The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY program combines a week of rigorous jazz studies with an exploration of the foods, wines and sights that Italy has to offer. Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy participants will be hosted in the “Agriturismo La Pineta” a working Farm/ Vineyard located in the hart of Tuscany. Owned by the family of New York Jazz Workshop co-founder Marco Chelo. Bring your family, bring your friends, there is plenty to do for the guests while we make music. Trips to Pisa, Lucca, and additional excursions will be available for the guest of the students that are attending the Improvisation Workshop in Italy.

La Pineta offers double and single occupancy, 10 acres of green, a salt water swimming pool nested between the vineyards and an ancient olive grove. Trip highlights include daily music sessions, (morning and afternoon) evening jam sessions, final concert, trips to Florence and ancient medieval towns, biological wines tasting, a trip to a Roman Spa baths and home cooked food prepared daily by the “la pineta” chef, morning guided meditations will be offered (Chi Gong – Tai Chi)

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy

Course Philosophy

The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY is a 5 day and 6 night program conducted in a supportive and focused atmosphere. The program is conducive to intensive study and mutual encouragement, through individual and group instruction, jam sessions and a faculty/student concert. The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY  will be under the guidance of two stellar musicians and educators from NYC, Marc Mommaas (Tenor Sax/Composition: Co-founder NYJW and HJW, educator at The New School) and Kenny Wessel (Guitar/Composition: educator at NYJW, Long Island University and CCNY, US Jazz Ambassador and long time member of Ornett Colemans ground breaking ensemble).

We will accept a total of 10 to 12 students. Our personalized learning approach focuses on strengthening the participants learning process. Strengths are solidified and weaknesses are addressed in a positive and constructive fashion. After these 6 days the participant will walk away with a wealth of music knowledge, a tailored goal to aim for, and additional experience in how to communicate on the bandstand. Plus, it will be a lot of FUN! The program is for adults only and a playing sample needs to be submitted with your registration.


The Program


Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - Swimming Pool

Sunday ( if you are coming from the USA you will need to leave on June 2nd)

– Arrival in Florence or Pisa
– Transfer to  “Agriturismo La Pineta”
– Free time ,  unpack you luggage, relax by the pool
– Dinner al fresco in the garden with local specialties and wines
(please let us know of any dietary restrictions in advance)

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - veranda


8 – 9am:  Guided meditation
9 – 10am: Breakfast

10 – 11am: Masterclass: Eartraining
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing

1pm – 3pm: Lunch

3 – 4:30pm: Ensemble playing
4:30 – 5:30pm: Private lessons.
(Each student gets 15 minutes and everybody is included to witness the lesson)

5:30pm: Free time for relax by the pool, walking excursions or nap
7:30pm: Dinner

9:30pm: Optional evening hang / Jam Session

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - Grotta Giusti


8 – 9am:  Guided meditation
9 – 10am: Breakfast

10 – 11am: Masterclass: Composition
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing

1pm – 3pm: Lunch

3pm: Afternoon trip to the SPA / Thermal Baths – Grotta Giusti
7:30pm:  Dinner

9:30pm: Optional evening hang / Jam Session

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - La Vivanda


8 – 9am:  Guided meditation
9 – 10am: Breakfast

10 – 11am: Masterclass: Rhythm
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing

1pm – 3pm: Lunch

3pm: Afternoon Trip to Florence, walking tour,  wine tasting with a selection of 5 bio wines and dinner at “La Vivanda
7:30pm:  Dinner

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - San Miniato


8 – 9am:  Guided meditation (..or Bloody Mary:)
9 – 10am: Breakfast

10 – 11am: Masterclass: Ornette Coleman and his muse.
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing

1pm – 3pm: Lunch

3 – 4:30pm: Ensemble playing
4:30 – 5:30pm: Private lessons

5:30pm: Free time for relax by the pool, walking excursions or nap

7:30pm: Evening Trip to San Miniato
9pm:  Dinner and Evening hang

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - Jam Session


8 – 9am:  Guided meditation (..or Bloody Mary:)
9 – 10am: Breakfast

10 – 11am: Masterclass: Alterations and Super Impositions.
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing and rehearsals for concert

1pm – 3pm: Lunch

3 – 4pm: Private Lessons
4 – 5pm: Q&A, how to organize your materials and setting goals

5pm: Free time for relax by the pool, walking excursions or nap

7pm: Dinner

– Transfer to the airport and departure


Topics and Prerequisites

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy –  Topics:

– Ear-training, formal versus informal
– Composition as a tool to find your voice
– Eartraining
– Ornette Colemans Muse
– Alterations and Superimposition
– Rhythm in an harmonic context and Rhythmic expansion
– Practicing routine, how to organize your materials

The Program Includes:

– Daily Jazz Workshop<strong
– All meals (breakfast , lunch and dinner)
– Biological Wine Tasting
– Trips to Florence, San Miniato, Grotta Giusti spa, Mussumano Alta
– Transfer to and from the airport or the train station in Pisa or Florence
– Accommodation in double or single room
– Jam Sessions
– Final Concert


