Jazz Supergroup Spring Quartet Performs April 17 in Finney Chapel

April 9, 2019

By Erich Burnett

members of the Spring Quartet
Photo credit: courtesy Spring Quartet

Final performance of the 2018-19 Artist Recital Series also concludes a three-day celebration of the Jazz Studies degree at Oberlin; limited tickets remain.

The Spring Quartet finds itself five years into life as a performing unit, with more than a dozen decades of collective experience among its members. 

On Wednesday, April 17, the jazz supergroup will take to the stage of Finney Chapel for a 7:30 p.m. performance that marks the final date of the 2018-19 Artist Recital Series at Oberlin.

It is also the capstone event of Marking 30 Years: A Celebration of Oberlin’s Jazz Studies Degree, three days of talks, films, and performances in honor of those who helped forge Oberlin’s jazz program. Tickets for the Spring Quartet’s performance are extremely limited; all other Marking 30 Years events are free.

Though they have shared stages in various incarnations for years, it was in January 2014 that the foursome of Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding, and Leo Genovese took off as the Spring Quartet.

"They are all such outstanding musicians that the sum of the parts can't help but be magical," says Bobby Ferrazza, chair of Oberlin's Division of Jazz Studies.

In keeping with the spirit of their moniker, the members are intent on creating wholly new musical adventures with each successive performance.

“The Spring Quartet is a beautiful mixture of all our experiences and energies,” says Lovano, a Cleveland native who serves on the jazz faculty at the Berklee College of Music. “Calling it the Spring Quartet, it’s about new flowers, new blossoms, new ideas.”

Lovano is a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist who has collected more Downbeat critics’ and readers’ poll titles than he can count. In a span of 25 years, he released an incredible 25 records on Blue Note, and he has collaborated with the likes of Woody Herman, Bill Frisell, Tony Bennett, Charlie Haden, McCoy Tyner, and a slew of other jazz greats. He holds the Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance at Berklee.

A fellow Grammy-winner and a 2012 NEA Jazz Master, Jack DeJohnette is widely regarded among the greatest jazz drummers in history across a multitude of styles. Raised in the jazz scene of his native Chicago, he shared stages and served as sideman for virtually every jazz great who rolled through the Windy City, from John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Ornette Coleman to Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and Stan Getz.

A four-time Grammy winner who eschews the accolades that follow her everywhere, Esperanza Spalding was a musical prodigy who settled primarily on playing the bass and singing after years of developing facility on the violin, piano, and other instruments. She was a student of Lovano’s at Berklee, and she first recorded with DeJohnette on his 2012 release Sound Travels.

A native of Argentina, keyboardist Leo Genovese attended Berklee and has collaborated for years with Spalding on international tours and in the studio.

LIMITED TICKETS REMAIN: Tickets to the Spring Quartet at Finney Chapel are $35 ($30 for seniors, members of the military, and Oberlin faculty, staff, and alumni), with $10 tickets available for all students. Get yours by calling 800-371-0178, use the online arts guide, or stop by Oberlin’s Central Ticket Service in the Eric B. Nord Performing Arts Annex (67 N. Main St.) weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.

ALSO NOT TO BE MISSED: Oberlin's renowned jazz faculty—including all-time greats Billy Hart on drums and Gary Bartz on sax—will perform a rare set together in Finney Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16. Part of Oberlin's Marking 30 Years celebration of the Jazz Studies degree, the concert is free and open to the public. Learn more about it here.



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