The Ridgeway Arts presenting program will have an international, national and local focus, fully integrated with its educational outreach programs. The program will take place in at least four Bay Area cities. Partnerships are currently being formed with venues in six potential cities, including Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Jose and Napa.
The National/International program will have two components, one will present high profile artists with either their own ensembles, or a specially assembled ensemble to fit the artist’s vision for the series of concerts. The featured artist will also be involved in the educational programs.
The second component will be connected with the Jeff Denson Trio + project which features Jeff’s trio, augmented by a special guest artist. For the past year, this guest has been the legendary alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, with whom Jeff has had a decade-long relationship. But for this program, different high-profile guest artists will be selected for each set of events, four times a year. These guest artists will also work with Jeff to be fully integrated into Ridgeway’s Educational Outreach program.
The Local program would also be separated into two parts:
Professional: Bay Area-based professional ensembles
Student: These will include Jeff’s own student ensembles, as well as specially assembled groups culled from the students from various educational institutions in the Bay Area coordinated with the city in which the concert events are taking place. Student musicians will be selected from high school and collegiate levels. Student participation in the presenting program will take place in a number of ways, both in full student concerts under the direction of specific artist/educators, and for the finest ensembles, as opening groups for the professional concerts.
*Plans are also under consideration for a special competition, based upon a program run by Jazz Interactions in NYC in the ‘60s that helped launch the careers of Grover Washington, Billy Cobham and George Cables.
Each week for 3 weeks, 3 or 4 amateur groups would perform for a group of judges, who would select the best group. At the end of the 3 weeks, all the winners would perform together in week 4 in a final competition. The winning group would then get their own gig, either on their own or as the opening group on one of the Local Professional or possibly even (depending on quality) as an opener on National presentations.
Ridgeway Presents is also a part of the national presenting initiative of the UNITY Arts Alliance in connection with similar programs that are taking place in Seattle WA, Middletown CT and in Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens, NY.
Ridgeway Arts is dedicated to developing the Bay Area educational and performance scene. Your support enables us to sustain a variety of programs and meet administrative and operational objectives. Basically, your contributions keep us moving forward in our mission to further the preservation and growth of jazz and related styles of music.