The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY program presents a week of rigorous jazz studies in a relaxed and friendly environment. Participants will delve deeply into rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements of jazz improvisation, all while keeping in contact surrounding nature and the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany. This program is perfect for instrumentalists and vocalists with different backgrounds who want to learn and become better musicians and improvisers. Trip highlights include daily music sessions, private lessons, evening jam sessions, excursions and a final concert.

Jazz Improvisation workshops and classes will be hosted in the “Agriturismo La Pineta” a working Farm/Vineyard located in the heart of Tuscany, owned by the family of New York Jazz Workshop co-founder Marco Chelo. There are special activities planned for the guests of the musicians too, so bring your friends and your family because there will be plenty to do while the musicians are in session. Trips that can include excursions to Vinci, Montecatini, Lucca,Pistoia, Cerreto Guidi, Collodi, Viareggio and Florence will be available for purchase for the guests and students that are attending the Improvisation Workshop in Italy. Among the activities are visits to ancient medieval towns, biological wines tastings, a trip to a Roman Spa baths, and home cooked food prepared daily by the “La Pineta” chef.

We will accept a maximum of 20 students, so we encourage you not to wait too long with your reservation.

The Program


The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY is a 7-day/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 several stellar musicians and educators from NYC and The Nederlands including 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 Ornette Coleman’s ground breaking ensemble), Jeroen Vierdag (Dutch bassist of international fame), and the amazing Fay Victor (Brooklyn, NY-based singer and sound artist/composer with a unique vision for the vocalist’s role in jazz and improvised music).

To create an ideal learning experience for all participants, two levels of ensembles and a separate vocal workshop will be offered. 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 instrumental or vocalist adults only and a performance sample needs to be submitted with your registration.

Tuition and Registration


Tuition:
The price of student tuition for the 6-day program is $980 USD.
This rate includes a light lunch. Breakfast and dinner are included in the lodging rates.

The Price of Tuition Includes:
– Daily Jazz Workshops
– Jam Sessions
– Final Concert

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

Check here for current USD to Euro conversion

The Schedule


Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - Swimming Pool

Sunday (If you are coming from the USA you will need to leave on June 6th)
– Arrival at San Miniato Train Station (transfers from airports in Pisa or Florence can be arranged at an extra cost of approximately 100 euro each way)
– 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

Monday
8 – 9am: Morning swim ( optional)
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

Tuesday
8 – 9am: Morning swim (optional)
9 – 10am: Breakfast
10 – 11am: Masterclass: Composition
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing
1pm – 3pm: Lunch
3pm: Free afternoon for practice time or optional excursions
7:30pm: Dinner
9:30pm: Optional evening hang / Jam Session

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - La Vivanda

Wednesday
8 – 9am: Morning swim (optional)
9 – 10am: Breakfast
10 – 11am: Masterclass: Rhythm
11am – 1pm: Ensemble playing
1pm – 3pm: Lunch
3pm: Free afternoon for practice time or optional excursions
7:30pm: Dinner

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - San Miniato

Thursday
8 – 9am: Morning swim (optional)
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, practice, optional excursions or nap
9pm:  Dinner and Evening hang

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy - Jam Session

Friday
8 – 9am: Morning swim (optional)
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
9pm: CONCERT

Saturday
– Departure to San Miniato Train Station (transfers to airports in Pisa or Florence can be arranged at an extra cost of approximately 100 euro each way)

Topics and Prerequisites


Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy – Topics
– Ear-training, formal versus informal
– Composition as a tool to find your voice
– Eartraining
– Ornette Coleman’s Muse
– Alterations and Superimposition
– Rhythm in an harmonic context and Rhythmic expansion
– Practicing routine, how to organize your materials

Vocal Workshop in Italy – Topics
– Breath
– Harmony
– Describing a lead-sheet
– Swing feel / Time
– Free or open improvisation: what does THAT mean?
– Song interpretation
– Write your own lyrics
– SHOW CASE

Prerequisites:
– 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 musicians with a minimum of a few years on their instrument but many musical backgrounds can be accommodated; More details can be discussed during registration

Participants Max and Rhythm Section:
– We will accept a maximum of 20 participants. Which divided in 3 groups will guarantee an intimate and personal experience and  will allow the teachers 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


 

   

MARC MOMMAAS
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
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.

