An RRR Event

Hear, Think, Act:

Jazz Forms of/in/for Life

Jazz — the artistic genre born in the cotton fields of twentieth century America that would spark diverse fields of thought, culture and creativity all over the world. Born out of severe social distress and ethnic struggle, Jazz accompanied post-industrial society in nearly all of its dramatic moments, as it adapted to and was absorbed by new and old cultural spaces.

But Jazz should not be limited to its historical context. In fact, in its commitment to concepts such as improvisation, inner truth, dialogue, polyrhythm and social consciousness, Jazz is especially relevant to today’s age of technological automation, social distancing, and cultural polarization.

Monday, June 7, 2021



9:00-9:15am EST | 4:00-4:15pm IST

Research, Reform, Revive: Life Forms in Jazz

Dr. Aviv Livnat, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Tel Aviv University Dr. Edan Raviv, NYU Tel Aviv

Dr. Aviv Livnat is an artist, Jazz musician and a lecturer at the Bezalel Art Academy and Tel Aviv University and NYU TA where he is also the curator of the NYUTA Core Collection of Contemporary Art. His areas of interest lie in the history and philosophy of the arts, East European Jewish history, Yiddish culture and the Avant-garde. Aviv is also a social activist; he established and heads the Raz-Ram Foundation, a special art foundation operating in diverse artistic fields among Arab, Druze, Bedouin and Jewish children and communities. He is the director of the Korczak Academic Forum and is engaged in the development of research, reform and revival activities both within and beyond the boundaries of academia.


Dr. Edan Raviv is the assistant director for academics at NYU Tel Aviv. In this role, Edan is responsible for ensuring that NYU’s academic curriculum, policies and learning standards are implemented locally. Edan holds a Ph.D. in political science from Tel Aviv University, a master’s in politics from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in global and international studies from UC Santa Barbara. His intellectual interests include comparative political systems, political ideology, radicalism, extremism, political philosophy, political entrepreneurship, and social innovation. In addition, Edan is engaged in the development of research, reform and revival activities both within and beyond the boundaries of academia.


9:55-10:35am EST | 4:55-5:35pm IST

The Mind of Music: Jazz Forms in Life

Prof. Dave Schroeder, Chair, Department of Music & Performing Arts Professions, New York University

Dave Schroeder, B.M.E. University of Northern Iowa, M.M. New England Conservatory, D.A., New York University is Chair of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at NYU Steinhardt. He is a jazz musician, historian and author of the book From The Minds of Jazz Musicians: Conversations with the Creative and Inspired. As the former Director of Jazz Studies at MPAP over the past sixteen-years, he developed an interactive musical environment between his students and artist/faculty, taking advantage of NYU’s proximity to legendary jazz venues and other music industry opportunities throughout NYC. Schroeder is also the creator and host of the NYU Jazz Interview Series on YouTube that has over one-million followers.

As a performer, Schroeder is the artistic director for Combo Nuvo, the NYU Jazz Faculty-in-Residence Ensemble performing alongside such jazz artists as Lenny Pickett, Tom Scott, Billy Drewes, Lenny White, Lou Marini, Paul McCandless, Rich Shemaria, Brad Shepik, Mike Richmond, and  John Hadfield. The group appears regularly at landmark NYC music venues including the Blue Note Jazz Club and Jazz at Lincoln Center and has been featured with the Costa Rica National Symphony, The United Arab Emirates Philharmonic in Abu Dhabi and in Ulaanbaatar with the Morin Khuur Ensemble; the National Symphony of Mongolia.

 Schroeder’s interest in combining the power of music with social and political change issues is demonstrated in his project One World Suite. Along with his faculty and student group Combo Nuvo, One World Suite + 500 Harmonicas has been performed frequently at climate change events in Washington D.C. as well as for the United Nation’s International Day of Peace in Washington Square Park. The grand finale of the suite includes Schroeder’s composition The Oceans where every audience member is given harmonica to play along with the group to reinforce that everyone has a voice on our planet and by combining our voices, through music, we can create a unified positive message for solving climate issues.


