What an unbelievable week we had in Montenegro at Jazz Art Jam, celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, a co-production with Jazz Art Montenegro and The Jazz Drama Program with support from the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, the municipality and Porto Montenegro. I never dreamed that this production of Nora’s Ark could take off the way it did. The kids were fantastic! 40 students from the Middle School for Music, 20 students from the High School for Music and 8 ballet dancers made the show come alive. When I arrived all the kids were singing the songs from memory with great gusto and spirit. We spent the days staging and refining the music while integrating ballet dancers into the instrumental solo breaks and narration in English and Montenegrin. In the evenings my jazz quartet of LaFrae Sci, drums, vocal Ari Roland, bass, Zaid Nasser, saxophone and myself on piano and voice played concerts-3 in total. By day we rehearsed with the students. What a spirited week it was. The kids rose the occasion and worked like professionals improving their pronunciation of the lyrics in English and deeply imbibing the feel of swing and the expression of the blues. The spirit of jazz is alive and well in Montenegro!
Hats off to my right hand–the amazing LaFrae Sci for stepping in as choreographer and more. Also thanks to Ari Roland and Zaid Nasser for taking the week out of their other extensive cultural ambassador duties to lay down the spirit of the blues so soulfully for the kids and roll with our extensive theatrical and musical schedule.
Thanks to the unbelievable vision and resourcefulness of producer Maja Popovic and all the teachers and staff who partnered with us along the way including Irena Radenovic, Vjera Nikolic, Tamara Vujosevic Mandic, Mira Popovic, Sonja Dragovic, Slobodan Bob Stanisic, Miroslav Stanisic, Mili Malovic, Nemanja Klikovac and Goran Brnovic. Also thanks to our friends at the U.S. Embassy for supporting the project!