Thomas Kessler (third from left) accepts a second place award at the 2010 Berklee High School Jazz Festival

HSJF Interview: Thomas Kessler (Part 1)

During this year’s Berklee High School Jazz Festival, I had the opportunity to listen to a number of outstanding high school bands. Among them was the Bacon Academy Big Band, directed by Mr. Thomas Kessler. After their performance, I had a chance to sit down and talk with Mr. Kessler about his own musical background, [...]

Bacon Academy band director, Thomas Kessler (third from left) receives a second place award at the 2010 Berklee High School Jazz Festival

HSJF Interview: Thomas Kessler (Part 2)

During this year’s Berklee High School Jazz Festival, I had the opportunity to listen to a number of outstanding high school bands. Among them was the Bacon Academy Big Band, directed by Mr. Thomas Kessler. After their performance, I had a chance to sit down and talk with Mr. Kessler about his own musical background, [...]

Joey Alexander with Herbie Hancock

A Young Gentleman at the Piano

On a rainy December night, I headed to The Standard Jazz Club in Copenhagen, Denmark, co-founded and musically directed by pianist Niels Lan Doky (Berklee ’84) to see Joey Alexander, the 11-year-old pianist from Indonesia. I had arranged with his father Denny to come and see Joey play and talk to him before and after his performance. [...]

Chick Corea and Brian Blade

The Grammy goes to…

It’s awards season! During this year’s Grammys, Sam Smith was the big winner, Kanye West once again tried to interrupt a winner, and Paul McCartney could barely be heard when he was performing with Rihanna and Kanye. The positive side of the Grammys featured performances by Hozier and Annie Lennox, Sam Smith and Mary J. [...]

Thelonious-Monk-Thelonious-Monk-with-John-Coltrane-at-Carnegie-Hall

Week 34: At Carnegie Hall – Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane

An almost forgotten recording, At Carnegie Hall – Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, is a gem of a record. This album, performed on November 28, 1957, at Carnegie Hall in New York City took place after Coltrane left Miles Davis’ group because of certain disagreements with the trumpeter. From there, Coltrane reached out and joined [...]

Tia Fuller directing the Berklee Rainbow Big Band at the 2014 HSJF.

HSJF Recap: Berklee Rainbow Big Band

Every year, the Berklee High School Jazz Festival features a variety of great concerts by Berklee’s student-led bands and ensembles. For many years, the Berklee Rainbow Big Band has performed as one of the highlights of the festival. For the last couple of years, saxophonist Tia Fuller has directed this all-star ensemble of some of the best Berklee [...]

Students perform at the 2015 Berklee High School Jazz Festival on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.  Photo by Dave Green.

HSJF Recap: High School Performances

One of the great joys of being a blogger at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival is having the chance to go and listen to a number of high school bands at the festival. This year, I had the pleasure of listening to the Gray Bee Jazz Band from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School (NJ), the [...]

          February 10, 2018