A week of jazz with very special guests

March 8, 2016

2016 has already been an amazing year for Interlochen alumnus Marshall Gilkes (IAA 96). Earlier this year, his album Koln (with the WDR Big Band) was nominated for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and his composition Vesper was nominated for the Best Instrumental Composition in the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. This tremendous honor for the talented trombonist only underscores a career filled with prestige and excellence. Since graduating from The Juilliard School, Gilkes has gone on to release four albums and has performed and recorded with jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Christian McBride Big Band.

Earlier this month, Gilkes took a break from his current gig as a faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA to return to Interlochen for a week of masterclasses and performances with Bill Sears and his jazz students.

Gilkes was joined during this jazz intensive by fellow acclaimed musicians: trumpeter Etienne Charles, jazz pianist Xavier Davis, guitar player Bobby Ferrazza, jazz drummer Sean Dobbins, and bassist Marion Hayden. Though these great artists were here to teach it was also an opportunity for them to see hear firsthand the future artists of the jazz world. It wasn’t that long ago that Gilkes himself was on the stage as an Interlochen student.

Fast forward to 2016, and Gilkes and his fellow accomplished guest musicians spent the week leading students through a series of exercises, techniques and tricks to improve their mastery of their instrument and further their understanding of jazz.

On the evening of Friday, March 4 the Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble took the stage with these very special guest artists for a high energy performance that included works by Andy Razaf & Leon “Chu” Berry, Wes Montgomery, Benny Carter, and the man himself—Marshall Gilkes.

The following nights, students packed the audience for a Jazz Faculty recital with saxophonist Bill Sears and the prolific guest artists. After a set of works by the artists on stage the night culminated with a performance of Tadd Dameron’s jazz standard On a Misty Night.

As the week drew to a close students and special guests parted ways, but the reciprocal benefit of each other's presence is sure to linger for many years to come.