Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Artist in Residence!

I am very excited to announce a new partnership between Berkley High School and acclaimed jazz musician Kris Johnson. Kris is now co-teaching the new BHS after-school class focused on improvisation skills. The class meets at 4:00 PM on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Here are a few photos from today's class:

Here is Kris's bio:

"A native of Detroit, MI, Kris’s education began with Damien Crutcher’s music program at Southfield-Lathrup High School (2001), Harold McKinney’s jazz workshop, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Marcus Belgrave. The trumpeter, composer, arranger, and educator has a diverse musical background, and holds a Master’s (2007) and Bachelor’s (2005) degree in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University.

Kris has performed with many jazz greats including Tony Bennett, Patti Austin, Wess Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Hendricks, Monty Alexander, Rodney Whitaker & the MSU Professors of Jazz, and many others. PBS viewers may have seen Kris in the documentary “Inside Jazz: Everybody’s Welcome,” where Kris was a featured soloist in a master class with jazz great Wynton Marsalis.

Currently Kris is proud to be touring with the world famous Count Basie Orchestra.

Kris has performed at the Idlewild, Lansing, and East Lansing Jazz Festivals. He also performed with the Marcus Belgrave Trumpet Summit at the 2003 Detroit Ford International Jazz Festival, and with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra at the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Detroit Jazz Festivals. Kris was also a member of the Jonathon Dixon Quintet, which won the Heineken Star Quest Jazz Competition and performed at the Detroit Jazz Fest in 2005.

Kris recently received first place in the 8th Annual Great American Song Contest (instrumental category) for his composition “My Apologies.” “My Apologies” and several of his other compositions are featured on his first CD release, “Exodus” (2008). His writing can also be heard on the track “My Favorite Things,” from Yolanda Adams’s 2007 release, “What a Wonderful Day,” on which he played trumpet and arranged the horns. Kris has also composed a jazz oratorio "Jim Crow's Tears" which is influenced by the history of minstrelsy and blackface. In July of 2008 Kris will premiere "Un Voyage dans les RĂªves", a piece commissioned by the Arts League of Michigan in Detroit.

Kris served as the Assistant Director of Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Ensembles from 2005 - 2008. This job entailed directing weekly rehearsals with the Civic Jazz Band II and writing custom arrangements for the Civic Jazz Orchestra and Civic Jazz Band II. While pursuing his Master’s Degree at Michigan State, Kris served as a Graduate Assistant teaching Beginning Jazz Improvisation I & II, and conducting the MSU Jazz Octet III.

Kris is also a prominent private instructor who consistently produces high quality students. Many of his students have received scholarships to music programs and colleges including Manhattan School of Music, Michigan State University, Interlochen Fine Arts Academy & Camp, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

Kris has written three music theory books including “Anthology of Scales,” “Anthology of Chords,” and “Anthology of Intervals and Sequences.” He is also the co-author of a series of jazz piano method books with Rick Roe (Associate Professor of Jazz Piano, Michigan State University)."