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Jazz Journey International Music Camp

The worlds of classical and traditional music will come together at the V International Music Camp in Ogre, Latvia this July and blend with the rhythms and harmonies of Jazz Journey, an interactive program that traces the journey of West Africans taken from their homeland, as it teaches the history and musical components of jazz.
Jazz Journey was created by Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Janet Lawson (pictured) and pianist Lenore Raphael, who is scheduled to appear this summer on NPR’s Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. Drawing from their vast experience teaching students the rudiments of jazz, the two artists designed this hands-on, participatory, and non-judgmental creative experience. With their first Jazz Journey workshop, guest artist Clark Terry brought his own historical perspective and humor, which set the tone for the program’s resounding success and vision. Lawson and Raphael realized that providing an open, creative atmosphere, while offering important information, was the most effective channel to an understanding of jazz.

An interactive jazz program for all age groups, Jazz Journey traces the history of jazz as it follows the journey of people taken from their homeland, beginning in West Africa, moving to the Caribbean, and proceeding to New Orleans, and up to the big cities of the North. At each stop on the journey, students learn the different styles of music that developed from the people at each location. As the students “journey,” they learn polyrhythms from imitating animals and nature in Africa; syncopation and Latin rhythms in the Caribbean; call-and-response and the blues in the American South; dirge, romp, and the introduction of European instruments in New Orleans; and fast, hard-driving bebop and scat in the North. Jazz Journey gives students the spontaneous experience of vocally improvising their own melodies and rhythms to the different styles of music from the “journey” as they absorb its history, sociology, geography, and the ethical values of society.

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