Jazz at Lincoln Center hosted its first jazz summer camp this year, which took place for two weeks in July at the estate of the world-renowned musician and conductor, the late Lorin Maazel. It was a life changing experience for both students and faculty. I wish the Maestro could have been there to share this camp with us, the first jazz education program to take place at the estate, which normally focuses on classical forms.
I’ve never had roommates before, but living with eight other people - sharing a bathroom and kitchen - reminded me that I never went to college (and never had roommates). It was everything I imagined living in a frat house might be, except that I’m over fifty. Maybe that’s why it actually went so well: all the inhabitants were experienced, respectful and clean. And could cook.
Of course, I can’t speak for the residences that housed the forty-two students who were in attendance for this very intense fourteen days that included workshops, classes, private lessons and performances. The focus of the camp was more about playing in ensembles and preparing for live performances, rather than say, advance theory and improvisation, or composing and arranging.
It was life changing for me because I learned and gained so much from the experience of mentoring the young musicians, whose ages ranged from fourteen to eighteen. Seeing these young, eager minds and souls assimilate in a very short time a pile of new information and turn it into very high level performances was nothing short of inspiring.