2019 Guest Artists
Vocal Guest Artist
Vocal Jazz program at Sacramento State, under the direction of Gaw Vang Williams
The program consists of Vox Now, C-Sus Voices, and Sac State Jazz Singers all of which are formed by audition. The program also has a beginning ensemble call Vocal Jazz and Acapella lab. This ensemble introduces new students to vocal jazz concepts and repertoire and is directed by Sac State student directors.
The sounds of Sac State Vocal Jazz ensembles are influenced by the great vocal jazz groups of the past and present: The Hi-Lo’s, Singers Unlimited, Take 6, New York Voices, The Real Group, Manhattan Transfer and others. Additionally, the ensemble strives to explore new, innovative approaches to contemporary vocal jazz and features student compositions and arrangements.
The advance ensembles tours to different colleges, high schools, and jazz festivals throughout the year. The vocal jazz program also holds a benefit concert every fall benefiting local nonprofit organizations and performs a final concert and records every semester.
The ensembles has appeared on TV and radio stations, and was recently featured in a TEDx video, all of which can be found online. The vocal jazz program placed first consecutively at the 2016 and 2017 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and took first place at Reno Jazz Festival 2017. The ensemble was awarded a 2018 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. The Sacramento State School of Music vocal jazz program has been awarded over 20 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. This year, the Sac State vocal jazz ensembles were invited to perform at the JEN (Jazz Education Network) National Conference, ACDA National Conference, CCDA Conference, and CASMEC.
Gaw Vang Williams is a vocalist and educator native to Sacramento, California. She became the director of vocal jazz program at Sacramento State in 2014, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in jazz studies and Master of Music in voice performance. She began teaching in 2004, serving as a music instructor at various high schools and music organizations. Williams is an active private music instructor and she is sought after as a clinician and adjudicator for festivals and workshops throughout United States. She currently serve as a board member of CAJ (California Alliance for Jazz) as the vocal jazz representative and is the vocal jazz traveling clinician for the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Williams was a member of the 2007 world champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps. She performs at numerous venues throughout Northern California. Professional appearances as an assisting artist include live performances with Nancy King, New York Voices, Ben Folds and the San Francisco Symphony.
Under Williams’ direction, the Sac State Vocal Jazz program has won 9 Downbeat Magazine Student awards. In addition, the Sac State vocal jazz ensembles took first in 2016 and 2017 at the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival in the collegiate vocal jazz ensemble category. The ensembles were invited to perform at the world renowned Monterey Jazz Festival. This year, the Sac State vocal jazz ensembles were invited to perform at the JEN (Jazz Education Network) National Conference, ACDA National Conference, CCDA Conference, and CASMEC.
Williams started an organization called VAPA (visual and performing arts) for All, providing free music lessons and music scholarships to disadvantaged students.
Instrumental Guest Artist
Le Boeuf Brothers
The Le Boeuf Brothers are “talented musicians and award-winning composers who channel their influences, environments, and resources into works that reflect their own identities.” (All About Jazz). Pianist Pascal Le Boeuf and saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf “pursue a hyper-fluent streamlined modern ideal” (New York Times) with “an impressive level of sophistication.” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Their latest project imaginist is a full-length album in collaboration with JACK Quartet, one of New York’s premier string quartets devoted to contemporary classical music. The hybridized 9-piece chamber ensemble also features a collection of longtime collaborators including Grammy-nominated tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel , alternating bassists Ben Street and Martin Nevin, and alternating drummers Justin Brown and Peter Kronreif. The term “imaginist” refers to the early 20th century Russian poetry movement characterized by sequences of arresting images and long chains of metaphors. Imaginist is structured to unfold like a book – complete with a prologue and epilogue. The album includes a piece based on Franz Kafka’s short story, “A Dream” narrated by actor Paul Whitworth, an exquisite corpse series based on the imaginist-esque collaborative poetry game in which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled, and “Alkaline” a hard-driving polyrhythmic mosaic.
Past projects include House Without A Door (2009) “an impressively self-assured new album, which reaches for the gleaming cosmopolitanism of our present era” (New York Times); In Praise of Shadows (2011), which “deftly blends elements of electronica with touches of indie rock and sophisticated jazz writing on this genre-defying project” (JazzTimes); and Remixed an “open-minded and masterfully crafted precursor of things to come” (All About Jazz) featuring remix collaborations with David Binney, Knower, Tim Lefebvre, Nickel Cinco and others.
In addition to their work as performer/composers with Le Boeuf Brothers, Remy and Pascal take part in a number of diverse projects. Remy has performed as a sideman with Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Donny McCaslin, Bob Mintzer, and opened for Dirty Projectors. He has also received commissions from the Jerome Foundation and Chamber Music America. Pascal frequently tours with his trio featuring bassist Linda Oh and Justin Brown. He has played as support for D’Angelo’s Black Messiah tour with Australian pop artist Meg Mac, jazz vocalist Allan Harris and the 15-piece gospel-funk band Jesus On the Mainline. Pascal composed music for the 2008 Emmy Award-winning movie King Lines, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Composition at Princeton University as a Naumburg Doctoral Fellow.
The Le Boeuf Brothers’ recent awards include Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Album and Best Eclectic Album in 2015, New Jazz Works Commissions from Chamber Music America in 2011 & 2015, a Van Lier Fellowship in 2010, an Astral Grant from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in 2008, 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition in 2010 and numerous honors from the ASCAP foundation. The Le Boeuf Brothers frequently tour internationally and have performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center.