The Second Annual Bandstand Academy:
The Brad Leali Jazz Orchestra featuring Cynthia Scott
Mentoring with the Masters: The Second Annual Bandstand Academy
In a master class, all the students watch and listen as the master takes one student at a time. Often, a touring artist will give a master class the day before a performance in a particular city. TBA: The Bandstand Academy innovates on the master class model by taking the master class, students and all, out of the classroom and onto the bandstand. TBA: The Bandstand Academy consists of one semi-public rehearsal (open to community students and teachers) and one public concert performance, open to all free of charge. The performance is a big band show featuring the Brad Leali Jazz Orchestra under the direction of University of North Texas Professor of Jazz Saxophone Brad Leali. The rehearsal and concert features a master jazz artist with worldwide experience who exemplifies the performance skills gained only by many hours on the bandstand with the notable band leaders in the field. This year’s visiting mentor is Cynthia Scott. All of the instrumentalists in the Brad Leali Jazz Orchestra are current or former students or faculty from UNT.
Veteran jazz masters are invited to participate in TBA at the recommendation of Brad Leali. From 1989 to 1994, Brad Leali was lead alto saxophonist for the Harry Connick, Jr., Orchestra, serving as its musical director from 1990 to 1994. In 1995, he joined the Count Basie Orchestra. Leali has been a staple in legendary jazz venues like the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Iridium, and Birdland. He performs yearly as part of the Kennedy Center Honors program.
JazzStand conceived TBA: The Bandstand Academy to answer a pressing need for the continued vitality of jazz. If our city is to enhance the understanding of and respect for jazz cultural performance traditions, preserve the unique contribution of America to the world’s musical heritage, and advance forms of expression that arose in the African American oral tradition of creating and preserving musical ideas in the act of performing, we must bridge the generation gap. Professor Brad Leali:
“What’s happening now, to be blunt, is that the musicians who had the opportunity to hone their performance skills on the road with greats like Art Blakey and Betty Carter and Horace Silver are passing on. Today’s young musicians no longer have that opportunity. Most of what they know of deep jazz traditions they will learn from recordings and video. When we don’t have that bandstand interaction, we lose that element of the music. TBA is conceived to transfer the wisdom of generations to the young artist.”
For four decades, Cynthia Scott‘s artistry has encompassed jazz, blues, R&B, and gospel music. Overseas, she has performed in Africa, Europe and Asia. She has worked with Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., as well as Lionel Hampton and Cab Calloway in their last performing years. Ms Scott’s professional singing career started in Dallas with Dallas musicians like Claude Johnson, David “Fathead” Newman, James Clay, Roger Boykin, Tommy DeSalvo, Onzy Matthews, Joe Johnson, Steve Stroud, and George Anderson.
Ms. Scott left Dallas in the late Eighties for a month long engagement in New York City’s Chelsea Place. Four weeks became three years. Cynthia made New York City her home. Following over ten years as the featured vocalist at The Supper Club in Times Square for over ten years, Scott headlined at Birdland, Iridium, and Dizzy’s Coca Cola. Cynthia earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. She has taught vocal students at The New School and City College and continues to teach privately and by Skype. As a 2004 U.S. Jazz Ambassador, Ms. Scott toured Benin, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and France for the U.S. State Department in conjunction with the Kennedy Center. She has and continues to travel and perform at Jazz Festivals, concerts in Japan, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Chile, and has just returned from a four week engagement in Bangkok.
Cynthia Scott is a composer and playwright, having studied acting under Uta Hagen and Robert Crest. Her one-woman play with music, One Raelette’s Journey, premiered in Dallas at the Water Tower Theater. The play earned Scott the 2015 First Prize Jerry Kaufman Award from the American Renaissance Theater Company in New York City. On October 28, 2017, Scott will perform for the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in Little Rock, where she was inducted in 2016.