After a two-year, pandemic-forced hiatus, Clark’s Geller Jazz Concert is returning to campus with a performance by Grammy-winning pianist Bill Charlap in Razzo Hall at Traina Center for the Arts, on Wednesday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Free tickets can be reserved online. In addition, the concert will be livestreamed on the ClarkArts YouTube channel. Audience members must be fully vaccinated and masked.
The Bill Charlap Trio — Charlap, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Kenny Washington — will be joined on the Razzo Hall stage by special guest Jon Faddis. Since its creation in 1997, the Trio has become recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz.
Charlap has performed with artists including Phil Woods, Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, and Wynton Marsalis. He signed with Blue Note Records in 2000 and received two Grammy Award nominations for “Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein” and “The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard.” In 2016, “Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap: The Silver Lining, The Songs of Jerome Kern,” received the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Album.
Faddis, a conductor, composer, and educator, is known for his unparalleled range and command of the trumpet.
Matthew Malsky, the Tina Sweeney, M.A. ’49, Endowed Chair in Music and director of the Higgins School of Humanities, says the return of the concert gives the Clark community a chance to sit feet away from some of the world’s best jazz musicians.
“There’s nothing like hearing live music —especially when it’s performed by consummate musicians who have dedicated their lives and talents to making music at the highest level,” he says. “On top of that, music is inherently a social activity. We get our energy and satisfaction from not only from the players but also our fellow audience members.”
The Geller concert will open with a set from the Samara Joy Trio, which includes vocalist Joy, guitarist Pasquale Grasso, and bassist Ari Roland.
“Samara Joy just won DownBeat Magazine young artist of the year. DownBeat is the premier journal in the jazz world, so to be recognized there is a substantial accomplishment,” says Malsky. In 2019, Joy won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.
The series is possible through the Selma B. Geller estate. A New York City philanthropist who died in 2007, Geller was concerned about the lack of musical opportunities available to the current generation of students.
Clark last hosted the concert in 2019, featuring Trio da Paz, Grace Kelly, Joe Locke, and the Melissa Aldana Quartet. Previous featured artists in Geller Jazz Concert series and recipients of the Selma B. Geller Foundations of Jazz award have included Ron Carter, Dave Liebman and Tom Harrell, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, and Christian MacBride.
“Having a concert on campus again is very exciting. Bringing Geller back is like getting together with old friends,” says Malsky.