Since its inception the legacy of Jazz has been transmitted across generations of musicians through mentors, seasoned veterans taking the “up and comers” under their wings , giving them an opportunity to learn and play together while creating new work and advancing the art form. The Carr Center, following the vision of our former Artistic Director the late, great, brilliant jazz artist, Geri Allen, formalized and institutionalized this tradition and thus, The Gathering Orchestra, Geri Allen Fellows, were born, in October 2017.
The Gathering Orchestra is a two-year fellowship program, under the artistic direction of renowned bassist Rodney Whitaker, former member of the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and Carr Center Resident Artist. The Gathering is comprised of 4 seasoned jazz veterans and 14 emerging and highly talented young musicians,(ages 18 – 30). Fellows rehearse and perform with their mentors on standards, large ensemble classics, new music and their own original compositions. The fellowship also includes serving as The Carr Centers house band throughout the season, as well as headlining their own concerts in venues across the city of Detroit.
The rules of large group gathering resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic necessitated the development of a special ensemble made up of current Orchestra members. The Gathering Orchestra Nonet will take up residency in Detroit School of Arts on November 1st and they will perform in a special school matinee on November 5th , as well as participating in the 2021 Season’s Opening Concert on November 6th.