Berklee Celebrates Black History Month with Terence Blanchard, Stanley Clarke, and more

Berklee College of Music presents Black History Month Music Celebration 2006, a series of concerts, clinics and lectures throughout the month of February. The celebration offers a wide variety of music and lectures by faculty, students, and renowned visiting artists. Highlights include The Warrick L. Carter Lecture Series, featuring Terence Blanchard, Friday, February 10, at the David Friend Recital Hall; The Music Of Bob Marley, Monday, February 13, at the Berklee Performance Center; and Black Music, The Dippin’ Pool: Bill Banfield and Friends with special guests Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, Tuesday, February 21 at the Berklee Performance Center.

All events are open to the public. Events in David Friend Recital Hall (921 Boylston St.), Lawrence and Alma Berk Recital Hall, and Recital Hall 1W (both at 1140 Boylston St.), are free. Concerts in the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., are $5 for the general public. For more information please call 617-747-2261, or visit

Highlights Include:

Friday, February 10, 1:00 p.m., The David Friend Recital Hall Warrick L. Carter Lecture Series featuring Terence Blanchard Acclaimed artist Terence Blanchard, a native of New Orleans, picked up the trumpet in elementary school. In high school, Blanchard came under the tutelage of jazz great Ellis Marsalis, and then attended Rutgers University on a music scholarship. One of Blanchard's professors was so impressed by his talent that he brokered a gig touring with Lionel Hampton's band. In 1983, he was recommended by Wynton Marsalis to replace him in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Two years later, Blanchard and fellow Messenger Donald Harrison split to form their own successful quintet. In 1990 Blanchard departed to pursue a solo career, and signed with Columbia Records, earning GRAMMY award nominations for his soundtracks to Mo' Better Blues and The Heart Speaks. Herbie Hancock produced Blanchard’s latest release, Flow, his second album for Blue Note. It showcases Blanchard’s prodigious instrumental and composing skills, and reveals him to be a shrewd judge of young talent and a bandleader of Milesian dimension and magnitude. The legacy of the working band as jazz workshop is at the essence of jazz and Blanchard remains one of the few on the scene who fully embrace that dynamic. Flow is a dramatic example of this theory put into practice.

Monday, February 13, 8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center The Music of Bob Marley The fifteen-member Music of Bob Marley Ensemble, under the direction of Assistant Professor Matt Jenson, presents the annual Marley tribute concert, for the first time in the Berklee Performance Center due to popular demand. The ensemble performs Jenson's arrangements of the Jamaican icon's music. Jenson will also present photographs with discussion of his recent trips to Jamaica and Ghana where he had the honor of meeting sister Rita Marley and many others closely associated with Marley. "One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain!" -Bob Marley

Thursday, February 16, 1:00 p.m., The David Friend Recital Hall The George W. Russell Jr. Trio in Concert Celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty keyboardist George Russell Jr., associate professor of harmony, performs with his trio featuring drummer Sean Skeete and bassist Wesley Wirth.

Thursday, February 16, 8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project featuring Cecilia Smith, Overjoyed, and the Berklee Rainbow Big Band Vibraphonist Cecilia Smith is featured in concert performing small band, large ensemble, and sacred works by legendary pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams. Berklee gospel group Overjoyed and the Rainbow Big Band will also be featured.

Cecilia Smith, a Berklee graduate, has been granted a number of commissions and grants for her composing abilities as a professional composer and recording artist. She is currently one of the leading vibraphonist of the Four-Mallet Technique, in the U.S. Smith is also the first woman vibraphonist to release material on a national and international level, releasing five albums to date. She has performed throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia and frequently has been highlighted as a performer on national radio and television broadcasts. Smith has been studying the work of Mary Lou Williams for the past 5 1/2 years and is currently the Artistic Director of the Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project.

Tuesday, February 21, 2:00 pm, The David Friend Recital Hall Black Musicianship and the Development of Fusion Music with bassist/composer Stanley Clarke and drummer/composer/producer Lenny White In a clinic/sharing format, Clarke and White will be presenting their ideas, music, and work in performance, and recording experiences related to the role of Black musicians in shaping this major area of progressive music.

Stanley Clarke, known for his innovative and influential work on double bass and bass guitar, graduated from Philadelphia Academy of Music. He then moved to New York and worked with bandleaders including Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Pharaoh Sanders, and Stan Getz. During this period he joined Chick Corea’s Return to Forever. The group became one of the most important jazz fusion groups of the era. Clarke also embarked on a solo career in the 1970s and released a number of albums including Stanley Clarke, School Days, and Journey To Love. Clarke created a very distinctive sound, playing Alembic basses and applying Larry Graham’s innovative slap style of playing to harmonically complex jazz-based music. He later formed Animal Logic with Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Clarke has several film scores to his name. In 2005 he started the group TRIO!, with Bela Fleck and Jean-Luc Ponty, that toured the U.S. and played all of the major jazz festivals.

Lenny White, alternating between drumming and producing, has been on the cutting edge of the music scene and pushing the musical envelope since 1968, when Jackie McLean asked him to be part of his band. White’s career in the music industry was baptized in 1969 when, as a teenager, he performed on Miles Davis’ landmark recording Bitches Brew. He also performed on Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay, with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Joe Henderson, and was a member of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever. White has recorded eleven albums as a leader and has toured the world with his own bands. He has also produced albums by Wayne Shorter, Rachelle Ferrell, and Wallace Roney, among others.

Tuesday, February 21, 8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center Black Music, The Dippin’ Pool: Bill Banfield and friends, with special guests Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Berklee faculty Join composer/guitarist Bill Banfield, professor of Africana studies/music and society, for a concert with jazz legends Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Berklee faculty members will also join Banfield. Thursday, February 23, 1:00 p.m., The David Friend Recital Hall Gospel Industry Panel Discussion The Black Student Union at Berklee presents its first-ever "Gospel Industry Day," bringing clarity to the uninformed about what's happening in gospel music. Coordinated by BSU leaders Joy Daniels and Choirboy Johnson, prominent industry professionals representing the areas of radio, management, performance and more will be presented in a public forum. This will be a dynamic occasion of learning more about the Good News.

Thursday, February 23, 2:30 p.m., The David Friend Recital Hall Rodney Jerkins Clinic/Discussion Experience an intimate clinic setting with producer extraordinaire Rodney Jerkins, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and many more. Jerkins won a GRAMMY award in 2000 for co-writing the hit Destiny’s Child song "Say My Name."

Thursday, February 23, 8:15 p.m., Berklee Performance Center BSU at Berklee Presents The Gospel Industry The students of the Black Student Union present gospel choirs from various Boston area colleges, including Berklee’s own Reverence Gospel Ensemble in tribute to director, Assistant Professor Dennis Montgomery III, and visiting artist Rodney Jerkins, an award-winning producer. Presented by Reggie Lofton, William Banfield, and Major Johnson. Come and join us as we deliver the Good News!

Tuesday, February 28, 7:30 p.m., David Friend Recital Hall Jerome Kyles Voice Instructor Jerome Kyles, backed by a five-piece rhythm section and background vocal ensemble, sings his favorite tunes. His fusion of classical, jazz, gospel, and R&B styles are sure to stir the emotions, set your heart ablaze, and leave you inspired.

For a complete schedule of events, please visit:

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Blanchard
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