By Thomas Gillen
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Matt Wilson, a professor of music, 2011 Grammy nominee for Best Classical Crossover Album and co-director of the Post Jazz Combo, will curate the upcoming Jazz on Stage concert series on Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Tilles Center.
This second season of Jazz on Stage will feature the Jimmy Heath Quartet, which has composed 12 CDs and has played with leg- endary artists such as Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, and John Coltrane, according to www.tillescenter.org.
“Jimmy Heath will work with the jazz students at Post from 11:15-12:30 followed by a pre-concert talk with the audience that is open to the public from 2:15-2:45. Finally, there will be a 70-minute concert at 3:00,” Wilson said.
The audience will be able to sit on the stage and will be “in the shoes of the performers,” according to Wilson. Wilson feels this seating arrangement is a great way for audiences to initiate a relationship with the artist because the audience has a first-hand opportunity to listen to their stories, learn about their history, and ask questions to the artist.
This is Wilson’s fourth year teaching at Post. Besides co-directing the Jazz Combo with Sean Fitzpatrick, he also teaches private drum lessons and founded the Sonic Pioneers two years ago with Fitzpatrick. The Sonic Pioneers, one of two jazz combos at Post, played at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland last year.
“We have a really nice jazz faculty at Post and I am really proud of my colleagues and the support of the department, especially Jennifer Miceli, the chairperson of the department of music,” Wilson said.
Wilson also teaches at The New School in Manhattan, Sara Lawrence in Bronxville, and at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland for one week a term. “I am appreciative of the opportunities I have been presented,” Wilson said, adding that he is “proud of the students at Post, music wise.”
Wilson said that he is currently working on a new record on the poetry of Carl Sandburg. “I have created the settings for Mr. Sandburg with poems as lyrics, songs with recitation and songs based on the mood and imagery of the text,” he said.
Wilson has plenty of advice to offer students interested in studying music. “Students have to want to learn and ask questions,” he said. “Music is a great discipline, so you have to learn about the history and about other musicians. New York City is a great center of music and it’s in such close proximity to Long Island.”
Wilson likes to remain fresh so he surrounds himself with people who can challenge him and keep him on his toes. “Whatever you do, you have to want to be dedicated and want to continue to learn,” he said.
Although he grew up in Illinois, Wilson wanted to be a part of the New York jazz music community growing up and has worked hard at building this community.
Tickets for Jazz on Stage with Matt Wilson can be purchased for $40 at www.ticketmaster.com.