Clark University’s 2023–24 Geller Jazz Series kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 27, with acclaimed guitarist Albino Mbie and his quintet taking the stage with “A Joyful Jazz Ode to Africa.”
The Geller Jazz Nightclub performance, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Grind, in the lower level of the Higgins University Center.
Born in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique — a country in southern Africa known for its rich musical and cultural heritage — Mbie built his first guitar at 16 from a 5-liter can of oil, scrap wood, and strings made out of electrical cords. He settled in Boston in 2009 to study at the Berklee College of Music, where he could expand his musical horizons; soon after, he was one of the first students to receive a full scholarship through the African Scholars program. He was exposed to a variety of influences but wanted to go deeper into the roots of jazz and expand his knowledge of music. At the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, which emphasizes the artist’s original vision in jazz, he worked with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, and Terri Lyne Carrington, and developed his own unique voice in the art form.
Today, Albino’s music succeeds in combining many disparate parts into an organic whole. It incorporates his musical experiences from Mozambique, the U.S., and many other places around the world, combining rhythmic patterns and musical concepts to create a unique Afro-Pop and Moz-Jazz sound. He will always continue to combine and capture the energies of different musical traditions to create a unified and original musical style.
For this Geller Jazz Nightclub performance, Mbie’s Quintet is joined by saxophone phenom Noah Preminger. Jazz Review said, “Preminger seems to have arrived on the scene fully formed, with incisive musical instincts, a distinctive personal sound, and an ability to write great tunes.” Preminger’s “Dry Bridge Road” was named Debut of the Year in the Village Voice critics poll, and made top 10 lists in JazzTimes, Stereophile, and The Nation.
Mbie and Preminger will join the roster of incredible musicians who have come to the Clark campus to perform on the Geller Jazz Nightclub Series, including Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Joel Ross, Manuel Valera and the New Cuban Express, the Haitian Jazz Project with Godwin Louis, Sheryl Bailey Trio, Bean Bag with vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles, and the Matt Wilson Quintet’s Carl Sandburg Project.
The Geller Jazz series is supported by a generous gift to the Visual and Performing Arts Department from the Estate of Selma Geller. The semiannual concert series pairs new and emerging artists with jazz legends, and supports audience development programming. Previously featured artists in the spring Geller Jazz Concert series, and recipients of the Selma B. Geller Foundations of Jazz award, include Ron Carter, Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Christian MacBride, Ravi Coltrane and Joe Lovano, Trio da Paz, Bill Charlap, Donald Harrison, and Omar Sosa.
Selma Geller was a New York City philanthropist who died in 2007. She was deeply concerned about the lack of musical educational opportunities available to the current generation of students. Her gifts to Clark University for music scholarships and musical performances are a testament to her desire to bring the original American musical art form to the Clark community.