Our workshop is meant to help improvisers and rhythm sections work together on the improvised portions of big band music. Most jazz festivals focus primarily on stylistic elements of big band compositions, with little time devoted to the improvised sections. We will invite 8 schools to send 3 or 4 soloists, along with your rhythm section, to work with the St. Olaf College jazz faculty on strengthening solo sections of your ensemble music for jazz festivals, contest, or just upcoming concerts. Each school will get 45 minutes with our faculty: Phil Hey, drums; Laura Caviani, piano; Kevin Clements, local freelance bass player; and jazz band director Dave Hagedorn. We will not only help your students solve their improvisational challenges, but also work with your rhythm section on their interaction with the soloists.
The schedule for the day will look like this:
- 9 a.m. workshops begin with one school every 45 minutes
- Noon lunch for directors and students
- 1 p.m. “Informance” by the clinicians (we will play and talk about what went on in the performance)
- 2 p.m. workshops resume with one school every 45 minutes
This is not a performance-based event, but an educational one. The emphasis will be on negotiating chord changes and form to make a meaningful improvised solo, which has roots in the piece the students are playing. We are aiming to work with students of all improvisational levels, from absolute beginner, to advanced. Everyone not playing is invited to watch the clinics, and if your school is not selected to participate in the actual clinic, you are welcome to come and observe.