11:30-12:30pm EST | 6:30-7:30pm IST

On Improvisation and Orientation in Compositional and Physical Spaces

Prof. Asher Arnon, Bezalel Academy of Art & Design, Jerusalem

Asher Arnon is a professor in visual communications and interdisciplinary studies at the Bezalel Art and Design Academy in Jerusalem. He has degrees in graphic design (B.Des) from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem and an MA degree in architecture and urban culture from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. He also studied in the jazz department of the Rimon, School of Jazz & Contemporary Music.

Based on his interdisciplinary practical and academic background his creative work spans a wide range of commercial and artistic projects in diverse formats comprising printed and digital media, urban design and installations.

Currently Asher conducts a practice-based research project as a PhD candidate at the Music Technology Institute at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. Aiming at synthesising his fields of knowledge, Asher’s research project, titled ‘Visual Music Strategies and the Sense of Place’, deals with issues regarding synergetic interrelations between image and music and the notion of ‘place’ with a particular focus on the experience-interpretation continuum manifested by orientation through spatial-visual-sonic artefacts.

Money Jungle: Reviving the Rent Party while caring for the legacy and economics of jazz in NYC

Mr. Justin Randolph Thompson, Founder & Director, Friskin’ The Whiskers

Justin Randolph Thompson is a new media artist, cultural facilitator and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Living between Italy and the US since 1999, Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence, a multi-faceted exploration of African and African Diasporic cultures in the context of Italy founded in 2016.

Thompson is a recipient of a Louise Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, two Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants, A Jerome Fellowship from Franconia Sculpture Park and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park. His life and work seek to deepen the discussions around socio-cultural stratification and hierarchical organization by employing fleeting temporary communities as monuments and fostering projects that connect academic discourse social activism and DIY networking strategies in annual and biennial gathering, sharing and gestures of collectivity.


9:15-9:55am EST | 4:15-4:55pm IST

From Protest to Change: Jazz Forms for Life

Prof. Robert G. O'Meally, Founder & Director, Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University

Robert G. O’Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he has served on the faculty for twenty-five years. The founder and director of Columbia’s Center for Jazz Studies, O’Meally is the author of The Craft of Ralph Ellison, Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, The Jazz Singers, and Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey. His edited volumes include The Jazz Cadence of American Culture, Living With Music: Ralph Ellison’s Essays on Jazz, History and Memory in African American Culture, The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (co-editor), and the Barnes and Noble editions of Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and Frederick Douglass. For his production of a Smithsonian record set called The Jazz Singers, he was nominated for a Grammy Award. O’Meally has co-curated exhibitions for The Smithsonian Institution, Jazz at Lincoln Center and The High Museum of Art (Atlanta). He has held Guggenheim and Cullman Fellowships, and was a recent fellow at Columbia’s new Institute for Ideas and Imagination at the Global Center/Paris. His new books are The Romare Bearden Reader (edited for Duke University Press, 2019) and Antagonistic Cooperation: Collage, Jazz, and American Fiction (Columbia University Press, 2020).


10:35-11:30am EST | 5:35-6:30pm IST

Connect: Jazz Forms of Life

Lenny White | Charles Tolliver | Buster Williams

Leonard “Lenny” White III is best known for playing in Chick Corea’s Return to Forever and being one of the forerunners of jazz-rock/funk.

White was born in New York City. A self-taught, left- handed drummer on a right-handed kit, he began his career in local groups, and playing regularly with Jackie McLean in the late 1960s. In 1969, he first appeared on Miles Davis’ historic recording on Bitches’ Brew and later in 1970 he played with Freddie Hubbard on Red Clay before joining Corea’s Return to Forever and Azteca in 1972. For five years, he recorded a number of albums with Return to Forever including the award winning “No Mystery” and “Romantic Warrior. When the group split up in 1977 White signed with the Nemperor label (via Atlantic) and recorded two albums as leader.

In 1978, he switched to Elektra for his album Best of Friends, before forming the group Twennynine in 1979, with Carlo Vaughn (vocals), Jocelyn Smith (vocals), Skip Anderson (keyboards), Barry Johnson (bass), and Eddy Martinez (guitar). He later became one of the Jamaica Boys, a group also including Marcus Miller (bass) and Dinky Bingham (vocals), and worked with all-star groups Echoes of an Era and Griffith Park.

White has played with many of the greatest jazz musicians, including Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, and Stan Getz.


