NYO Jazz Announces First US Tour This Summer
Carnegie Hall today announced the schedule for its acclaimed ensemble NYO Jazz’s first-ever U.S. tour, which will take place on the heels of the June 24, 2022 release of the ensemble’s first full-length studio album, We’re Still Here. The album features NYO Jazz artistic director and bandleader/trumpeter Sean Jones and special guest Melissa Aldana on tenor saxophone, as well as a guest appearance from trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Available for pre-order, the album will be published by Platoon and will be available for digital download and on all streaming platforms in standard and Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio formats.
Following NYO Jazz’s US tour kick-off concert at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, July 28, the ensemble, joined by special guest singer this summer Jazzmeia Horn, will tour seven US cities under the direction of Sean Jones. Tour stops include: Cleveland, OH July 30 (Tri-C Metro Auditorium); Chautauqua, NY on August 1 (Chautauqua Amphitheater); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 2 (The August Wilson African American Cultural Center); Chicago, IL August 4 (Navy Pier, Lake Stage at Polk Bros Park); Detroit, MI on August 5 (The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center); Madison, WI on August 7 (Wisconsin Union Theater); and Washington, DC on August 9 (The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts).
“I’m so excited to perform with the incredible young musicians at NYO Jazz at Carnegie Hall this summer,” said Jazzmeia Horn. “What a wonderful opportunity as this tour marks my first time playing an entire big band tour and I’m especially excited to sing selections from my new big band album, Dear Love. I’m curious to see how NYO Jazz will perform my final expression of love musically as we connect with audiences in cities across the United States. It will be a fun journey to share with them!”
One of Carnegie Hall’s three acclaimed national youth ensembles, NYO Jazz, comprised of exceptional young musicians ages 16-19 from across the United States, showcases the legacy and bright future of American jazz. Established in 2018 by Hall’s Weill Music Institute, NYO Jazz brings together some of the country’s top teen jazz musicians each year to train, perform and tour with world-class jazz masters while serving as music ambassadors for their country. . NYO Jazz’s successful international tours include an inaugural European tour in 2018 with Dianne Reeves as special guest, and the ensemble’s first Asia tour in 2019 with Kurt Elling as special guest. Although NYO Jazz has been unable to travel for the past two years, the musicians reunited virtually during the summer of 2020 and at Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY) just north of New York, in the summer of 2021, rehearsing and recording a wide range of repertoire, including her debut album.
We’re Still Here features four new works written for the band since its inception, a range of classic and contemporary tableaux that characterize their live concerts, and works exploring themes such as social justice, resilience and the power of music to trigger joy. The four works commissioned by Carnegie Hall on the album are: “Run with Jones” by Miguel Zenón, with Melissa Aldana as soloist; “Mr. Jones and Co.” by Ayn Inserto, with Sean Jones as soloist; “Party in the Head” by John Beasley; and “RPM’s” by Igmar Thomas. In addition to these commissions, some of the album’s highlights included: “We’re Still Here” by trombonist and NYO Jazz faculty member Wycliffe Gordon, which became the band’s catchy encore theme song; hence the title of the album; “The Art of War” by Ralph Peterson; “Oyelo” by Miguel Zenón, with Melissa Aldana as soloist; “A Taste of Honey” by Duke Pearson; “Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool” by Duke Ellington, arranged by NYO Jazz Ensemble coach Reginald Thomas; and “Transitions” by Sean Jones.
“You close your eyes and think they’re all 20 years older than them,” said Sean Jones, who pays for it with his passionate leadership of NYO Jazz, carrying on the tradition of mentorship in jazz.
The album, recorded during the summer 2021 training residency at Purchase College, SUNY, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is a statement of resilience and longevity. A summer that began with the disappointment of a year without touring turned into an opportunity to create this 97-minute showcase of the incredible artistry and enormous versatility of this remarkable ensemble, a recording about to be released. reach audiences around the world just as the ensemble resumes touring in the summer of 2022.
