Released Monday, May 12, the new CalArts Jazz CD for 2008 features original compositions and performances by student musicians from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Jazz Program. Recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, this annual CD release has become an anticipated event and an established model for other projects like it around the world.
The album is the 19th in a series of compilations that the CalArts Jazz Program produces in association with the studio and its parent company, Capitol/EMI. Throughout the project's history, Capitol/EMI has generously provided support--benefiting many gifted young people with an unsurpassed hands-on experience in a professional studio context and exposing the talent of the prestigious CalArts Jazz Program to a wider audience.
CDs are distributed free to the participating artists, faculty, prospective students and jazz fans--until the supply runs out.
CalArts Jazz Program faculty member David Roitstein, recently named to the Mel Powell Endowed Chair, is the producer of the CDs. "Capitol treats us like any other client, he said. "Its a very powerful experience for our students to be in this professional environment. They can see, feel, and hear the result of their hard work and intensive preparation. Many have told me that it was a defining moment in their lives."
In late November, student composers and performers submit demo recordings to a faculty committee. This first round produces 70-80 submissions from which the committee chooses 20 compositions. At the end of February the 20 finalist groups give a marathon concert, with a party atmosphere, at CalArts. From this event, 10 groups are selected to record at Capitol.
After 19 years, over 600 young musicians and composers from CalArts have had their best work documented and widely distributed. There is now a long list of talented CalArts graduates who have gone on to successful careers in music--touring and recording with a long list of jazz masters such as Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, Roy Hargrove, Steve Coleman, Elvin Jones, Geri Allen, Jim Hall, John Scofield, Dianne Reeves, John McLaughlin, Arturo Sandoval, and Brad Mehldau. CalArts students who had this experience at Capitol have later become part of some wildly successful pop bands, including Beck, No Doubt, Macy Gray, The Calling, The Wallflowers, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins, Zoometric, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Brian Setzer, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, and many others.
Every year, students in the CalArts Graphic Design Program collaborate with the Jazz Program to create the cover art and liner notes for the Jazz CDs. In recent years, students in Graphic Design Program Co-Director Gail Swanlund's classes have designed the CD packages.
In anticipation of the gala 20th Anniversary of CalArts Jazz CD, an archival website will be launched in September 2008. The site will contain downloadable versions of all of the cuts produced over the last 19 years. This unique musical resource will also link to musician's biographies and additional information, as well as offer a complete gallery of cover art and liner notes.
The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts: Formed in 1970 under the direction of composer Mel Powell and ethnomusicologist Nicholas England, and guided also by many other visionary faculty members over the years, the school today offers programs for the professional training of music artists in a unique learning environment founded on principles of the highest artistic excellence, experimentation across categories, critical reflection, and independent inquiry. Firmly grounded in traditional and contemporary music forms, the school's programs prepare graduates to develop new expressions and contribute to the evolution of music practice. More than 150 courses are offered each semester by approximately 70 faculty members in six programs including Performer-Composer, with a specialization available in African American Improvisational Music; Composition, with a specialization available in Experimental Sound Practices; Jazz; Multi-Focus Performance, encompassing Winds/Brass/Strings/Harp, Piano/Keyboard with a specialization available in Collaborative Keyboard, Guitar, Percussion, Voice, Global Music Performance, African Music and Dance, Balinese and Javanese Music and Dance, North Indian Music, Global Percussion; Multi-Focus Music Technologies; and Musical Arts. The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts has nearly doubled in size from 136 students in 1990 to 249 in 2008.
California Institute of the Arts: CalArts, the first U.S. higher educational institution to integrate the visual and performing arts under one roof, is recognized as the nation's leading laboratory for the arts. Housing six schools--Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater--CalArts embraces creative cross-pollination among diverse art forms and traditions and strongly encourages each artist to pursue his or her vision within a broad context of social and cultural understanding. Six programs are nationally ranked in the top five or top 10 by U.S. News and World Report: Art, Film, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Theater.
Contact: CalArts Public Affairs, 24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355