About the Swing: Great Jazz music live.
We are about the Swing. Listen!

...and when you hear the music, you will be too.


Event details:

Harriet Tubman Learning Center C.S. 154M 2011
Thu., May 12, 2011 – 3:30 PM
Harriet Tubman Learning Center C.S. 154M
250 West 127th Street, New York, NY 10027
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What exactly is swing?  The response may vary depending on who you ask.  Swing was not only a type of music but a movement of the American People.  The “Swing Era” was characterized by many different sentiments and factors such as relief from World War I, a lack of popular and exciting dance music, and also a lack of television and radio meant that the music was to be spread by word of mouth.

Artists and musicians have always had a way of understanding sentiments of the people and an ability to create useful outlets for dealing with their problems.  When musicians recognized that the American people were looking for something new they began composing powerful dance music for big bands of more than 20 people.  The noise and the energy of the music practically forced audiences to get onto their feet and dance away the night.  Americans looking for the newest thing to do heard about swing dances from their friends and came out in numbers to dance.  People found refuge in what became America’s popular dance music –Swing!

Many musicians aided in bring the sounds of swing to the forefront including Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and perhaps the most famous American composer of all time Duke Ellington.  Equally as important to the actual music were the different dances concurrently created to match the rhythms and excitement of swing.  Famous dances such as the “Foxtrot”, the “Lindyhop”, and the “Charleston” became standard dances around America.  In part, due to the fact that the dances were a blend of European contra dance and African dance, swing was music for ALL people regardless of color or creed.

Things to remember about the Swing Era: The bands were huge often consisting of 25 or more people; the music was powerful and energetic dance music which sparked the birth of popular dances; up until this point the majority of Americans only danced cordially to slow music such as waltzes etc.  Imaging walking into a large auditorium in Harlem back in the late 1920’s and hearing this fast and rhythm-filled music that made people jump, twirl, stomp, and laugh for the first time –what a sight!  The excitement and fun surrounding this music is still very much alive and we hope you feel the same way today.

Lineup: Clarence Penn, Michael Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Yasushi Nakamura,  

Performer Details:

Clarence Penn — Drums

Clarence Penn

Clarence Penn ranks high among drummers who are versatile and savvy enough to play any style of music. Having played in a semi-professional capacity since the age of 15, Penn has toured, performed and recorded with a veritable who's who of musical stars, including Betty Carter, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Jacky Terrasson, Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gilespie, Dianne Reeves, Cyrus Chestnut, Stephen Scott, Steps Ahead, Mike Stern and Rachel Z. He is probably one of the most sought after drummers of his generation on the scene.

Michael Rodriguez — Trumpet

Michael Rodriguez

Jazz Trumpet Player Michael Rodriquez was born in Queens, New York on July 14, 1979.  After seeing a video of Dizzy Gilespie playing trumpet, Michael knew that was the instrument for him and continued playing guitar and trumpet at an arts high school in Miami called New World School of the Arts.  After moving back to New York, Michael took off and has played with jazz greats such as Charlie Haden, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Eric Reed, Clark Terry, Chico O’Farill Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Quincy Jones and many more!

Robert Rodriguez — piano

Robert Rodriguez

Pianist/Composer, Robert Rodriguez was born on January 11, 1978 in New York City. Inspired by his father who is a drummer, Robert began to pursue music from a very early age.  Robert studied piano and percussion at the New World School of The Arts in Miami and proceeded with a full scholarship to achieve his bachelor’s of studio music and jazz from the University of Miami. During his studies at these two institutions, Robert was given the opportunity to perform with Jerry Bergonzi, Jon Faddis, Kenny Weeler, and Maria Schneider. Living in Miami and attending the UM, he began working with Ira Sullivan and during the senior year college he began to tour with the Arturo Sandoval band. In October of 2000, Robert moved back to his hometown of New York City and began to work professionally with Ray Barretto, Roy Haynes, Charlie Haden, Ignacio Berroa, David Sanchez, Richard Bona, Dave Samuels, Joe Locke, Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Weckl.

Robert Rodriguez's website
Yasushi Nakamura — Bass

Yasushi Nakamura

Nakamura was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1982 and grew up in Seattle. His musical training began at age eleven with clarinet and tenor saxophone, and he switched to bass at age fourteen. After graduating Newport High School in 2000, Nakamura went on to study jazz at Berklee College of Music, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Performance in 2003. In 2004, he received a full scholarship to the Juilliard School, graduating with AD Program in Jazz Studies in 2006.  Yasushi has performed in many countries around the world with jazz greats such as Clarence Penn, Frank Kimbrough, Wynton Marsalis, Hank Jones, and more!

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