“We are thrilled to have NYO Jazz releasing its debut album this spring, the first recording from one of our national youth ensembles,” said Sarah Johnson, director of education and director of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these talented young musicians to train, perform and now record alongside some of today’s greatest jazz artists, including special guest Melissa Aldana. was particularly important for the musicians to come together for an extended residency last summer, as it marked the first time many of them had the opportunity to come together to play in a full ensemble since the start of the pandemic. With We’re Still Here, we’re proud to showcase the incredible depth of talent and high level of musicianship of these peerless jazz musicians from across the country who will help ensure the preservation of one of America’s quintessential art forms for generations to come.”
“The big band has always been America’s orchestral format and one of the most diverse ensembles ever devised,” said Sean Jones, artistic director and bandleader of NYO Jazz. “He can convey almost any style of music in a sonically challenging and interactive way. This recording shows that diversity by placing classics from Duke Ellington and Neil Hefti alongside pieces that use the big band as a vehicle for contemporary American music and represent a wide variety of genres.”
“Making this album has been an absolute labor of love for the musicians, our amazing teachers and guest artists, and everyone involved,” said Joanna Massey, Director of Learning and Engagement Programs at Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, who has worked with the NYO Jazz program since its inception. “From their individual preparation before coming together as an ensemble, through long days of rehearsals and then recording sessions, the musicians have been unwavering and inspiring in their dedication to producing something meaningful for the world at It’s especially special that by recording all of the original music written especially for NYO Jazz, the album also pays tribute to the outstanding musicians of previous NYO Jazz ensembles – who, like the musicians heard here, embody the future of jazz. .
About NYO Jazz
Each summer, NYO Jazz, led by Artistic Director Sean Jones, highlights the depth of talent found among young jazz musicians across the United States. The program offers talented young musicians, ages 16 to 19, the opportunity to perform as cultural ambassadors of their country, sharing a unique American musical genre with people around the world through an international tour. Members of NYO Jazz have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as some of the nation’s finest jazz musicians, following a rigorous and highly competitive audition process. Following its Carnegie Hall debut in 2018, the ensemble embarked on its first-ever international tour for performances with singer Dianne Reeves at prestigious concert halls and music festivals in London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Kassel and Berlin. In the summer of 2019, NYO Jazz went on their first Asia tour, joined by vocalist Kurt Elling, including performances in Taichung, Beijing, Shanghai, Zhuhai and Hong Kong. As part of their travel program, NYO Jazz musicians also have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with young local musicians and experience the richness of different cultures and music.
NYO Jazz builds on the success of the famous National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and its sister ensemble for young musicians NYO2-programs created by Carnegie Hall in 2013 and 2016, respectively-to bring together the best young classical musicians from across the country each summer for training, performance and international touring. Each of these prestigious national programs, free to all participants, is dedicated to the proposition that talented young musicians thrive when they have the opportunity to expand their musical, social and cultural horizons and share their artistic talent with audiences around the world. Since 2013, Carnegie Hall’s national youth ensembles have performed in 15 countries on four continents, including touring China, South Korea, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Russia and throughout Europe.
We are always here
Sean Jones, artistic director, conductor and trumpet
Special guest Melissa Aldana, tenor saxophone
With Wycliffe Gordon, trombone
1. A Taste of Honey from Duke Pearson*
2. Pleasantly plump by Quincy Jones*
3. Oyelo by Miguel Zenon
4. Mr. Jones and Co. by Ayn Inserto (2019 NYO Jazz commission)
5. We’re Still Here by Wycliffe Gordon
6. Duke Pearson’s Bedouin
7. Party Inside John Beasley’s Head (2020 NYO Jazz commission)
8. Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool by Duke Ellington and Laura Rembert, arr. Reginald Thomas
9. RPM by Igmar Thomas (2021 NYO Jazz commission)
10. Run with Jones by Miguel Zenón (2018 NYO Jazz Commission)
11. Cute by Neil Hefti
12. I Be Serious About Dem Blues by John Clayton*
13. The Art of War by Ralph Peterson
14. Transitions by Sean Jones
* Only for the digital version