Master Class: A Conversation with NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews hosted by Andrew Gilbert; Wed. May 30

Master Class Series: Adventures in Jazz Education
A Conversation with NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews hosted by Andrew Gilbert
Wednesday, May 30 7:00 PM – FREE EVENT!
Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Orrin Keepnews is arguably one of the most well-known, and prolific, record producers in jazz. In this Kuumbwa Master Class, moderated by Bay Area music writer Andrew Gilbert, Keepnews will discuss his associations with many iconic musicians, including piano titans Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, as well as alto sax legend Cannonball Adderley. His Riverside Records label continues to live on through re-issues of classic sessions. Currently, he is the curator of the Fantasy archives now owned by Concord Records.

Orrin Keepnews was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1923. After graduation from Columbia University, and serving in the armed forces during WWII, he became editor of The Record Changer magazine, founded by his college pal Bill Grauer, in 1948. Four years later, Keepnews and Grauer started Riverside Records, ostensibly to focus on producing reissues of old jazz and blues recordings. However, by 1954, they had broadened their musical mission and signed their first modern jazz artist, pianist/composer Randy Weston. From there, they continued to build an impressive list of promising new artists, eventually landing Thelonious Monk for a series of now historic recordings.

For over a decade, until Grauer’s death in 1963, Riverside was a major player in the jazz world. Undaunted, Keepnews started the Milestone label in 1966 with Dick Katz. Milestone eventually became home to jazz luminaries Joe Henderson, Lee Konitz, and McCoy Tyner. In 1972, Orrin accepted a position at Fantasy Records, in San Francisco. Fantasy had purchased the Riverside catalog, and Keepnews found himself coming full circle. Once again he was producing reissues, except it was reissues of his previous Riverside sessions. By the 1980s, Orrin independently produced recording projects before starting Landmark Records. In 1988, his book, The View from Within: Jazz Writings, 1948-87, a compilation of his essays and commentaries on music, and the music business, was published.  He sold Landmark in 1993, but has stayed active in the recording industry, doing what he has always done, getting great music reissued for the world to hear.

Orrin Keepnews has been awarded four Grammy Awards over the years:  Best Album Notes for Bill Evans’ The Interplay Sessions (1983); Best Album Notes and Best Historical Album for Thelonious Monk’s The Complete Riverside Recordings (1987); and Best Historical Album for The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition/The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1927-1973) (1999). He was given the NARAS Trustees Award for Lifetime Achievement, in 2004. And, in 2011, Keepnews received the prestigious A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy.

Master Classes are offered at no cost to the public thanks to generous funding from Newman’s Own Foundation.

High resolution photo:

Master Class: A Conversation with NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews

DATE: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM; No reservations required
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Melody Korkos

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