– Instructors may ask for a recorded sample before admission (non participating guests such as family members and significant others are also welcome)
– At least 17 years of age
– This intensives is better suited to intermediate and advanced musicians with a minimum of a few years on their instrument; More details can be discussed during registration

Participants Max and Rhythm Section:
– We will accept a maximum of 10 to 12 participants. this will guarantee an intimate and personal experience and it will allow the teacher to balance out the materials according to the needs of each student
– There will be a rhythm section at all times, either consisting of the participants or professionals


About the Faculty

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - Marc Mommaas & Kenny Wessel

Marc made his debut as a leader in his 1999 recording Global Motion Trio with Nikolaj Hess (piano) and John Hebert (bass). In 2001 the acclaimed drummer Tony Moreno joined the group which became Global Motion. In 2003 after an extensive tour in Europe including a 5 day hit at the Pompoen in Amsterdam, the band returned to NYC and recorded Global Motion, released by Sunnyside Records. This release earned critical acclaim in Downbeat, Jazztimes, Jazzimprov, All About Jazz and numerous online news outlet.

This record was followed by another well received Sunnyside release titled Balance (2006), a long anticipated duo recording with pianist and longtime friend Nikolaj Hess.

In 2010 he jumped into a new project born out of his extensive collaboration with drummer Tony Moreno. It became “Landmarc” the guitar project, a band with three guitars, sax, drums and no bass. The touring band included two guitarists, Vic Juris and Nate Radley. In 2013 Marc finished his solo Saxophone project “Irreversible Momentum” which started in 2009, this will be released in the fall of 2013 and in the fall Marc will record as co-leader a Ballads record with Nikolaj Hess. Read More

Marc has toured the world with many formations including the Amina Figarova sextet, and with other formations lead by Tony Moreno, Tim Horner, Armen Donelian and many more. He played all the main stages, from the New Port Jazz Festival to Carnegy Hall. But besides his impressive career as a saxophonist and improviser he also made his mark as an educator. He co-founded the New York Jazz Workshop with Marco Chelo and Hudson Jazz Works with Armen Donelian, has done masterclasses at conservatories across the globe, and is an in demand saxophone and composition teacher in NYC. Marc is currently working on a text book on “a rhythmic approach of improvisation and composition for linear instruments” as well as a jazz theory book.

Kenny Wessel, a versatile, sensitive and soulful guitarist and composer, has performed in 27 countries. He toured with revolutionary jazz artist Ornette Coleman for over 12 years as a member of Prime Time, Ornette’s groundbreaking ensemble. Kenny can be heard on Coleman’s CD, Tone Dialing. Performing Ornette’s “Skies of America,” Wessel has appeared with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. A vital and personal voice on the jazz guitar, he has also worked with Donald Fagen (featured guitar soloist on Fagen’s Morph the Cat), David Liebman, John Abercrombie, Karl Berger, Debbie Harry, Gloria Lynne, Adam Rudolph and others from the jazz, pop and world music spectrum.

Ken has a strong interest in world music, particularly with North Indian music, and he has performed with Debashish Bhattacharya, Karaikudi Mani, V.M. Bhatt, Samir Chatterjee, Steve Gorn and others. Wessel co-leads a trio with jazz tabla master Badal Roy. Their CD, Daybreak was included in JAZZIZ magazine’s Top 10 Critic’s Picks. Ken and Badal toured India and the U.S. with their composition, “Testimony,” which was commissioned by the Battery Dance Company. Wessel’s most recent CD, Weights & Measures received 4 stars in Downbeat magazine and has made critics’ best of 2012 lists. As a U.S. Jazz Ambassador, Ken has toured South Asia and South America, visiting India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bengladesh and Venezuela in 2002-03.

A dedicated jazz educator, Wessel currently teaches at LIU, CCNY, and Western Connecticut State University, in addition to leading 2 ensembles at the New York Jazz Workshop. He also gives clinics and workshops around the world and has taught at universities and festivals, including: Oslo Music Academy, ICSMS Festival (Istanbul, Turkey), Mahaidol University (Bangkok), Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, and many others.


Tuition and Registration

 All inclusive except flights!

Student Tuition:
$2,400 USD or € 2180 EURO in single occupancy *
$2,100 USD or € 1910 EURO in double occupancy *
$1,950 USD or € 1790 EURO in triple occupancy *

Accompanying Guest ( all activities except music classes)
$1,550 USD or € 1409 in single occupancy *
$1,250 USD or € 1136 in double occupancy *
$1,100 USD or € 1025 in triple occupancy *

**Rates are subject to change based on exchange rate fluctuations

To sign up for this Summer Intensive, fill out this brief registration form


Jazz Clubs

While we have a pretty busy schedule if time allows we may check some of the Jazz Venues in Florence and surrounding areas. Or you may decide to extend your trip, therefore here some suggestions

La Sala Del Rosso
Pinocchio Jazz
Jazz Club