CULE Festivals and Guest Artist History: 1992-2000 (Dr. Karlton E. Hester, Director)


- ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES: Phil Bowler, Donald Byrd, Cecilia Smith, Cecil Taylor, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Turrentine
- PROGRAM NOTES: Fall 1994

3rd Annual Cornell University "Jazz" Festival 

(April 27 - May 1, 1994)

1994 CU "Jazz" Festival Poster (spring) | 1994 CULE Fall Concert Poster

April 27
- Guest Lecture: Trumpeter / scholar Dr. Donald Byrd (Director of Jazz Studies, Queens College, CUNY)
"A Holistic Approach to Black Music"
12PM - 2PM - Africana Studies & Research Ctr., Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.

April 29
- Combo Workshop: Dr. Donald Byrd
2:30 - 4:30PM - Lincoln Hall, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.
- Concert: Special Guest Artist Dr. Donald Byrd performs with the Cornell University Lab Ensembles.
Dr. Karlton E. Hester, director.
8:15PM - Statler Auditorium, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.

April 30
- Improvisation Workshop: Trumpeter Charles Tolliver, vibraphonist Cecilia Smith and bassist Phil Bowler.
1:30 - 3:30PM - Barnes Hall, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.

May 1
- Joint Concert: Charles Tolliver Quartet and Hesterian Musicism quartet **
8:15PM - Barnes Hall, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.

Fall Concert

November 11
- Concert: Pianist / composer Cecil Taylor performs with the Cornell University Lab Ensembles.
Dr. Karlton E. Hester, director.
8:15PM - Statler Auditorium, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.

CULE co-sponsors...

November 18
- Concert: Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine
8PM - Statler Auditorium, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.


Phil Bowler

Phil Bowler's unique approach to the double bass is firmly rooted in the history and tradition of both African American and European art musics. His recording credits include releases with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Karlton Hester, Ralph Peterson, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison. He has toured with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Wynton Marsalis, Max Roach, Slide Hampton, Horace Silver, Roy Haynes, and various others. He is currently leading his own quartet Pocket Jungle and working with renowned saxophonist Jackie Mclean. Phil also hosts "Jazz Adventures", a music and interview radio show on WPKN-FM in Bridgeport, which was selected by VARIETY magazine as 1989's best jazz program and Phil as the best radio personality.

Donald Byrd

BYRD, Donald. trumpet. B. Detroit, Mich., 1932. One of the most polished of the new Detroiters, a trumpeter of large skills and originality. Byrd has been a major influence on "jazz" music for nearly half a century. He made a significant contribution to the hard bop style of the late 1950s and 60s during his days at Blue Note. His album Black Byrd was one of Byrdís most widely sold recording. His work with "jazz" fusion of the 1970s demonstrated both his flexibility and his interest in keeping his music accessible to the African-American community. In the 1990s he has released albums like Getting Down To Business that confirm his roots in mainstream tradition while also touring and recording with Guru to inspire the younger generation of artists who have been forgotten by a large portion of our society.

Dr. Byrd is also an active scholar who recently gave wonderful lectures while visiting Cornell as a guest artist with our Lab Ensembles. He started "jazz" programs at a number of universities including Rutgers, Howard, Oberlin, and North Carolina. He is involved with video projects with BET, writing articles, and continues to experiment with a multiplicity of artistic elements. He is currently completing a book about African music. Not least of all, he is now manufacturing his own trumpet.

(Source - Hester, Karlton E.: From Africa to Afrocentric Innovations Some Call "Jazz" - Vol. 4. Ithaca, NY: Hesteria Records & Publishing Co., 2000)

Cecilia Smith

Born in Cincinnati and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Cecilia Smith began her musical odyssey at age eight when she began piano lessons.  By age twelve, she had added drums to her repertoire and by age fourteen, she was on to mallet percussion. In her early teens, Ceciliaís studied with graduate students at the Cleveland Music Institute in music theory and she soon knew music would be her lifeís quest.

Upon graduating from high school, Cecilia attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While at Berklee, her pursuit of knowledge only increased as she studied a wide range of subjects including composing, arranging, film scoring and her instrument of choice, the vibraphone. These components and a wide range of professional experience have enhanced her expertise in a variety of musical styles.  Smith earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Professional Music from Berklee and continued there in a teaching capacity for four years before moving to New York City.

As a professional composer and recording artist, Cecilia Smith has been granted a number of commissions and grants for her composing abilities.  She is currently one of the leading vibraphonist of the Four-Mallet Technique, in the United States. Smith is also the first woman to release material on vibraphone on a national and international level.  She has performed in concert halls, nightclubs and festivals throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia and frequently has been highlighted as a performer on national radio and television broadcasts.

" . . . A young player who knows the instruments giants. Bright and driving like Hutcherson; Hymn like dignity like Jackson; and an air like bounce like Burton."

". . . An inventive Composer that possesses a knack for Mood and Texture."

Cecil Taylor

TAYLOR, Cecil Percival, piano, composer; b. Long Island City, NY, 15 March 1933 Taylor performed with Hot Lips Page, and Johnny Hodges before forming his own quartet in 1953. Landed an important gig at the Five Spot Cafe in 1956 at and appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. Influenced by classical European-American music, he has an intensely textural and percussive playing style. He exhibits high energy levels and jagged layers of contrapuntal sound. First earliest recordings included bassist Buell Neidlinger, drummer Dennis Charles, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. Taylor also worked with Andrew Cyrille, Sam Rivers, Henry Grimes, Bill Dixon, Eddie Gale, Sirone, and Alan Silva. His quartet of the Ď50ís announced the piano as an avant-garde herald. He has performed with Max Roach, Mary Lou Williams, Steve Lacy, Ted Curson, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, John Coltrane, and Roswell Rudd. After forming a trio with Jimmy Lyons and Sonny Murray he performed and recorded with the Cecil Taylor Unit.

