featuring the Harvard Jazz Bands with guest artist Joshua Redman ‘91 and guest conductor Don Braden ‘85
Tom Everett, who retired on February 15 this year after serving Harvard University as Director of Bands for over four decades, was the guest of honor at this concert at Sanders Theatre on Saturday, April 13 at 8 pm featuring the Harvard Jazz Bands and two of Everett’s most notable protégés, saxophonist/composers Joshua Redman ‘91 and Don Braden ‘85. Also featured were Aaron Goldberg '96, piano; Ron Mahdi, bass; and Yoron Israel, drums.
“Play It Forward: Celebrating Tom Everett” included music selections representing Tom Everett’s association with the Harvard Jazz Bands, which he founded soon after his appointment to Harvard in 1971. Under the co-auspices of the Office for the Arts, Everett developed a concept of retrospective concerts with the Jazz Bands that reflect a nuanced overview of leading artists’careers, a relatively new approach to honoring and documenting their contributions to American music.
Joshua Redman is one of the most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the 1990s. Soon after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with an AB in Social Studies from Harvard in 1991, he was named recipient of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. He was quickly signed by Warner Bros. Records and issued his first, self-titled album in the spring of 1993, which subsequently earned him his first Grammy nomination. Many recordings have followed, including “Spirit of the Moment/Live at the Village Vanguard,” “Freedom in the Groove” and “Timeless Tales (for Changing Times),” all of which established Redman as one of jazz’s most consistent and successful bandleaders. From 2000-2007, Redman was Artistic Director of the non-profit jazz-presenting organization SFJAZZ, and in 2004, with Executive Director Randall Kline, he created the ensemble SFJAZZ Collective. In 2009 Redman began performing with a new collaborative band called James Farm featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. Redman has been nominated for two Grammys and has garnered top honors in critics and readers polls of “DownBeat,” “Jazz Times,” “The Village Voice” and “Rolling Stone.” In 2008 he received the Harvard Arts Medal, which honors a distinguished Harvard or Radcliffe graduate or faculty member who has achieved excellence in the arts and has made a contribution through the arts to education or the public good.
Don Braden is a musician of the highest caliber—“brilliant and assured,” according to Peter Watrous of “The New York Times.” For many years he has toured the world leading his own ensembles, as a special guest, and as a sideman with greats such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others. Braden has composed music for everything from duo to full symphonic orchestra, in many styles, for recordings, film and television, and worked several years as a composer for Bill Cosby. He was a member of the Freddie Hubbard Quintet from 1989 to 1991, then the Tom Harrell groups from 1993 through 1997. Since then he has worked with the Mingus Big Band, Kenny Barron, J. J. Johnson, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and others, as well as with his own groups. Braden has released 16 CDs as a leader or co-leader, starting with “The Time is Now” in 1991; his most recent “Big Fun(k) Live,” was co-led with acclaimed drummer Karl Latham. He is the recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation Jazz composition grant in conjunction with Chamber Music America, and is a world renowned educator, having spent nearly two decades giving master classes at countless schools and universities. He was recently appointed Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Montclair State University, and for over 14 years he has served as Music Director of the renowned Litchfield Jazz Camp and the Music Director of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Well’s Fargo Jazz for Teens program. He is also a visiting professor in the “New York Comes to Groningen” program at the Prins Claus Conservatoire, in Groningen, Netherlands. In 2012 he was appointed guest conductor of the Harvard Monday Jazz Band.
(More Harvard jazz history)