2016 Berklee Honorary Doctorate: The Isley Brothers

“Shout,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Summer Breeze,” “Harvest for the World” are just some of the many great hits this group of brothers from Lincoln Heights, a suburb outside of Cincinnati, Ohio made famous. The group started as a trio with O’Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley, and Ronald Isley. The group had a long and very [...]

Building a Career Beyond Just Playing Your Instrument (part 2)

What was one of the most important lessons you learned from Berklee? “It wasn’t anything music specifically but it was the work ethic. Being here at Berklee and seeing the standard and the quality of the other students calibrated my work ethic and it taught me that there were kids two years younger than me [...]

Building a Career Beyond Just Playing Your Instrument, part 1

In the beginning of October, Berklee held its annual Zildjian Artist in Residence series, this year with the legendary drummer Dennis Chambers. On the last day of Chambers’ visit, an all-star concert was held at the Berklee Performance Center featuring Mike Stern on guitar, Bob Franceschini on tenor saxophone, and Janek Gwizdala on bass. I [...]

Kris Funn here with Matthew Stevens at a Christian Scott concert

The Soulful Baltimore Sound part 2

How did the gigs with Kenny Garrett, Christian Scott and Warren Wolf come along? “Well Warren and I pretty much grew up with and with Kenny I just knew his drummer John Lamkin who also was from Baltimore. Christian came through Washington DC and often because of the state or the economy they can’t afford [...]

The Soulful Baltimore Sound, part 1

Kris Funn was in town recently to play with Christian Scott who he has played and toured with for quite a few years. In his early days he studied computer science at Howard University, later touring with jazz greats Kenny Garrett, Christian Scott, and Warren Wolf. Tell me about yourself. “I am 35 years of [...]

Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival 2015

Beantown Jazz Festival 2015, also known as “Boston’s Biggest Block Party,” took place on Saturday September 26th. The theme this year was Jazz: The Voice of the People. The festival offered a wide variety of different kinds of music ranging from Beantown Festival musical director Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project to the legendary saxophonist George [...]

The Father of Drum Sticks

“Listening to teachers and young drummers they are obsessed with playing loud and fast and I hear nothing said about sound” – Vic Firth Everett Joseph “Vic” Firth was one of the most respected people in the drum industry. He was close to many of the world’s greatest drummers such as Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, [...]

Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther" is one of our top jazz-inspired film scores.

Top 10 Jazz-Inspired Film Scores

As finals come to an end, and students everywhere have a chance to relax, we take a look at some great jazz-inspired film scores for you to relax with this summer: 10). Laura (David Raskin, 1964): The jazz standard “Laura” was written for this film by jazz-inspired composer David Raskin. The soundtrack for this film [...]

Orrin Keepnews

Remembering Orrin Keepnews

Orrin Keepnews never wrote a jazz standard. He never led a band. He was never a sideman on an influential recording. And yet, Orrin Keepnews was one of the most important figures in jazz, founding multiple record labels, bringing many of the all-time greats into the spotlight, and producing a seemingly infinite quantity of classic [...]

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. [...]

          February 10, 2018