Posing after their performance at the 38th Annual 2007 Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp held at the Birchwood Manor are the New Jersey Jazz Society 2006/2007 academic year scholarship recipients (from left): David Pollack (William Paterson University), Robert Edwards (New Jersey City University), Mark Pryzbylowski (Rowan University), Rudy Royston (Rutgers University), Gareth Bane (Rutgers University), and Jianyi Huang (Rutgers University). Photo by Tony Mottola.
As in previous years, scholarship grants were awarded at the Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp to four deserving students pursuing degrees in Jazz Studies at each of the four New Jersey Universities offering such degree programs, as well as two grants to Rutgers jazz studies students through an endowment established with the Rutgers Foundation in memory of Pee Wee Russell. The six students performed as a sextet to open the Stomp.
David Pollack, Alto Sax, William Paterson University (Warren Vaché, Sr. Scholarship). Dave is 19 years old and was born and raised in Hamilton, New Jersey. He plays four other instruments including piano and trumpet. He began improvising at 13 and writing music at 16. Not surprising that his favorite musicians are John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Dave has toured Greece with the Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra and has played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Robert Edwards, Trombone, New Jersey City University (Don Robertson Scholarship). Robert is a junior undergraduate who grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida and now lives in Hoboken. He has been studying music since the age of six, when he began piano lessons. He started writing music at the age of 10 and started improvising on the trombone at 15. His favorite musicians are Roy Hargrove and Brad Meldau and his favorite composers are Bach and Wayne Shorter.
Mark Pryzbylowski, Bass, Rowan University (Jack Stine Scholarship). Mark is a senior student and a native of Green Brook, New Jersey. His first instrument was the trombone, which he started on in the third grade. He then moved on to guitar and finally settled on the bass. He got the jazz bug in his junior year in high school and his list of favorite musicians includes Bill Evans and Ron Carter. “I create my best music when I surrender to it,” Mark says.
Rudy Royston, Drums, Rutgers University (Bill Walters Scholarship). Rudy hails from Denver, Colorado and is working toward a master’s degree in 2008. He has studied music since the age of six and began writing music at 16, with about 30 tunes in his book of work. Among his favorite composers are Duke Ellington, John Williams and Mozart. His musical inspirations are God, his wife and his children.
Gareth Bane, Baritone Sax, Rutgers University (Pee Wee Russell Scholarship). University Gareth is a Canadian, from Calgary Alberta, who will complete his masters program this May. He plays all the reeds and flute as well. His favorite musicians are “too numerous to mention.” Interestingly, his current favorite tune is a classmate’s composition. Gareth is a serious mountain biker and practices Ashtanga Yoga. His latest composition has been recorded for a new CD release.
Jianyi Huang, Piano, Rutgers University (Pee Wee Russell Scholarship). Jianyi is from Shanghai, China. He began studying piano at the age of seven and went on to study at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He will be awarded the Masters Degree in May. Jianyi’s favorite composers are Beethoven, Bach and Pat Metheny. His favorite jazz style is Post Bop. He’s been writing music for six years and his biggest musical thrill was playing at the Montreal Festival.