AU Press Releases

Jazz Improv Master Dave Frank to play, lecture and chat at Alfred University

Dave Frank

Dave Frank

Alfred University’s Honors Program will host Dave Frank, founder of the Dave Frank School of Jazz, in New York City, for a two-day visit April 12-13 that will include a jazz piano performance, a workshop for local musicians on jazz improvisation, a Bergren Forum and a meeting and talk with Honors Program students called “Pursuing Your Passions.”

Frank’s visit is also possible through the generous support of the David and Elizabeth Miller Performing Arts Fund.

Frank will meet with Honors Program students for tea at the Honors House at 4 p.m. April 12, then direct an improvisation workshop at 8 p.m. in the Miller Performing Arts Center. Frank’s Bergren Forum will be held at 12:10 p.m. April 13 in Howell Hall, and he will perform at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of April 13 in Miller Performing Arts Center.

The improvisation workshop, Bergren Forum, and performance are free and open to the public.

Frank is a renowned music educator in the field of jazz improvisation. He co-authored (with John Amaral) The Joy of Improv, a two-part guide published by Hal Leonard Books, and has produced dozens of popular on-line jazz video classes. From 1987 to 2014, he served as Associate Professor of Piano at the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, then moved to New York City and formed the Dave Frank School of Jazz, which provides in-house and on-line instruction to musicians around the world.

As an educator, Frank has insisted jazz improvisation is a musical craft that can be taught just as any other craft, passed from a practicing master to an aspiring apprentice. “It is an absolute subject that can anybody can learn,” he says.

Not that it’s easy. Frank breaks jazz improvisation into two basic areas of study, including what he calls “the nuts and bolts” of musicianship that require hundreds of hours of practice. The second area, which he calls “improv concepts,” involves “how you take those raw materials and make music out of them. … These are specific concepts that can be taught and learned by anyone,” he maintains.

Frank will elaborate on that belief in his Bergren Forum, “Fifteen Elements for the Advanced Jazz Pianist; Analysis of a Solo Jazz Performance,” held in Howell Hall instead of the customary Nevins Theater venue on the Alfred University campus.

Frank has presented solo jazz concerts and master classes in numerous countries in Europe, Africa and South America and has performed as a featured artist and clinician at major jazz festivals including the 2012 Jazzheads Jazz Festival and the 2001 and 2003 Montreux Jazz Festivals. He has been featured in articles in the Boston Globe, Keyboard Magazine and The Chronicle of Higher Learning, and he was recently the featured guest on the National Public Radio program Jazz Inspired with Judy Carmichael. His four critically acclaimed solo piano CD’s – Portrait of New York, Turning It Loose, Ballads and Burners, and Power of the Piano – have been released under the Jazzheads label.