On April 17, 2024

It’s time again for the 8th annual solo jazz piano festival

Friday, April 19-Saturday April 20—For music lovers  interested in the lyrical and technical aspects of jazz and  improvised music, six brilliant pianists perform and discuss their  musical passions and the development of their personal styles. The Vermont Jazz Center  (VJC ), 72 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro, invites music lovers  to  participate in a festival that showcases artists who have invested their lives in the pursuit of  creativity using the piano as their medium.

Headliner artists will each offer a 50-minute solo piano set and a masterclass, open to pianists and music lovers alike. Each emerging artist will offer a 25-minute set. All pianists will participate in a Q and A panel session where questions will be accepted from the audience.

The artists  headlining this year’s festival are Hey Rim Jeon, Aaron Parks, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Jacky  Terrasson; emerging artists are Yujin Han and Mathew Mueller.  On the evenings of April 19 and 20, starting at 7:30 p.m., two headlining pianists will present  back-to-back solo sets. April 19 will include performances by Hey Rim Jeon and Aaron Parks,  and on April 20 we will hear Alfredo Rodriguez and Jacky Terrasson.  Saturday, April 20 is a full day of educational and concert programming. The day begins at 10 a.m. with a sequence of workshops led by all four of the headlining musicians. These  presentations are designed to be accessible to all music lovers, not just pianists. Saturday will  also include short sets from the two emerging artists as well as a round-table discussion with all  six artists, moderated by VJC Director Eugene Uman.

The Solo Jazz Piano Festival, now in its eighth year, is one of the cornerstones of the VJC’s  programming. The festival has presented some of the world’s top pianists and most important  musical innovators of this generation, including NEA jazz masters Toshiko Akiyoshi and Joanne  Brackeen, acknowledged luminaries Stanley Cowell, Benny Green, Sullivan Fortner, Kenny  Werner, and many others. The Solo Jazz Piano Festival continues to be a unique opportunity for  audiences to communicate directly with the artists as they share their spiritual and historical  sources of inspiration, and offer tips on their methods of learning, teaching and practice routines. 

Each of this year’s headliners is highly regarded by jazz lovers around the world. They are all  virtuosic in their abilities and have released numerous celebrated recordings as leaders and side  people. But what sets this group of four apart is how each artist conveys a completely distinct  approach to the instrument, demonstrating an instantly recognizable stylistic, rhythmic, and  harmonic palette. It is this diversity, combined with the artists’ rich depth of knowledge and  ability to connect with the audiences, that will assure a fascinating show.

The artists

Hey Rim Jeon’s style is characterized by rhythmical precision, graceful melodic lines and adroit  technical facility. Ms. Jeon also embraces long-form improvisation. She teaches courses in piano  technique and the solo improvisations of Keith Jarrett at Berklee College of Music; the depth of  her ability in both of these skill sets shines through in her solo performing.

Aaron Parks’ creations are reflections of his search for beauty. Whether they’re original  compositions or swinging standards, his approach is all about heart. He conveys emotion without  being saccharine by using expressive phrasing and captivating arrangements that encourage  spaciousness. He is also a master of timekeeping (he speaks of developing one’s own “inner  drummer” by feeling rhythm in his body and playing games with a metronome), and of creating  reharmonized renditions of tunes from the Great American Songbook on the fly.

Courtesy aaronparks.com
Aaron Parks will perform at the 8 th annual solo jazz piano festival this Friday, April 19. His  music showcases his expressive phrasing and captivating arrangements while also mastering timekeeping and reharmonizing tunes from the Great American Songbook.

Alfredo Rodriguez brings a vast knowledge of the Latin American piano tradition, replete with  the virtuosic ability necessary to convey that style. His Cuban roots saturate his sound, which is  also strongly influenced by classical music. Rodriguez began studying classical music seriously  at the age of seven years and realized at the age of twelve that playing the piano would be his  lifelong endeavor. He feels that the “message of music is about expressing unity and about being  together, knowing where we are coming from, and trying to help each other.”

Jacky Terrasson is yet another virtuosic player. A major presence in the vibrant New York jazz  scene during the early 1990s, he chose to reside in his native France, where his star continues to  rise. Terrasson plays in the tradition, and he loves to swing hard with lots of dynamic emphasis,  emulating players like Ahmad Jamal. He also has a knack for folding unexpected pop tunes (like  those of Michael Jackson) into a jazz set.

Jacky Terrasson

The VJC’s Solo Jazz Piano Festival is a tribute to Mike McKenzie who, for the last 27 years has  provided artists performing at the VJC with the finest pianos possible, including the beautiful  Steinway D Concert Grand upon which this festival was founded.


Friday, April 19-Headliner concert

• 7:30 p.m. – Hey Rim Jeon performance (50-minute set) 

• 8:30  p.m. – Aaron Parks performance (50-minute set) 

Saturday, April 20, 2024  Workshops 

• 10:00 a.m. – Hey Rim Jeon – Embodying Your Inner-ensemble in Solo Piano Jazz

• 11:00 a.m. – Aaron Parks – Awakening the Music Within 

• 12:00  p.m. – Alfredo Rodriguez – TBD

• 1:00  p.m. – Jacky Terrasson – Questions and Answers  2 p.m.

Emerging Artist Presentations

• 3:30  p.m. –Matthew Mueller

• 4:00  p.m. – Yujin Han  panel discussion 

• 4:45  p.m. – Panel discussion with all pianists (juried questions)

Headliner Concert 

• 7:30  p.m. – Alfredo Rodriguez performance (50-minute set) 

• 8:30 p.m. – Jacky Terrasson performance (50-minute set)

In-person tickets for the Solo Jazz Piano Festival are offered on a sliding fee scale from  $85-$130 for the entire event; single concert options are also available. Visit the VJC  website at www.vtjazz.org to purchase. Contact Eugene for educational group discounts  eugene@vtjazz.org. Reservations can be made by calling Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802-  254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access for the in-person event is available by emailing  elsavjc@gmail.com.  The online streaming of this concert will be offered free of charge, but donations are welcomed  and just a click away.

Access to the on-line event  can be found online at vtjazz.org. Note: there will be no Facebook access to these concerts. 

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