Beware! What follows is a bit of biographical information disguised as a hamfisted lead to the actual column. Proceed at your own risk.
From the end of seventh grade to the beginning of twelfth, each summer revolved around band practice. I never had a summer vacation for five years. The last day of school was never ecstatic for me because I knew I'd return, within a few days, for band rehearsals three or four nights a week. The summer would culminate in a week at Camp Crescendo, a sprawl of hash-marked fields, dorm-style cabins, and creaky wooden pavilions outside Lebanon Junction some thirty miles south of Louisville. Once one of the largest training areas for bands and drum majors, it is now a retreat center for troubled youth (so apparently nothing has changed). Those summers spent with my horn in my mouth (clarinet for four years, tenor sax for the fifth) did more than just provide a way to kill the time between school years. It helped maintain my interest in music.
As I write this, on the upside of 40, not having touched my horn in almost 22 years since I packed it away the day I graduated from high school, the total of six years I spent in band are the longest time I've ever spent with an activity outside my regular work, either as a student or a professional. Close and gaining are the four years I've spent with this publication.
The point? Just because school is out is no reason for students to put down their instruments. Two opportunities are available to provide jazz education and enjoyment.
First, the annual Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops will be held at the University of Louisville School of Music. This year the school will host two weekly workshops back to back. The first will run from Sunday, July 2 through Friday, July 7, then again from Sunday, July 9 through Friday, July 14. The workshops combine instruction from top local, regional, and national performers with classes on theory, nightly jam sessions, and the faculty concerts on Wednesday night at Masterson's. This year, Aebersold is offering a two-day "Anyone Can Improvise" seminar prior to the weeklong camp. It begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday July 1 and finishes the following Sunday afternoon.
This year's faculty includes Jamey Aebersold, Eric Alexander, Mike Tracy, Bobby Shew, Pat Harbison, Rick Simerly, David Baker, Lida Baker, Phil DeGreg, Harry Pickens, Todd Hildreth, Hank Marr, J. S. Henderson, Rufus Reid, Sonny Stevens and many more.
The camp's materials state that it is for adults and mature student performers only. You can find out more at www.jazzbooks.com/workshops. If you have specific questions and you need to hear a live human voice, call Aebersold Jazz at 812-944-8141 and ask for Glenn.
Your second educational opportunity – if you a) are a guitarist and b) have an Internet connection – is to check out Jeff Sherman's daily guitar tips on Emazing.com – Sony Entertainment's website of hints, facts, trivia, and lots of other stuff – based here in Louisville. Since early May, the Bellarmine College jazz guitar instructor has been providing nuggets of guitar advice, from the basic (learning to solo) to the technical (sympathetic string vibrations). Get your daily dose of guitar at www.Emazing.com. Once there, click the "Guitar" link in the Hobbies section.
Want to be part of a TV show audience? Join us at the Comedy Caravan on Sunday, June 11 for the next taping of "Mid City Mix," LMN's weekly cable show. The guitar-and-voice duo Walker and Kays will be the second act to perform. They should hit the stage between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m. Come hear them play selections from their recent release Only Voice, Only Guitar, Only Love. Admission is free. If you want to come for the entire taping session, doors open at 2 p.m.
Next month, Summer jazz festivals at the Water Tower and Central Park. See you back here in 30.
"Jazzin'" columnist Tim Roberts is glad school's out for him. He invites you to send your jazz-related dispatches to email@example.com, or to his attention to the editorial offices of Louisville Music News.