Charles Tolliver began his professional career and simultaneously his recording debut with the saxophone giant Jackie McLean on Blue Note Records in 1964. Since then he has become one of the all time preeminent trumpeters in Jazz as well as one of its most gifted composer/arranger bandleaders. He is also a Grammy nominated recipient for his Blue Note Records recording “With Love”.

 With a career that has spanned five decades he has recorded and/or performed with such renowned artists as Roy Haynes, Hank Mobley, Willie Bobo, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Booker Ervin, Gary Bartz, Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Oliver Nelson, Stanley Cowell, Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Louis Hayes, Roy Ayers, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, and owned the trumpet chair with the great Max Roach for some years.

Charles’ latest recording is “CONNECT” released July 2020 on Gearbox Records.


Buster Williams is a prodigious artist whose playing knows no limits. He has played, recorded and collaborated with jazz giants such as Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell, Lee Konitz, McCoy Tyner, Nancy Wilson, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, The Jazz Crusaders, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Golson, Hank Jones, Lee Morgan, Bobby Hutcherson, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, and Freddie Hubbard to name a few.

Buster has recorded soundtracks for movies including Les Choix des Armes, McKenna’s Gold with Gregory Peck, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks “Fire Walk With Me”, Spike Lee’s Clockers, and more. His work in Television includes commercials for Coca-Cola, Old Spice, Prudential Insurance, Chemical Bank, HBO, Budweiser Beer and more. TV shows appearances include The Johnny Carson Tonight Show, The Jay Leno Tonight Show, where he performed five of his original compositions with the Branford Marsalis Tonight Show Band. Other television shows include The Today Show, A&E, The Grammy Awards with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Bobby McFerrin. to name a few.

Williams was nominated for a Grammy Award for his work with Hank Jones and Tony Williams on Love For Sale. Williams was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for composition as well as a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in 1991.

Buster has lead his Something More quartet since its inception in 1990. The group has toured in Europe including the first International Jazz Festival in Moscow as well as in Japan, Australia and countless engagements throughout the U.S.

Keeping Time: Negotiating History in Recent Musical Films

Ms. Tomer Nehushtan, Tel Aviv University

Tomer Nechushtan (Fischer) is a PhD candidate and Tisch Film School Scholar at Tel Aviv University, currently researching the impact of digital voice technologies on film and new media. Tomer currently teaches at The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University, and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. Her Master’s Thesis from Tel Aviv University focused on the experience of history in Musical Films.

Artistic Research in Light of the Pandemic: New Avenues for Music and Society in A Global Digital Space

Dr. Timo Vollbrecht, New York University

Timo Vollbrecht is an internationally performing saxophonist-bandleader, composer, reeds player, educator, and scholar. Based in between his home in Lower Saxony, New York and Berlin, he is particularly active in the international jazz and contemporary music scenes. A musical omnivore, he organically combines jazz with elements of new music, post-rock, electronics, and instrumental songwriting. He has appeared on 22 albums and at landmark stages such as the Village Vanguard, Winter Jazz Fest NYC, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He holds a Ph.D. in Jazz Studies from NYU, where he currently teaches as an Adjunct Professor. His research interests range at the intersections of music production, pedagogy, band interaction, improvisation, artistic citizenship, and the digital avant-garde.

Acclaimed for his rich tone and unique musical writing, Timo has released 22 albums as a leader and sideman. Aside from performing alongside Branford Marsalis, Kenny Werner, Drew Gress, Mike Mainieri, Chris Tordini, Joe Lovano, Ari Hoenig, or John Pattitucci, he is also a prolific bandleader who has toured over 30 countries with his band FLY MAGIC. His latest records, Fly Magic (2016) and Faces in Places (2018), have gained international acclaim, were featured as “Jazz Album of the Week” on NDR Radio, as well as on some of the most influential online playlists including Spotify’s State of Jazz. As a composer, he wrote a string quartet for the NYC-based JACK quartet, worked with contemporary dance and composed for film and VR-videography. 

Timo identifies as a citizen-artist whose goal is to create music that is situated in cultural context and his immediate lifeworld. He has made it a priority in his artistic praxis to initiate community music projects. He curated an open music night in Ramallah, where his band teamed up with Palestinian musicians, organized student concerts at the Hassenfiled Children’s Hospital in New York, and performed interactive concerts at senior citizen residences and refugee homes.