Hank Jones, Mccoy Tyner, Enrico Rava Honored by Berklee College of Music at Umbria Jazz

Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown conferred honorary doctor of music degrees upon pianists Hank Jones and McCoy Tyner, and trumpeter Enrico Rava for their enduring contributions to jazz and culture, July 16, at the Sala del Notari. The Boston-based college was in Perugia celebrating its 20th season of innovating jazz education at the Umbria Jazz Festival, with Berklee Summer School at Umbria Jazz Clinics. In previous trips to the festival, Berklee has also presented honorary doctorates to Sonny Rollins, Giovanni Tomasso, Pino Candini, Bobby McFerrin, Ray Brown, Jim Hall, Johnny Griffin, and Carlo Pagnotta.

86-year-old Hank Jones is one of the most versatile and durable modern pianists in jazz. He has recorded both as a leader and with such major jazz figures as Coleman Hawkins, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, and Ben Webster. An outstanding accompanist of singers, Jones spent 1948 – 1953 backing Ella Fitzgerald.

One of the most important pianists of the last 30 years, McCoy Tyner secured his place in jazz history for his work as a member of the legendary John Coltrane Quartet. Tyner has also had a successful career as a leader, and his 1967 recording for Blue Note, The Real McCoy, stands as one of the great recordings in jazz.

Arguably the most internationally renowned jazz artist to ever come out of Italy, trumpeter and composer Enrico Rava has made over 90 recordings, including 25 as a leader. He has collaborated with a long list of Italian and American artists such as Franco D’Andrea, Enrico Pieranunzi, Massimo Urbani, Cecil Taylor, John Abercrombie, Roswell Rudd, Jimmy Lyons, and Archie Shepp, among others.

"I have always been impressed by the powerful heritage of art and music in Italian culture, and it is my honor to share with Italy, and the rest of the world, a legacy rooted in my country – jazz, ” said Berklee President Roger Brown. “I can think of no finer way to honor this music than by celebrating the work of three men who helped create and carry forward this tradition – Hank Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Enrico Rava.”

On Sunday, July 18, Berklee awarded $150, 000 in scholarships to a number of outstanding student musicians, during a concert at the Scuola Elementare Ciabatti" Via Brunacci Brunamonti. Since the beginning of the program, approximately $1 million worth of scholarships have been awarded, and nearly 5, 000 students have sharpened their playing and performing skills at the Summer School. Many of these recipients have excelled at Berklee, and gone on to prominent careers in the music industry.

Italians who got their start at the Summer School and then went on to Berklee and eventually bigger things include bassists Matt Garrison (solo, and with Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, The Gil Evans Orchestra, Chaka Khan) and Marco Panascia (Ben Dixon, Joe Sample, Michel Legrand, Teodross Avery, Lewis Nash) and 2005 Festival performer, Verve recording artist Chiara Civello.

This year, Berklee celebrates its 20th season of jazz education at Umbria, with Berklee Summer School at Umbria Jazz Clinics, held at the Scuola Elementare Ciabatti" Via Brunacci Brunamonti. Over those 20 years, the college has brought a sample of its jazz and improvisation curriculum to mostly young Italian and other European musicians whose source of music education was mainly traditional conservatory training. This summer’s school is full to capacity, as it is every year, with 240 students who will attend from all over Europe, with others who traditionally come from Africa, Australia, Turkey, the U.S., among other countries.

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