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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 29, 2007

PHOTO: Guest artist Ray Vega; photo by Bill King

Latin Jazz concert Dec. 14 at UI will feature guest artist Ray Vega

A festival of Latin jazz music at the University of Iowa School of Music will culminate in a concert featuring high school jazz bands, UI jazz faculty and students, and guest artist Ray Vega from New York. The concert, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in Clapp Recital Hall, will be free and open to the public.

Vega, a well-known Latin-jazz trumpet player, will teach workshops in Latin-jazz performance in addition to playing on the Friday evening concert.

The daylong festival for selected Iowa high school jazz bands will include workshops and clinics by UI jazz faculty dealing with all aspects of understanding and performing Latin jazz, including style interpretation, authentic rhythm patterns, horn phrasing, improvisation and more.

James Dreier, director of the UI Latin Jazz Ensemble, organized the festival, which will take part in the concert.

Dreier said the Friday evening concert "will celebrate music that has played a critical role in the development of American and world popular music -- Latin music and Latin jazz. It will feature musicians ranging from high school age to seasoned professionals playing mambos, cha cha chas, sambas, Afro 6/8 and much more."

For the concert, the Latin Jazz Ensemble (LJE) will perform with Dreier on percussion, along with other UI faculty members John Rapson on piano, Brent Sandy on trumpet, Steve Grismore on guitar, and Paul Cunliffe on percussion. Their program will be "In Flight" by Eddie Palmieri, "Mambo Koyama" by Art Pepper, "Tanga" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Blindfold" by Brian Smith, and "Muito Normal" by Aecio Flavio.

Vega will join LJE and the UI faculty to perform several Latin jazz favorites, including his own "Home Cookin'" and Tito Puente's "Picadillo."

The concert will open with performances by invited high school jazz ensembles from City High School in Iowa City, directed by Mike Moehlman; Iowa City West High School, directed by Rich Medd; Waukee High School, directed by Wayne Page; North Scott High School, directed by Mike McMann; and Cedar Rapids Washington High School, directed by Steve Shanley. Their programs, to be announced from the stage, will represent the work they have done in the festival workshops during the day.

Vega has established himself as one of the innovators of the New York Jazz and Latin music scenes. He is a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria and Mario Bauza, to name a few. During his career he has performed and/or recorded major jazz, Latin and pop artists including with Joe Henderson, Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Paul Simon, the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

For more information, including a biography and photos, visit Vega's Web site

Dreier is a drumset, Latin percussion and jazz educator, clinician and performer. He teaches in the jazz area at the University of Iowa School of Music, where he co-leads the UI Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble and directs the Latin Jazz Ensemble. For more information see

Information on the UI jazz program, including all of the faculty members participating in the Latin Jazz Festival and concert, can be found on the Web at

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music web site at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: James Dreier, jazz studies,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),

OTHER INFORMATION: Here is the listed schedule for the workshop; please contact James Dreier to visit or photograph any of the workshop sessions:

All events on Friday, Dec. 14

9:15 to 10:20 a.m., Clapp Recital Hall: All groups meet for orientation and information session. "Intro to basics of Latin/jazz" discussion/demonstration with guest artist Ray Vega (assisted by UI Latin Jazz Ensemble).

10:30 to 11:20 a.m., Dixon Rehearsal Hall: UI Latin/jazz Ensemble clinic with Ray Vega.

10:30 a.m. to noon, Harper Hall, Clapp Recital Hall and Opera Room: All bands break into three instrumental sections (percussion, rhythm section, horns) to work with basic Latin/jazz concepts and playing techniques with UI jazz faculty:

--Percussion/Drum set (Cunliffe), Opera Room.
--Bass, Guitar, Piano (Grismore), Harper Hall.
--Horns (Sandy/Rapson), Clapp Hall Stage.

Noon to 1 p.m., Lunch break.

1 to 5 p.m., in three centers: Each ensemble will have 3 scheduled time slots (45 minutes to one hour), and some free time. Students may schedule visits with UI admissions counselors, tour the campus, meet with other UI music faculty during the "free time."

--Center 1, Each jazz band will clinic with guest artist and UI jazz faculty.
--Center 2, Each jazz band percussion and rhythm section will have a session to work on the band's Latin/jazz literature.
--Center 3, Improvisation workshop to work on specific solos, with a rhythm section supplied by UI jazz area.

5 to 6 p.m., Dinner break for students.

7 to 7:45 p.m., High School Ensembles sound check in Clapp.

8 p.m., Concert at Clapp Recital Hall.