Jazz from Broadway
April 18, 2020 | 7:30 PM
This year's offering of jazz will highlight scores originally composed for Broadway musicals, now interpreted and arranged for the jazz idiom. The RCMS Jazz Quintet will be grounded by Minneapolis pianist Steve Gilbertson and will add woodwind sounds to the standard rhythm section. We will also premiere a new composition by Robert S. P. Gardner, titled “3Mornings.”
Steve Gilbertson is a jazz pianist from Minnetonka, Minnesota. He was drawn to music at an early age, beginning classical studies at age 6 and taking up jazz in his teen years. He was particularly drawn to not only the creative aspects of jazz, but also the collaborative nature of the art form.
Steve studied jazz piano at Drake University in Des Moines and lived in Des Moines for a number of years following graduation. During this time, he taught piano and played with several groups including the Des Moines Big Band and also played for various shows and traveling theatrical productions.
Steve relocated to the Minneapolis area in 2007 and since returning has played with numerous groups in venues throughout the Twin Cities, including the Dakota and the Artists’ Quarter. Steve remains an active freelance musician in the jazz, gospel, and rock styles.
His greatest musical inspirations are his mother and older brother, as well as jazz piano greats Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Brad Mehldau. Mentors/teachers have included Jan Erickson, Scott Miller, Don Bates, Andy Classen, and Laura Caviani.
Robert S. P. Gardner
Robert S.P. Gardner has studied music theory, composition, and bass playing at Augsburg College, jazz arranging at Indiana University, and band arranging and bass pedagogy at Northwestern University.
Further studies include composition and arranging with Frederic Douglas Norman, staff arranger for Mercury Records and the NBC Orchestra, and Danny Holgate of the Manhattan School of Music.
He holds an M.A. in Fine Arts/Integrated Arts Education from University of Montana’s Creative Pulse program, and an M.A. in Religious Studies, Philosophy and Literature from Indiana University. In 2010 Mr. Gardner was chosen as an inaugural member of the Composer Teaching Artist Training Program with the American Composers Forum. Since arriving in Rochester in 1991, he has been active as a full-time educator as well as a freelance bassist, composer, and arranger. His works have been performed locally by Rochester Chamber Music Society, Choral Arts Ensemble, Children’s Dance Theatre, SEMYO, Sonata Singers, and St. Paul City Ballet. Mr. Gardner currently serves as Chair of Fine Arts at Rochester Lourdes High School.
Simon Harding is a professional musician, educator, and composer/arranger with a love for all things saxophone and flute. His inspiration began at age seven, hiding in his bedroom listening to Mozart, and brought him all the way to Coastal Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with a concentration in classical saxophone. During a mandatory performance project, Simon developed an intense passion for jazz sax, beginning with Michael Brecker.
Following graduation, Simon attended the College of Charleston to focus on his new found love of jazz and to earn an Artist Certificate. While there he was selected as one of seven U.S. guest artists to perform with the San Salvador Big Band and the El Salvadoran National Youth Orchestra at the Teatro Presidente. He was also part of the top jazz ensemble at C of C which performed at the first ever Georgia Twilight Jazz Festival. There he was awarded “Outstanding Soloist.”
As a freelance saxophonist, Simon has worked with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, The O.J.’s, The Tommy Dorsey Band, Ben Folds, and Elise Testone of American Idol. He was also a regular member of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and the Darius Rucker Big Band when he resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Simon shares his passion for music education through his co-founding of the Low Country Saxophone Camp with good friend Jonathan Kammer, and through masterclasses and clinics at universities, high schools and middle schools all over the country.
Simon now resides in Cedar Falls, Iowa and works at Tenor Madness saxophone shop as well as teaching jazz at Wartburg College.
Trumpeter, composer, and educator, Jon Ailabouni is a sought after freelance artist based in Rochester. Steeped in the classical and jazz traditions, Jon’s work freely embraces diverse styles from the blues to the avant-garde and from the Caribbean to the Arab world. His improvisation as a soloist has been described as “sharp and resourceful” (AllAboutJazz.com). At home in a wide array of ensembles, Ailabouni can be found performing in the region with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, La Crosse Jazz Orchestra, Luther College Faculty Brass Quintet, and Optimism Jazz Sextet with Rich MacDonald, Larry Price, Greg Balfany, Jeff Erickson, and Karyn Quinn.
Ailabouni's interest in interdisciplinary work has led to multiple large-scale collaborations featuring his compositions including In Search of America with author Robert Wolf, Highway 57 with dancer-choreographer Blake Nellis, and Body of Water, The Invitation Game, and Who Do You Trust? with choreographer Jane Hawley. Body of Water - a unique production with dancers, musicians, and a biologist - addresses water health and sustainability and has seen numerous performances throughout the tri-state region. Jon regularly serves as a jazz worship consultant, bringing the sophistication and spontaneity of the jazz tradition into familiar hymns and liturgy in churches across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, and Texas.
A summa cum laude graduate of Luther College with a degree emphasizing classical trumpet performance, Ailabouni went on to receive a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Jon then joined the WMU music faculty, where he taught jazz brass, directed the Jazz Lab Band, and served as co-director of the Western Invitational Jazz Festival. Jon is currently on the adjunct faculty of music at both Luther College, where he directs the Jazz Band, coaches jazz combos, and teaches jazz improvisation and trumpet and also at Winona State University where he teaches in the trumpet studio.
Terry Gresser, drums, taught elementary music in the Rochester Public Schools for 28 years and retired in 2017. He has taught applied percussion methods classes for Rochester Community and Technical College for the past 18 years, as well as MU 320 for the education department of Winona State University, Rochester Campus for the past 14 years. Earlier music teaching positions at the college level were at the College of Saint Teresa and Saint Mary’s College both in Winona. His professional percussion performance career has included national and international touring in a variety of popular music performing groups, jazz combos, pit orchestras, experiences in both the theater and ballet genres, and work with the Winona State Symphony (1987-1990). He holds a BS degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland, a BA degree in Music Education from the College of Saint Teresa, Winona, and an MA in Ethnomusicology and Music Education from Saint Mary’s College in Minneapolis. He currently resides in Rochester.