UMass Jazz Program Claims 3 Student Music Awards from DownBeat Magazine
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Two ensembles and one solo musician from the Jazz & African-American Music Studies Program (JAAMS) at the UMass Amherst Department of Music & Dance have been selected to receive Student Music Awards (SMA's) from DownBeat Magazine, widely recognized as the top publication devoted to “Jazz, Blues, and Beyond.” DownBeat publishes the Student Music Award winners each year in its June issue, which was published last week.
“The UMass JAAMS program has a long tradition of DownBeat award success," says JAAMS Director/Coordinator Jeffrey W. Holmes, "with close to 60 ensembles and individual students being recognized over the past thirty five years in virtually every category.” Recordings are submitted from institutions nationwide in a variety of categories and are then adjudicated by panels of respected jazz performers and educators.
This year, the UMass Graduate Jazz Composers Ensemble, led by Felipe Salles, was selected as the top Asynchronous Latin Group (Graduate College category). The group, which showcases new works by composers in the graduate Jazz Composition/Arranging program, includes Zach Robarge (flute and baritone saxophone), Kyle Murray (tenor sax), Mitch Gibbs (trumpet), Andrew Wilcox (piano), Liam Birkerts (acoustic bass), Pedro Gomes Lobato (electric bass) and Mark Walker (drums and percussion).
The UMass Vocal Jazz Group, led by Catherine Jensen-Hole, took top honors for Outstanding Performance by an Asynchronous Small Vocal Jazz Group (Undergraduate category). The winning ensemble, which has garnered numerous SMA’s over the years, consisted of soprano Hannah White, altos Emma Hagan and Alice Merville, tenor Jordan Kinder, and bass Michael O’Malley.
Pianist Coleman Hovey, who studies under Professor Holmes, was selected for Outstanding Performance by a Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist (Undergraduate category). In addition to his Jazz performance studies at UMass, Hovey is also focusing on arranging and composing, and recently had a new work entitled “Tribute Suite” premiered by the UMass Jazz Ensemble I.