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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 23, 2011

Ida Beam residency by percussionist Spiro includes Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit, high school Latin Jazz Festival

A weeklong Ida Beam residency by Latin percussionist Michael Spiro in the University of Iowa School of Music will include a free Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City, and a Latin Jazz Festival for high school jazz bands, including a free concert at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Parish Hall of the Trinity Episcopal Church at 320 E. College St.

While Spiro is at the UI, the public is invited to these free events:
--A lecture/rehearsal with JCL, "Jazz Cultures in America and Abroad," at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Trinity Church.
--A conga clinic at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in Trinity Church.
--A lecture for the Caribbean Diaspora and Atlantic Studies Program in International Programs from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7, in the University Capitol Centre International Commons, Room 1117. The theme will be "Lessons Learned in Cuba: Integrating Traditional Wisdom with Modern Pedagogy," and will explore how Spiro's ideas on teaching have evolved and developed as a result of his early visits to Cuba, especially in relation to his work developing curriculum in higher education institutions.

Artists in the Afro-Cuban Jazz Summit will be the UI Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Performance Group and the UI Latin Jazz Ensemble, and Spiro with the Grammy-nominated Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet from San Francisco.

The residency by percussionist, author, and scholar Spiro, who teaches world percussion in the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, will include additional lectures, and clinics and rehearsals with UI students. He has travelled annually to Cuba since 1984.

Trombonist Wallace is a faculty member at San Francisco State University,

The Dec. 8 concert will celebrate the roots, development, evolution, and the state of the art of Afro-Cuban jazz, including works featuring UI graduate students Ryan Smith and Nathan Bogert. The concert will include traditional music, as well as compositions by artists including Hermeto Pascoal, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, and Duke Ellington.

The Dec. 9 Latin Jazz Festival will feature Wallace, Spiro, and UI jazz faculty members John Rapson, Steve Grismore, James Dreier, and Brent Sandy as clinicians/instructors as the high-school bands rehearse, observe performances, hear lectures, and learn about Latin jazz.

Spiro’s education included an apprenticeship with the late Francisco Aguabella and extensive study throughout Latin America. He has travelled annually to Cuba since 1984, working with musicians including Jose Luis Quintana and Esteban Vega Bacallao.

He has published numerous books on Afro-Cuban and Latin drumming and has performed with diverse international artists including David Byrne, Cachao, the Caribbean Jazz Project, Ella Fitzgerald, Gilberto Gil, Bobby Hutcherson, and Dr. John.

Columnist Forrest Dylan Bryant of the Jazz Observer called Wallace “practically a one-man ecosystem of jazz. He is a phenomenal trombonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, with impeccable musicianship.” Wallace’s accomplishments include performances with Tito Puente, John Santos, Los Van Van, and many others. His Latin-jazz Quintet CD, “!Bien Bien!” (4.5 stars from downbeat) was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award as “Best Latin-jazz Album of the Year.”

In 2002 Wallace co-composed and co-arranged the soundtrack to "Speaking in Tongues," an award-winning documentary about bilingual education, broadcast nationwide on PBS.

For more information on Spiro's visit, contact James Dreier at or 319-621-6002.

Sponsors for the events include the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program, the Division of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UI International Programs, Remo Drum Heads, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Latin Percussion Musical Instruments, and the Iowa City Sheraton Hotel.

The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 based on a bequest from the late Ida Beam of Vinton, who willed her family farm to the UI Foundation. Proceeds from the farm's sale enabled the UI to establish a fund that brings top scholars in a variety of fields to campus for lectures and discussions.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, University News Services,