(Source - Hester, Karlton E.: From Africa to Afrocentric Innovations Some Call "Jazz" - Vol. 4. Ithaca, NY: Hesteria Records & Publishing Co., 2000)

Charles Tolliver

[Photo: Charles Tolliver at Cornell University, 1994]

Charles Tolliver's musical path began when Lela, his grandmother, gave the eight year old boy a cornet and inspired him to learn. Since that time, he has become a remarkable trumpetist, bandleader, composer, arranger and educator. His professional musicianship began after a few years of studying pharmacy at Howard University while at the same time pursuing his path in music on an entirely self-taught basis.

Charles started playing with saxophonist Jackie McLean, and made his debut album with him in 1964. He has since performed with such acclaimed artists such as Roy Haynes, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Booker Ervin, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Oliver Nelson, Roy Ayers, Art Blakey and the JAzz Messengers,  and Max Roach. His quartet Music Inc.(link?) has toured in North and South America, Europe, Scandinavia and Japan and become internationally renowned through performing at festivals, concerts, radio and television stations. Critics note Tolliver for his fine sense of tradition and swing, as well as his innovative approach and individual sound. His playing projects melodic fluidity, warmth and flexibility. Compositionally he is remarked for his inventiveness and skillful writing ability. Albums under his name include "Music Inc. and Big Band" (Strata-East CD9010), "Impact" (Strata-East CD9001), "Compassion" (Strata-East CD9011), "Live at Historic Slugs Vol.1 & Vol.2" (Strata East CD 9016) and "The Ringer" (Black Lion CD760174) amongst many others under his name as well as with other renowned artists.

"Tolliver's horn style is possessed of a melodic warmth and compactness of expression shared by few other trumpeters"
Ray Townley / DOWNBEAT

"The trumpet is a brass instrument that leans toward hard sound and staccato phrasing. Yet Tolliver is the quintessence of fluidity.... a trumpeter of such flow, tone, control, lyrisicm and creativity is, by definition, a major musician."
Micheal Cuscuna

"Charles Tolliver - I like him"
Dizzy Gillespie (when asked by DOWNBEAT which of today's trumpet players he likes.)

Stanley Turrentine

TURRENTINE, Stanley. B. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1934. Played with Lowell Fulsomís blues band, Tadd Dameronís orchestra, and spent three years in the 158th Army All-Star Band. Toured with Max Roach (which included his brother Thomas, Jr.), and recorded with Jimmy Smith and Shirley Scott. He has led and recorded frequently as a leader.

(Source - Hester, Karlton E.: From Africa to Afrocentric Innovations Some Call "Jazz" - Vol. 4. Ithaca, NY: Hesteria Records & Publishing Co., 2000)

Program Notes:

Fall 1994

The Cornell University Jazz Ensembles are a student run organization composed of almost entirely non-music majors.  Under the direction of  Dr.  Karlton Hester, we rehearse once a week on Wednesday nights.  Membership in any of the two groups is open to the Cornell and Ithaca community and counts as a one credit course in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The CUJE is dedicated to providing the Cornell and Ithaca communities with live music from the African American tradition and beyond by hosting at least one internationally renown artist annually on either our Fall or Spring concert.  These performances have featured guests such as Barry Harris, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Jaki Byard, Joe Henderson, and most recently Donald Byrd.   This year we are able to host guest artists for both concerts--pianist Cecil Taylor earlier this fall, Cecilia Smith for tonight's performance, and Toshiko Akiyoshi and Pamela Wise in the Spring.  Thanks to the Cornell Concert Commission, Mr. Taylor has spent the day sharing his insight and wisdom with us in demonstrations, lectures and rehearsals.  We are extremely grateful for his presence today.  Tomorrow  night at 8:15 pm, Dr. Hester will share his own insight with the help of students, poets and dancers at the Unitarian Church.  Dr. Hester's Hesterian Musicism will perform at Barnes Hall Sunday night at 8:15 pm.  In addition to our concerts each semester, the CUJE periodically play in both big band and small group form at sorority/fraternity, alumni, and trustee functions around the Ithaca area.  You can also see us Sunday afternoons at the Johnson Art Museum.

 Dr. Karlton Hester is a highly accomplished saxophonist and flautist, an experienced educator, and a composer on the cutting edge of African American music.  He performs regularly on campus with his own groups which often include talent such as bassist Phil Bowler and Cecilia Smith.  This year aside from his directorial responsibilities, Dr. Hester is teaching an Introduction to Improvisational Theory course in the Fall and will be teaching a course on African American Innovators in the Spring.

 Finally, this concert and the CUJE's numerous other activities would not be possible without the financial support of the S.F.A.C., the Kenneth J. Bissett Memorial Fund, the Richard H. Trommer Memorial Endowment and The Appel Endowment for the Cornell Jazz Ensembles.  We are deeply indebted to them for their support.  We would also like to express our strong appreciation to Bill Johnson for coordinating our alumni affairs, to Siegrid Peterson for helping with publicity, and, especially, to Jane Belonsoff for making sure all our information and records are kept straight.  Thank You!

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Compiled: September 2001
Last Update: 08/22/2002

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