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For Jazz Appreciation Month, NYU's Wayne Shorter Ensemble Pays Tribute to Its Namesake

The NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble, (l-r): Dave Pietro, Paul Shaw, Nicholas Vardanega, Minji Kim, Chris Blackwell, and Dara Karbassioon
The NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble, (l-r): Dave Pietro, Paul Shaw, Nicholas Vardanega, Minji Kim, Chris Blackwell, and Dara Karbassioon

New York University’s Jazz Studies program is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, hallowed ground for generations of jazz artists and fans alike. To celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month, assistant professor and saxophonist Dave Pietro introduces us to the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble, which explores the compositions of NYU alumnus and Newark native Wayne Shorter.

Shorter, the enormously influential saxophonist and composer, happens to be the subject of a festival this week at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. (He closes it out on Sunday night with his acclaimed quartet, and special guest pianist Herbie Hancock.) 
 
But the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble, one of the school's 30 jazz ensembles, proves that Shorter's music is also an everyday preoccupation. The group, a septet, performed three Shorter compositions in our studio: "Beautiful Black Eyes"; "Joy Ryder" and "Look at the Birdie."
 
The NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble is: 

  • Dave Pietro - director, soprano saxophone (Southboro, MA)
  • Paul Shaw - drums  (Millville, NJ)
  • Nicholas Vardanega - guitar (Sydney, Australia) 
  • Minji Kim - piano  (Seoul, Korea)
  • Chris Blackwell - trombone  (Nashville, TN)
  • Oliver Bomann - bass  (Wellington, New Zealand)
  • Dara Karbassioon - tenor saxophone (Agoura Hills, CA)

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Williams brings a rich and extensive background in media to WBGO with a reputation as a creative, people-centric, and data-driven leader. He has held key leadership roles at top media organizations across a diverse range of markets including Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, New York City, and most recently Seattle. Williams is also a nationally recognized authority on best practices for jazz radio programming, research, marketing, and administration and content production. A jazz aficionado, Williams previously served as Director of Programming for WBGO.