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Winter Newsletter 2016: Exploring New Flavors of Jazz by Willard Jenkins

Release Date
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Recognized as “a visionary and musical trailblazer,” I first became acquainted with Meghan Stabile several years ago.  Audience development for jazz being such a critical need, I read with great interest a DownBeat magazine account of how this young woman, a Berklee College of Music alum, was producing exciting jazz events with the specific intent of making them more attractive and palatable to her millennial generation; finding keys to unlocking the mystery of attracting young audiences to jazz presentations was certainly an investigation I’ve spent considerable time conducting!  So I quickly reached out to Meghan (ah, the 21st century beauty of web site communications!) and arranged to meet her for coffee on my next trip to New York.


What I encountered that afternoon was an extremely earnest, energetic and collegial woman who was quite passionate about making sure her millennial peers not miss or outright “sleep” the joys and rich heritage of jazz music that had so excited her as she studied voice at Berklee.  She detailed how she’d gotten started on this path by presenting some of her fellow students in unusual combinations – collaborations that would bring together the jazz tradition and contemporary forms across genres – at the venerable student musicians’ Boston hang Wally’s, just down Massachusetts Avenue from the Berklee campus.


Fast forward a couple of years: Meghan was even deeper in that endeavor in New York City, via a vehicle originally known as Revive Da Live, now known as Revive Music.  In a brief time her vision went global, via such vibrant collaborations as pairing the veteran, crossover jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers (whose music has been heavily sampled by hip hop producers), with hip hop rapper-DJ-producer Pete Rock and the Robert Glasper Experiment.  That project eventually made it to Paris as part of the Jazz a la Villette Festival, an event that reportedly “educated audiences about the authentic union of collaborative genres.”  Next, Revive Music premiered the collaboration between rapper-singer-actor Mos Def and the Robert Glasper Experiment, at the Cape Town Jazz Festival, Africa’s premier jazz event.


Working with her fellow Berklee alum, trumpeter Igmar Thomas – who has worked extensively with another prominent member of their Berklee alum circle, bassist-vocalist Esperanza Spalding – they forged an in-house ensemble, the Revive Big Band, to further their genre-busting collaborations.  Meghan Stabile is not only president and CEO of Revive Music Group, she has also signed on to the venerable jazz label Blue Note Records as an executive producer, releasing her first compilation of Revive Music Group artists in 2015.  Additionally Revive continues to produce stages for the annual Winter Jazz Festival, as well as SummerStage, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, the Blue Note Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.


After communicating extensively and discussing various ideas, we are extremely excited to present a major Revive Music collaboration for our 2016 festival, as part of Events DC Presents DC JazzFest at the Yards.  As a centerpiece of our huge Sunday, June 19 blowout we are presenting the Revive Big Band with special guest genre-benders Bilal (neo-soul), Talib Kweli (hip hop), and Ravi Coltrane (son of John and Alice) on saxophone.


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