock Union High School and Middle School and is currently on the teaching faculties of Castleton State College and Interplay Jazz Camp.

The newest member of the Convergence Project is 21-year-old Brooklyn-based trumpeter Adam O'Farrill. Music is a family affair for Adam - his father is the jazz pianist and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill and his grandfather is the jazz trumpeter and composer Chico O'Farrill. He also co-leads the O'Farrill Brothers band with his older brother, drummer Zack O'Farrill. The O'Farrill Brothers Band released their debut album Giant Peach in 2011. Sensing Flight followed in 2013, receiving a 4-star review in DownBeat in addition to being listed in the Top 50 Albums of 2013 by JazzTimes. O'Farrill has been performing with the likes of pianists Vijay Iyer and Arturo O'Farrill as well as alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, with whom Adam recently recorded Bird Calls (ACT Music), featuring Mahanthappa's new project inspired by the spirit of Charlie Parker; the album was released in 2015. And if that wasn't enough, Adam competed in and was awarded third place in the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition by a panel of judges that included Ambrose Akinmusire, Randy Brecker, Roy Hargrove, Quincy Jones, Jimmy Owens, and Arturo Sandoval. Adam said, "I just felt there was an equal chance of making it and not making it into the top three, so the only thing I could do was just play and just be myself, and I think I did that."

Trombonist Jeff Galindo sums up his personal musical philosophy in one phrase: "Music doesn't lie. We can speak lies, but a musician plays who he is." When Jeff picks up his horn, the truth of that statement becomes obvious. Every utterance is crazy wisdom: beyond thought but with deep roots in study and talent. Jeff has toured the world with Phil Woods, Makoto Ozone, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, Irving Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. He was Trombonist and Musical Director for Esperanza Spalding's recent world tour and played on her Grammy-award winning CD, Radio Music Society. He has performed with Chick Corea, Clark Terry, Joe Lovano, George Russell, Slide Hampton, and Johnny Griffin, Gunther Schuller, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Bergonzi, Bobby Shew, The Boston Pops Orchestra, Frank Sinatra Jr. and the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra among many others. In Boston, Jeff performs regularly with the Greg Hopkins Big Band and Nonet, the Galindo/Phaneuf Sextet plus his double quartet with George Garzone. He is currently one of the top free-lancing trombonists in the Boston area.

Uman refers to the Convergence Project as his dream band. Each musician is skilled at reading and interpreting his compositions, they are all strong soloists, each with a unique sound and an individualized vocabulary. The entire band is able to authentically interpret both Latin and swing rhythms and everyone is fearless, willing to stretch out into unfamiliar territory and jump into the abyss of the unknown. Here's Eugene's composition 'Cumbia Dramatica' to give you a taste of the energetic delight in store.

The Convergence Project at VJC, Saturday, June 6th at 8:00 PM is made possible with generous financial support from Michael McKenzie and the McKenzie Family Charitable Trust, the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Hospitality provided by the Hampton Inn of Brattleboro and underwritten by VPR and WFCR.
Tickets for the Convergence Project at VJC, June 6th, are $20 general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at www.vtjazz.org. Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1.

Date:
Saturday, June 6th
Time:
8:00 PM
Location:
Vermont Jazz Center
Admission:
Sliding Scale ticket fee: $20.00 - $40.00
Tickets:
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In the Moment, 143 Main St, Brattleboro, VT
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