There was a new sound echoing in the halls of the Berklee Valencia campus this weekend. First you felt the kick. Then you heard the snare. The bass hit you in the your gut and made you want to move. Rhymes flew by at light speed with tasty turntable fills and horn and synth lines filling the air. As you peeked through the doorway of B-81, Needle-Juice, Raydar, The One and Kai are “holding forth” in an epic scene that brings world class producers, DJ, MCs, composers, electronic artists together from Los Angeles, New York and Boston to teach a group of students from 13 countries to learn the craft of utilizing music technology in production and live performance.
For me, this is a long time coming. I have had the amazing fortune of knowing, listening to, learning from and performing with these amazing teachers and musicians. Having traveled with them separately to many places around the world, I thought it would be incredibly hip to bring them all together for the first time at the new campus in Valencia, Spain. Let me introduce this amazing crew of the 2012 Re:Tool program.
• Professor of Music Production and Engineering Stephen Webber (aka Needle Juice)
• Berklee Alum, Faculty Member in the Ensemble and Songwriter Departments and Artist in New York City Brian Ellis (aka Raydar)
• Berklee Alum, Assistant Professor of Electronic Production and Design Kai Turnbull
• Grammy Award Winner Producer, Berklee Alum and Artist based in Los Angeles Dawaun Parker (aka The One)
The experience levels of the students in the program have run the gamut for those just beginning to approach the world of technology in music to those that are working a DJs and electronic musicians. The students have been treated to an amazing series of lectures, master classes and a faculty showcase. The topics ranged from Listen Like a Producer to the Art of the DJ to production master classes where the faculty members listen too and critiqued student works. Stephen Webber also show a pre-pre-premiere of his truly innovative Stylus Symphony. Additionally, the attendees had the chance to get their hands dirty with some amazing new gear — both analogue and digital. Huge thanks goes to Stephen for working closely with Berklee Alum Tony Lamond and everyone at Numark-Alesis-Akai for sponsoring the program.
Re:Tool is the last in the series of 4 programs produced by the Office of International Programs with the help of our colleagues in the Office of Summer Programs at the new campus in Valencia this summer. Most gracious thanks to all of the faculty members, artists and staff members that supported this event. It has been an amazingly collaborative experience.
Keep your eyes open for more International Programs coming up later this summer, fall and next spring. A few things are on the books, including Hong Kong, Helsinki and Sao Paulo. As detailed come available, we will blast them out. Be sure to connect with is on Facebook.”
2012’s Grammy weekend found elite Berklee alumni attending a private brunch honoring Quincy Jones and the Berklee Grammy legacy. Peter Gordon (Berklee Center – LA) and Cynthia Bethune (Director of Special Events) hosted the event, which was held at the Conga Room at LA Live, a short walk from the Staples Center where the Grammy’s are held. (Special thanks to alum Henri Yonet for the connection to the venue).
After some initial chatting and mingling, Peter Gordon welcomed us all. “We’re a small college, but have such a huge presence recognized by the Grammy awards each year. Right now is one of the most exciting times for Berklee. It’s inspiring to be a part of this community.” He then introduced King. Composed of alumna Paris Strother, her twin sister Amber Strother and alumna Anita Bias, King opened for Prince at the LA Forum last year. During their soulful set, they sang an original song, “Supernatural”, and dedicated it to Quincy Jones.
Afterwards, President Roger H. Brown took the stage. “I thought a band named King would be perfect to honor Quincy Jones,” he began. “We’re here to acknowledge the milestone of 200+ Berklee alumni winning Grammys. This year we have 30 Grammy nominations. Last year, our own Esperanza Spalding won Best New Artist, beating out Justin Beiber.” The president also acknowledged alumna Paula Cole in attendance. Cole won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1998. A few other alumni guests in attendance: Steve Vai, Terri Lyne Carrington, Keith Harris, Jeff Bhasker, Gavin Lurssen, Manda Mosher, and Ryan Shore.
President Brown explained that Quincy Jones has over 10% of the Grammy wins that Berklee claims. The late Arif Marden holds the second place for most Berklee Grammy wins. “What is so special about Berklee?” President Brown asked. “Having some of our earliest students, including Quincy Jones, helped build the reputation we have today. And with that, we’re honoring Quincy Jones with a studio named after him in the new Berklee building — Q27.”
Quincy Jones came up to accept his award. “I’m absolutely addicted to the road,” he said as he talked about his career highlight. As he spoke, his words formed nuggets of advice. “Make those mistakes. A LOT of them” and “When you go to other places, listen to the music they do. Eat the food they do. And learn 30 words in their language.”
But finally, as if to reiterate his point all along, he just said “You’ve got to go, to know“. Judging from his life successes, Jones has come a long way and he knows it.
The event closed with a special performance by Lalah Hathaway, accompanied by Paris Strother from King, to honor Quincy.
Fazendo história como a primeira musicista a capturar o Grammy de Melhor Artista a baixista, vocalista e compositora Esperanza Spalding ’05 foi homenageada com o prêmio dia 13 de Fevereiro, tendo vencido artistas bastante populares como Justin Bieber, Florence & the Machine, Drake, e Mumford & Sons. Este acontecimento marcou a segunda vez que um alumni da Berklee conquistou esta categoria; Paula Cole’ 90 foi a ganhadora em 1997.
It was the moment that broke a million 16-year-old hearts: Esperanza Spalding, not J***** B1383R, was called up for the Best New Artist Grammy. But Spalding herself was 16 (okay, 17) not long ago, and starting her studies* at Berklee.
I spoke with two professors who taught her that very first semester. The conversations have been edited for length.
Were you in class with Esperanza before she got famous? Post your impressions in the comments.
* Psst. Justin. Call us. And by “us” I mean the Berklee Admissions Department. We can totally work something out. Don’t give up hope.
Ron Mahdi, associate professor, Ensemble Dept.
Class: private bass lesson
When did you meet Esperanza?
I was her private teacher when she first came to Berklee. She was 17 years old. At one of the lessons she just asked me Ron, guess what day it is? It’s my 18th birthday. She was young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, trying to realize her dreams.
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