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Maryland Summer Jazz Festival Dives Deep into Jazz

11/05/2010 14:49


Rockville, Md. (PRNewswire/ -- Six years ago, internationally respected jazz saxophonist and educator Jeff Antoniuk decided to start a jazz camp that would help musicians get out of the basement and onto the bandstand. The transplanted Canadian was fortunate - he did not need to look far for help.

Members of his own critically acclaimed quartet, Jeff Antoniuk and the Jazz Update, had done their share of touring, recording and teaching and all were university jazz professors in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Antoniuk himself taught saxophone at Towson University; bassist Tom Baldwin was at University of Maryland; pianist Wade Beach taught at George Mason; and percussionist Tony Martucci was at Virginia Commonwealth University. It was obvious they should become core faculty.

Over the years the adult jazz camp was expanded to two sessions and public concerts were added. Today the Maryland Summer Jazz Festival brings in over a dozen guest artists yearly to teach in the classrooms and perform on concert stages in and around the nation's capital.

The Guest Artists


Among the exciting guest artists this year is one of the most accomplished women in jazz, percussionist Sherrie Maricle, PhD. She has been honored with many awards including The Kennedy Center Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. Maricle leads the famed Diva Orchestra. She also performs with The New York Pops and is their director of education. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl.

Also new to the festival this year is saxophonist Walt Weiskopf who is highly regarded as a composer, author and for his technical prowess; he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan and with jazz pianist and arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi. He is an associate professor at the Eastman School of Music.

Guitarist Steve Rochinski traveled far from his roots in Washington, D.C. to work with top players such as Tal Farlow, Tim Hagans and Joe Lovano. In 1984 he left the road to teach at Berklee College of Music. He records on Germany's leading jazz guitar label, Jardis Records. His books and recordings are sold internationally and students come from all over the world to study with him.


Young pianist Zaccai Curtis is the leader of the New York-based band Insight. He began a meteoric rise in the Latin Jazz genre even before graduating from the New England Conservatory in 2005. He has won numerous awards and commissions and a Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism Artist Fellowship for original composition in 2007.

Trumpeter Kenny Rittenhouse is a jazz professor at George Mason University. He performs with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Army Blues Jazz Ensemble and his own quartet. With a master's degree in jazz performance from the University of Maryland, he also works with jazz educator Jamey Aebersold.


Jazz Camp for Grown-Ups

At the heart of the festival is a jazz day camp featuring two sessions of intensive instruction for adults. Teachers represent many university jazz programs and are the same fantastic players heard in the public concerts.

Workshops are structured to help gifted amateurs and semi pros improve technique and improvisational skills to help them get gigging. The camp has been the catalyst for many popular jazz bands performing in the region. Scholarships and internships encourage young talent from high school to college age.


Public Performances
The event kicks off with a July 20 concert featuring Jeff Antoniuk and the Jazz Update at Blues Alley, the nation's premiere jazz club, located in Washington, D.C. The group will celebrate the recent release of their CD, Brotherhood. Their 2006 CD, Here Today, enjoyed extensive airplay in the U.S. and Canada and went into a second pressing after the first sold out.

Additional All Stars and Student Concerts will feature the guest artists described above and many others. The family-friendly events are held on July 23 and July 30 at the jazz camp site: Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville at 10701 Old Georgetown Road.

The deadline for jazz workshop registration is June 30. Concert tickets are available May 15, 2010. Early purchase is recommended since all events sold out last year. For artist biographies and more information, call 443-702-7016 or visit


  Jeff Antoniuk:

  Sherrie Maricle:

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Source: Maryland Summer Jazz


CONTACT: Paula Phillips, +1-443-702-7016,

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