Keith Hall

Dominic Gladstone

Andrew Rathbun is the professor of saxophone at Western Michigan University. He's also a composer and recording artist who's released "around" 15 albums, and a colleague of Jazz Currents host Keith Hall, who teaches jazz drumming at WMU. For the first time in the series, Rathbun persuades Hall to play with him and bassist John Hébert, who joined the WMU jazz faculty in 2019. 


Casey Spring Photography

Keith Hall, a professional jazz drummer and Western Michigan University music professor, has added another project to his plate: podcast host. The first episode of Real Music Talk will premiere on Sep 1. 


matthewfries.com

Matthew Fries is looking forward to performing in the Wellspring Theatre at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Jul 22, with his friends John Hébert on bass and Keith Hall on drums. It will be streamed online at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival website, as part of its Virtually Gilmore series. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Fries says he plans to play a number of his own compositions, some written years ago, some just weeks ago. 

Fries is the professor of jazz piano at Western Michigan University. In late March, he had to switch to online teaching when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school to close its doors. Fries "had to re-think" how to teach, overcome technical issues, and provide assistance to students without access to pianos at home. When many of his students became active in the Black Lives Matter protests, they challenged the status quo to the faculty in new, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations. Fries says that the WMU jazz department is "seven white guys in love with a music that is 100 percent the result of Black culture." He plans to be more vocal in support of his students' concerns. "There's hope in the energy behind this," Fries says.


Gulnara Khamatova

The original music and improvisations of both Rob Clearfield and alto saxophonist Caroline Davis is the starting point for the jazz quartet Persona, which is bringing its new album, Anthems, on tour to Western Michigan University at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, Nov 12 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. Joining them on the album, and on tour, are bassist Sam Weber and drummer Jay Sawyer, both Western Michigan University jazz alumni. All four Persona members and WMU professor of jazz drums Keith Hall joined Cara Lieurance in the studio to talk about their work and listen to some of the new tracks.


Gus Cantavero

Western Michigan University's Jazz Masters Series will present one of the foremost jazz bassists of today at 7:30 pm Thursday, Oct 24 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall, in a concert that will also feature student jazz ensembles and the Western Jazz Collective, a faculty group.  John Patitucci has united different worlds from the beginning, as a musician who splits his time between instruments (the electric and acoustic bass), coasts (raised in Brooklyn, NY and California) and music (jazz, pop, classical, African, Latin and more). In a conversation with Cara Lieurance and WMU professor of drums Keith Hall, Patitucci speaks in depth about the meaning of music, its power of communication, and the higher purpose it can serve in the world. 


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