Jan Term 2010 – New York and New Orleans
In Sao Paolo, the largest city in South America, with a population of 17 million, the ensemble performed at the Unified Education Center with guest artist Ed Fogasa, a Brazilian tenor saxophonist. The CEU is a community center located in the heart of a low-income region of the city. Hundreds of children, along with their parents and family members, made their way from the center's outdoor swimming pool to the auditorium to take in the ensemble's performance of modern American big-band jazz.
"For many, this was the first time they had ever heard an American jazz band in person," Keberle says.
From Sao Paulo the ensemble traveled to Salvador, where it performed as the opening group in the 14th annual Festival of Instrumental Music in Bahia, held in the Castro Alves Theatre. The modern, 1,500-seat theatre is home to the Salvador Symphony Orchestra and host to other prominent musical groups.
The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble performed Keberle's arrangements of Thelonius Monk's I Mean You, featuring Edstrom on the piano, Kenny Garrett's Doc Tones Short Speech and Sing a Song of Songs, Count Basie's Cherry Point and Jumpin' at the Woodside, Duke Ellington's Caravan, the ballads Lover Man (Davis/Ramirez/Sherman) and My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers), and five other selections. The ensemble's performance was received with two standing ovations from an enthusiastic crowd of more than 1,000 people.
During the following days, Keberle and Edstrom presented lectures to Brazilian students and professional musicians. Keberle lectured on the history of American big-band jazz , and Edstrom presented a lecture and demonstration on the history of jazz piano.
In addition to performing American jazz music, Whitworth students absorbed Brazilian music and culture.
"The students had to speak Portuguese to most people," Keberle says. "They learned about Brazilian food, music, religion, history and culture as they lived in each city."
The students heard authentic samba, bossa nova and choro bands in various
jazz clubs around Sao Paolo and Salvador. They visited the Museum of Arts
of Sao Paolo, the Old Town Market of Salvador, and the Praia do Forte,
a sea-turtle refuge and scientific research center on the beach north
of Salvador. Students also attended a performance by the Folklore Ballet
of Bahia, which showcased folk music of Brazilian natives and African
The band traveled to Italy in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2014, performing at jazz clubs and community centers in Rome and in the surrounding area. They have performed several times with Italian jazz superstars such as Enrico Pieranunzi, Roberto Gatto, and Maurizio Giammarco at Rome's blues and jazz club "Big Mama's," as well as in communities such as Veroli, Artena, and Ferentino, and in several of Rome's schools and churches. While in Rome (most of these trips take place during Whitworth's Jan Term), students spend their daytime hours seeing incredible art, architecture, and historical sites such as the Colosseum, The Vatican, the basilicas of St. Peter, St. Giovanni and St. Peter in Chains, the Roman Forum, the catacombs, the Appian Way, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Rome Opera House, numerous jazz clubs, the Mediterranean Sea, the Church of the Cuppacine Monks ("the bone church"), and numerous other wonderful sites. All of the concerts were extremely well attended and much appreciated; Italians are very hip to jazz music, and they love to come and hear American jazz players!
In addition to the overseas trips, the group has also been featured at the Nelson Jazz Festival (in Canada) and has toured San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Pacific Northwest.