AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
Trumpeter Sean Jones is leaving Duquesne University for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but with a one-year leave of absence he calls a “safety net.”
Edward Kocher, outgoing dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne, says he offered Jones the leave because Berklee does not offer tenures and he wanted to make sure Jones could return to Duquesne if the move did not prove satisfactory.
Jones, 35, a steadily developing jazz artist who tours internationally, will be chair of the brass program at the jazz-oriented music school.
The announcement of his move was made May 22 at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Valley Forge.
Jones says the lack of tenure is not “something you should take lightly” but, at the same time, insists he is “not one to rest on my laurels.”
Jones is in his 10th year at Duquesne, during which time he performed in many settings. He has enlivened the area jazz scene by bringing in other rising stars, such as drummer Obed Calvaire or performing with bassist Marcus Miller. He also has been recording with the Mack Avenue label in those 10 years, and his seventh album, “Im Pro Vise” will be released July 1.
“Sean's star continues to rise, so this doesn't surprise me at all,” says Mike Tomaro, director of jazz studies at Duquesne.
Jones will be an artist-in-residence at Duquesne for the year, he and Kocher say, a role that could become indefinite if he stays in Boston.
“The move to Boston is basically a change of address,” Jones says. “Pittsburgh is my home. My family is just up the road in Warren, Ohio.”
The trumpeter says he will be returning to Pittsburgh probably five times a semester to do some work with classes, some private instruction and to work with ensembles and the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, which he founded with Tomaro.
While he will continue to work with the big band, Jones says Tomaro will become co-artistic director, instead of the associate artistic director he is now.
Tomaro says the leave of absence puts the jazz program “on hold for a year,” because Jones will not be replaced. His educational role will be done by other faculty members or musicians who will be brought in.
“We will continue to grow, with or without Sean,” he says. “That is true for Duquesne and the PJO, as well.”
Kocher says the area is “rich and deep” with musicians who can help in those jobs, but adds “the irrepressible nature of Sean Jones is something you can't replace.”
Regardless of the position at Berklee, Kocher says he wants “Duquesne to maintain its relationship with Sean Jones for many years to come.”
Kocher, 64, will be leaving his post as dean on July 1 after 14 years in the position. He is taking a one-year sabbatical to examine forms of educational technology. He will return to Duquesne in August 2015 to assume the William Patrick Power Endowed Chair in Academic Leadership, a course of study he says will focus on getting performers and non-performers to participate more in the arts.
A national search is under way for Kocher's replacement.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.