Walter Blanding, of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, wears a Cannon School shirt during rehearsal. (Courtesy of Cannon School)
CONCORD – Students who play in Cannon School’s Jazz Combo and Big Band soaked in a master class Oct. 7 led by jazz greats Walter Blanding, Greg Gisbert, Victor Goines and Dan Nimmer.
As members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the musicians were visiting Charlotte as part of the 2014 Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival, where Cannon’s Jazz Combo also performed.
For 90 minutes onstage in the Cannon Performing Arts Center, the musicians and students played together and talked about music, education and life.
“Education and the arts are essential,” Blanding reminded students. “They help us understand how to communicate with each other and how to become better people.”
Cannon senior drummer Anthony Perrino said it was amazing to share the stage with some of the world’s finest musicians.
“The whole experience opened up my eyes to the power of music as a language,” Perrino said. “The emotion put into every note by Mr. Blanding and Mr. Gisbert was quite inspiring due to the message they conveyed through articulation and volume. I learned that music is not just beautiful melodies and cool beats, but rather a conversation that has no ending.”
Later that evening, the students went to Uptown Charlotte to watch the musicians rehearse and perform at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. In addition to watching 15 of jazz music’s leading soloists under the direction of Wynton Marsalis, one of the highlights was seeing Blanding wearing his Cannon School T-shirt at rehearsal.
“Spending time with these masters, you immediately feel the seriousness and integrity with which they approach their craft,” said Brad Davis, Cannon’s director of jazz and piano lab. “In short order, you’re inspired. I hope our kids remember this experience for a long time. I know I will.”
Original Article in The Herald Weekly