Peabody Classic Modern Jazz Ensemble
directed by Alex Pope Norris
This ensemble, coached by Dr. Alexander Norris, is one of the Jazz ensembles in the Jazz studies curriculum at the Peabody Conservatory. Dr. Norris hand-picked the student members of this group, and has named it the Peabody Classic Modern Jazz Ensemble This group emphasizes the study and performance of music from the great traditions of Bebop thru Post-bop; roughly spanning 1945-1975. This body of work, while still considered Modern Jazz, has become Classic within this spectrum, and is absolutely essential repertoire for young musicians embarking on a career in Jazz. Some of the composers whose music will be featured include Bud Powell, Benny Golson, Billy Strayhorn, and Cedar Walton. Also included will be selections from the Great American Songbook.
Tickets: $10/$5 students
Jarrett Gilgore - alto sax
Adam Corson - tenor sax
Christian Hizon - trombone
Kevin Clark - guitar
Mark Meadows - piano
Joe Hull - bass
Brian Bruntsman bass
Jonathan Baez - drums
Alexander Norris grew up in Columbia, Md. where he began studying music at the age of 9. After graduating high school he received a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory to study trumpet. He graduated from the Conservatory in 1990. During this time, his interest in jazz grew, and he became quite active on the Baltimore/Washington D.C. jazz scene. While performing with artists such as Gary Thomas, Grachan Moncur III, and George Colligan, he also gained great experience sitting in with Gary Bartz, Dennis Chambers, Billy Hart, and the late Carter Jefferson.
In 1992, Norris moved to New York City. Here, he found work with the Mingus Big Band, the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra, and Maria Schneider's Band. From 1994-1998, Norris was a member of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, becoming musical director in 1998; the final year of Carter's life. Norris has also performed and recorded extensively in the bands of Lonnie Plaxico, Jason Lindner, and with Ralph Irizarry's Timbalaye.
Norris has worked with many noted jazz musicians such as Slide Hampton, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Stefon Harris, Sam Yahel, Carl Allen, Eric Alexander, John Patitucci, Peter Bernstein, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Avishai Cohen, and Brian Blade. Norris is very active in Afro-Cuban jazz, as well, having worked with Andy and Jerry González, Paquito D’Rivera, Hilton Ruiz, Giovanni Hildago, Poncho Sanchez, and Chico O’Farril. Additionally, in the Pop/R&B world, Norris has toured and/or recorded with Incognito, US3, Philip Bailey, Steve Winwood, Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, and Jon Secada.
In 1995, Norris received a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He has served on the music faculties at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Towson University, and the City College of New York.
In 2007, Norris received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. From 2005-2007, Norris was lecturer in jazz trumpet at the University of Miami and was a visiting assistant professor there from 2007-2008.
Residing once again in New York City, Norris performs all over the world with his own jazz group and with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Big Band, Manny Oquendo's Libre, and many other jazz and Latin jazz groups. He performs regularly at the most prestigious jazz venues in New York, such as Smalls, Smoke, Birdland, and the Blue Note. Norris is an active clinician/guest artist, and has given clinics at the New World School for the Arts (Miami), Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Brooklyn High School for the Arts, Cincinatti College-Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and many other schools. Norris has recorded on over 60 CDs as a sideman and has a CD out as a leader: Alex Norris Quintet A New Beginning on the Fresh Sounds Label.