Ramon Ricker and the Allan Vaché Quartet

What’s with all this Entrepreneurship Stuff: I Just Want to Play the Clarinet!

Ramon Ricker

Ramon Ricker

To open the Allan Vaché recital, Ramon Ricker gave a compelling discussion about entrepreneurship as it is taughtat the Eastman School of Music.  He argues that of the 330,000 music majors in the United States, very few schools teach how best to bridge the gap between the ivory tower and the “real world.” At Eastman, he teaches how to build your career around your interest, not just winning an orchestral audition or teaching band.  His discussion of his Lego exercise provided a compelling analogy that when you are a budding musician, everyone’s Legos are pretty much the same. We all learn the Mozart Concerto and Klosé scales.  As we grow, he says, we develop new skills that are unique to us.  The best part about Legos, he adds, is that at any time, we are free to wipe them all out and start fresh.  The best jobs, he concludes are those we create for ourselves.  A more in-depth discussion can be found in his book Lessons from a Street-Wise Professor.

Allan Vaché

Allan Vaché

Following Ramon Ricker’s brief discussion of entrepreneurship, Allan Vaché and his ensemble performed a thoroughly enjoyable series of tunes from the big-band era.  The rhythm section included Troy Davis, drums, John Previti, bass, Tom Mitchell, guitar, and Willis DeLony, piano.  One element of his performance, for which this listener is grateful, is that he used no amplification for his, the pianist’s, or drummer’s sounds. It was wonderful to hear Mr. Vaché’s tone in an unprocessed, natural, manner as it was very clear and smooth, unlike many jazz players.  His improvisations were easy to follow and illustrated his very easy-sounding, and flexible altissimo register.  Tunes played on this recital included Cole Porter’s Just One of those Things, and You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To; Nat King Cole’s It Could Happen to You, and There Will Never Be Another You; and Duke Ellington’s Do Nothing ‘til You Hear from Me, which included a very nice reference to If I Only Had a Brain from The Wizard of Oz as played by Mr. Mitchell. Of the most remarkable aspects of this recital was the incredible sensitivity of the rhythm section, especially the pianist, Mr. DeLony.  On many occasions, Vaché would play an idea, only to have it very skillfully echoed several bars later.  From this listener’s perspective it was a pleasure to watch these gentlemen play this recital.

–Notes by Dr. Joshua Meitz
Dr. Joshua R. Mietz teaches clarinet at both Fort Lewis and San Juan Colleges and serves as Co-Director of Choirs at the First United Methodist Church in Durango, Colorado. 


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Filed under Day 1, Opening Address, Recital

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