   

JEROEN VIERDAG
Jeroen Vierdag  graduated cum laude at the Conservatory of Amsterdam in the year 2000. He plays  bass guitar and double bass. Jeroen is comfortable playing  lot of different styles, including pop, jazz, Brazilian and Latin. Jeroen is a bass teacher in the Jazz and Latin department at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He is a member of The Ploctones (with Anton Goudsmit) and plays with Francien van Tuinen, Ed Verhoeff, Amina Figarova, Bart Wirtz, Ferial and Nueva Manteca.

Jeroen Vierdeg versatility and flexibility makes him an in demand bass player, we are lucky to have secured his participation to the New York Jazz Workshop summer intensive in Italy.

FAY VICTOR
Fay Victor has been hailed by the New York Times as “artistically complete” for her unique vocal approach to the blues, jazz, free improvisation and her original compositions. Starting from the jazz tradition, Victor has gone on to encompass a multi-genre approach to music, lyrics and song called “Freesong.” Victor has released Eight (8) critically acclaimed recordings as a leader whose work has been praised in venerable outlets such as Downbeat, JazzTimes, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, The Wire, Signal to Noise, The San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out Chicago, The Chicago Reader, The New York City Jazz Record and JazzWise (UK). Victor has performed throughout the USA, Europe, Japan, India, Russia, and Mexico working with a veritable who’s-who of musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Amiri Baraka, Misha Mengelberg, William Parker, Roswell Rudd, Andrew Cyrille, Laurence “Butch’ Morris, Gary Lucas, John Medeski, Nicole Mitchell, Marvin Sewell, Han Bennink, Darius Jones and Tyshawn Sorey amongst others.

Accommodations


There are some incredible options for accommodations during the workshop. Please note that lodging is not included in the price of tuition.

The closest option for which we have blocked rooms and should be booked with us  are:

“Agriturismo La Pineta,”  and Casa di Furio,

La Pineta is a working Farm/Vineyard where the workshops take place, La Pineta offers single, double, and triple occupancy room, 10 acres of green, a salt water swimming pool nested between the vineyards and an ancient olive grove. La Casa di Furio are beautiful apartments nestled in green with also a great swimming pool. La casa di furio is walking distance from La Pineta. For the guest that book the accommodation with us we  offer transportation between la Pinteta and la Casa di Furio. The listed prices are per person and include a daily breakfast (a selection of yogurt, bread, cheese, fruit, coffee), lunch (for example sandwiches, salad, frittata + fruit), and dinner (two courses plus a side dish, dessert, and wine).

Please inform us of any allergies, we also offer vegan and gluten free options when requested in advance.

*Wine is included during dinner only and other drinks such as beer and sparkling water can be purchased.

Given the small numbers of room available we encourage the participants to book double or triple rooms even if they are traveling alone. The rooms are large and the time spent in the rooms is limited—there is also a considerably lower cost. This will allow more people to participate in the program. However, if you don’t want to share a room with someone you don’t know, you can opt for a single or bring a friend.

Rooms @ Agriturismo La Pineta Number of Rooms Single Double Triple 
Apprtamenti Venturino 3
$1200  $790 $587
Rooms with Bathroom 3
$950 $650 $587
Rooms w/ Shared Bathroom 2
$880 $690 $540
Small Apartment by the Pool 1
$827 $650 NA

Check here for current USD to Euro conversion

– If you book with us your stay at La Pineta or neighboring Casa di Furio we will pick you up from the San Miniato Station on arrival and take you back upon departure.
– Transfer to and from the airports of Pisa and Florence can be arranged for approximately 100 euros each way.
– If you find lodging on your on within 10km from la Pineta, we can pick you up in the mornings to attend the workshop, and drop you off at the end of the classes.
– All excursions are optional and listed here


Some other nearby options for lodging are:
Ostello Ponte dé Medici (hostel)
Airbnb in Fucecchio
Hotels in Fucecchio

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

Firenze:
La Sala Del Rosso
Pinocchio Jazz
Jazz Club
– Pinocchio Jazz