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Blue Note Holds Saturday Master Classes

On the next three Saturdays, the Blue Note in New York will present a series of jazz master classes that will include a clinic and lecture with a prominent musician (pianist Kenny Werner or bassist Richard Bona), or, in the case of April 27’s master class on jazz writing, with critic Ira Gitler. (I’m not available that day, you see.)

The series is open to all jazz musicians, jazz fans and music lovers in general. All are encouraged to bring their instruments, or, on the 27th, their laptops. The master classes take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and cost $20, or $10 for students with a valid ID. Call (212) 475-8592 or visit to make reservations. The Blue Note is located at 131 W. 3rd St. in Manhattan.

Here’s a little bit about each master class teacher:

Saturday, April 3, 2004 ~ 2:00pm

Pianist Kenny Werner – “Effortless Mastery”

Born in Brooklyn, NY, November 19, 1951, Werner stepped into the limelight at age four as a member of a song and dance group. By the time Werner was 11, he had recorded a single with a 15-piece orchestra and appeared on television playing stride piano. He has performed around the world with Bob Brookmeyer, Ron Carter, Joe Williams, Chico Freeman, Sonny Fortune, Peter Erskine, John Abercrombie, Bobby McFerrin, Lee Konitz, Joe Henderson, Marian McPartland, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Eddie Gomez, Charlie Haden, Toots Thielemans, Joe Lovano and countless others. Werner is featured on numerous recordings as a sideman, special guest and co-leader as well as with his own groups. His book, Effortless Mastery, has changed many musicians’ concepts about how to practice, play and listen. Werner’s most recent CD, Peace, was released March 16 on Half Note Records, a subsidiary of the Blue Note jazz club and restaurant.

Saturday, April 10, 2004 ~ 2:00pm

Bassist Richard Bona – “Influences of Rhythm”:

Since arriving in New York in 1995, bassist and vocalist Richard Bona has been tapped to work with Larry Coryell, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Regina Carter and other renowned musicians. Born in 1967 in the village of East Minta in Cameroon, Bona grew up in a house filled with music. He started playing gigs at age 11 and, as a teen, he was a favorite at a local jazz club. At age 22, he moved to Paris, where he worked with Marc Ducret, Manu Dibango and Salif Keita and refined his writing skills. His CDs, Scenes from My Life, Reverence and Munia, continue to reap critical and audience acclaim.

Saturday, April 17, 2004 ~ 2:00pm

Jazz Writer Ira Gitler – “My Life in Jazz”:

Professionally involved with jazz since 1951 when he wrote the liner notes for a Zoot Sims LP, Ira Gitler has annotated countless albums and has written for jazz magazines as well as daily and weekly papers on the East and West Coasts. Gitler also taught jazz history at City College, produced recordings with Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz and other jazz greats and co-authored The Encyclopedia of Jazz with Leonard Feather. He is considered one of the foremost jazz authorities in the world.

Originally Published