TheVIPPReport: Jamey Aebersold shares his love for jazz

Jamey Aebersold

Tucked away on a New Albany street named after his family. Jazz master Jamey Aebersold has been playing music for most of his life. I caught up with him in his studio which is covered with some 15 thousand vinyl albums, thousands of photos which he calls the Smithsonian Jazz Institute of the Midwest. He talks to me about how he was introduced to jazz.  He says “Jazz is the coming thing. When I was young, I got my driver’s license at 16. I got me a 35 dollar car.  I drove to Louisville, in westend where jazz was playing. Every club had jazz. Rock-n-roll had not been invented yet.  Country western wasn’t popular so jazz was basically everywhere. I would go to those places and listen to them.  I would wonder what was going on in their minds.

He never liked to stick to the traditional format. Aebersold says “My dad like Dixieland music. I bought some records. Yeah, I liked it but then when I heard Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, I kinda went that way.” As he hand gestured.   

He goes on to say “It was years later, I would realize that was the foundation that I needed those scales and cords and the fingering of it, so forth…because that would allow me to play what I heard in my head.  (as he hummed a tune) then add a cord to it. That’s how I got started.” 

Jamey told me that he was not a good student and the teacher actually returned his money because he just didn’t have the patience to play the standard scales and cords. In his mind, he was just copying what he saw in the music book.  He wanted to play what was in his head which we know today as improvisation.  When he got older he did receive his formal training and we talked about it.  He said, “I went to Indiana University and they didn’t have saxophone but they put me on the woodwind degree. So, I had to take lessons in oboe the flute, the basson, clarinet, and I don’t think I took saxophone lessons from anyone but the second year a guy was getting his graduate degree and they let him give me lessons. I played the first jazz recital at Indiana University which was a big deal back then 1960/61.” He talked about the audience giving his a standing ovation for that performance.   

Aebersold was very humble, knowledgeable, and full wisdom that we could of literally stayed with him all day and still would not of been able to cover everything he’s accomplished.  He  Performing in the all over the world and receiving so many accolades along the way.  From receiving the National Endowment for the Arts which is the highest honor given to jazz musicians in the U.S. to receiving the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award by Mitch Daniels. He had a table full of awards, even a letter from the White House from President Barack Obama.   

I wanted to know if he thought jazz was a lost art. He responded quickly by saying “No, no, no. I tell you why. When people play jazz they use their imagination. They are very creative and its coming from here to the fingers and that’s not going to stop.”

He says anyone can improvise. He says, “Too many don’t even try because they feel like they are not good enough”. 

I wanted to know what would be his legacy.  He says there’s to much to do now to worry about the future.  There’s still so much to do now.  He gave some good advice that he hopes more people would apply to their life and that was to be nice to people. 

To learn more about Jamey Aebersold and his Jazz Play-A-Longs, go to jazzbooks.com.  you may even see him a classroom if you attend Bellarmine, I-U, or U of L.     

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the television version of the story. Click the link provided: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/jamey-aebersold-new-albany-jazz-muscian-beallarmine-uofl-indiana-university-teacher-music/417-c14b168b-979e-430c-b9e6-198f5d81fe57

The VIPP Report: Third Annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Project

Remembering Music Icon and Louisville born Lionel Hampton with a concert benefiting Lincoln Foundation’s Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®

Lincoln Foundation

(Louisville, KY) On Friday, August 23rd at the Kentucky Country Day, (KCD) Lincoln Foundation, in partnership with Dick Sisto, Ken Clay, and Owsley Brown III, presents the 3rd annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Project.  Talented local artists will perform in honor of jazz great Lionel Hampton.  The evening starts with a pre-concert reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the concert at 7:00 p.m.

Proceeds from the event benefit Lincoln Foundation’s signature Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®.  The purpose of the college prep program is to empower deserving youth to achieve successful graduation from high school and college.  Scholars have earned over 440 post secondary degrees since 2000.  The mission of Lincoln Foundation is to provide educational enrichment programs that develop and support youth in overcoming barriers to achievement.

The Lionel Hampton Jazz Project recognizes the contributions of Hampton and the influence he still holds in the entertainment industry. Hampton was born on April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky.  When his name is mentioned, fans and fellow musicians reference Hampton as an innovator, vibraphonist, showman and a major contributor to the world of jazz.  The Jamey Aebersold Quartet featuring Gabe Evens (piano), Tyrone Wheeler (bass) and Jonathan Higgins (drums) will open the evening.  Dick Sisto’s Vibraganic Trio featuring Kendall Carter (organ), Mike Hyman (drums) and Marlin McKay (flugelhorn) will round out the performances in tribute to Hampton.  Sisto serves as the artistic and musical director for the event.

During the course of the evening, Lincoln Foundation will also present the prestigious Spirit of Excellence Award. The award is given annually to individual(s) who exemplifies an active commitment to education, human/community service, and leadership.  The 2019 recipient is Dr. F. Bruce Williams of Bates Memorial Baptist Church.  The pastor, of one of the largest congregations in the city, works tirelessly in the church and community as a great humanitarian.  Past recipients include Steve and Amy Trager, Christina Lee Brown, Laura Douglas, Ed Hamilton, Mary Gwen Wheeler, Mayor Greg Fischer, Robert & Deborah Blair and Lonnie & the late Muhammad Ali.

Tickets for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Project are $65 and can be purchased through www.louisvilletickets.com.

For additional information, please contact Paula Campbell at 502.585.4733 ext. 203 or Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.  Visit our website at www.lincolnfdn.org.

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