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Arts and Theater 1

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Black Tie International:  East End Arts Council



Riverhead  - Thanks to support from the Jazz Foundation of America, the East End Arts Council will continue to hold monthly Jazz Improv sessions with master jazz artists Billy Johnson and Teddy Charles, with the next session scheduled for Thursday June 17  from 7-8:30 PM in Riverhead. Upcoming summer sessions are Thursday July 8, and Thursday August 12, both from 7-8:30 PM.


Sessions are "living room style", held upstairs in the Arts Council's Carriage House studio. Each meeting will focus on interactively informing and educating participants in all aspects of jazz, and the audience is encouraged to bring instruments and join in,  as many have been doing. Even if you don't play, but just enjoy listening to and learning about Jazz music, this is a great opportunity. What is so unique about this Improv clinic, as Billy Johnson states, is that it's not a classroom it is "a chance to work on the music the way jazz musicians used to learn - by playing together in an informal, comfortable setting -  letting the music develop naturally, by bouncing ideas off one another."


There is a nominal fee of $10, payable at the door, to attend. Sessions are free for East End Arts Ccouncil members and current music students of the EEAC School of the Arts. For additional information call 631. 369. 2171 or visit   


Billy Johnson, bass player, was born during the golden age of jazz in Milwaukee to legendary local performer, William �Scat� Johnson. As soon as he was old enough, Bill accompanied his father to gigs at historic Bronzeville and Milwaukee clubs. Being thoroughly immersed in music from infancy, it was only natural for him to go on to Wisconsin Conservatory College of Music where he attended from 1974-1978. In 1979 Billy migrated to New York City where he climbed the competitive ranks of the New York City Jazz scene while studying with such jazz greats as Ron Carter, Richard Davis, Buster Williams, Cecil McBee and Rufus Reid. At this time Billy received a full scholarship to attend at Long Island University where he was later named as Bass and Jazz Combo Instructor. While working as a street musician in NYC Billy was noticed by singer, Abbey Lincoln. His residency with Lincoln�s band, accompanied by hard work and determination paved the way to touring with Lionel Hampton and Illinois Jaquet, with whom he played with at the 1993 Presidential Inaugural Ball. He toured worldwide with Arthur Taylor (Taylor�s Wailers) as well as with other greats such as Abraham Burton, Marc Carey, Charles Davis, Wallace Roney and the Geri Allen Trio. Billy�s love of jazz has led him to share his experiences and skills with the community by teaching and performing in local schools, theatres and churches.


Teddy Charles is considered one of the great jazz vibraphonists and composers of all time, playing with such jazz legends as Charlie Mingus, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. As a student at Julliard in the mid 40s, he haunted New York's jazz clubs, occasionally sitting in with the bands on vibes or piano. His break came unexpectedly one night when he was asked to sit in on piano with Coleman Hawkin's band for the overdue Thelonious Monk. Soon after, Charles began to appear regularly with the top jazz groups of the day, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Buddy De Franco, playing alongside and writing for such jazz stars as Coltrane, Parker, Max Roach and Miles Davis. He recently appeared with Max Roach, David Amram, Lee Konitz. In the early 1950s he began leading his own groups, composing, producing and recording original works such as No More Nights, Blues Become Elektra and Word from Bird.


For more information contact the School of the Arts at
631. 369. 2171 or  email us at:



East End Arts Council, established in 1972,  is a 501(c)3
not-for-profit organization recognized by the IRS and the NYS Bureau of Charities.  Proceeds of all events, sales, classes, donations and memberships benefit our mission of bringing the arts to everyone and inspiring our communities through service, advocacy and education.


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