For the twelfth year, the ASCAP Jazz Commissioning Program has commissioned two new works in honor of one of the genre's major figures. This year, the new compositions will honor the life, work, and 90 th Birthday of composer and pianist Hank Jones. The new works will receive their premiere performances on February 20, 2009 by the Chicago Jazz Ensemble under the directorship of Jon Faddis.
The ASCAP Commissioning Program awards two cash prizes -- the first to an established jazz composer of international prominence, the other to an emerging jazz composer under the age of 35. The commissioned works must be written for ensembles of more than four and less than eighteen players. Prior programs have celebrated the Louis Armstrong Centennial, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Ornette Coleman, the Duke Ellington Centennial, Frank Foster, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Marian McPartland, Billy Strayhorn and Dr. Billy Taylor.
This year's commissionees are Richard Sussman in the Established Jazz Composer Category, and Tyler Gilmore in the Emerging Jazz Composer Category.
Richard Sussman has extensive experience as a jazz and rock keyboardist and composer, including performances with Lionel Hampton, Blood Sweat Tears, Donna Summer, David Sanborn, Little Anthony, and many others. Richard has also gained recognition as leader of an original and innovative jazz quintet. His critically acclaimed recording, Free Fall, is now available on Double-Time Records. Writing credits include two NEA grants in composition, a 2003 commission for the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as arrangements for Lionel Hampton, BS&T, Randy Brecker, and others . Richard also serves as the creative director and principal composer of Union Street Music and has more than 20 years experience composing for film and TV. He has successfully scored hundreds of TV episodes, as well as numerous films and other commercial projects. Recent USM projects include original music for the Jane Pauley Show on NBC, an original theme for the ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, scores for many independent films, as well as original music for The Guiding Light (CBS), America's Most Wanted (Fox), The Knot Weddings (Oxygen), and music production and sound design for Walden Family Playhouse. Other projects have included Gullah Gullah Island on Nickelodeon and Out Of the Box on the Disney network, and themes and/or scores for many commercials, documentaries, industrials, and independent films.
Tyler Gilmore has been writing and playing music since he was nine years old. He grew up in rural Wyoming, where he discovered music on his mother's upright piano and found inspiration in a number of great teachers in the area. Now based in Denver, Gilmore is pursuing various artistic goals with his jazz large ensemble "ninth+Lincoln", as well as other groups. He also teaches composition privately. His music can be found at UNC Jazz Press as well as his own publishing company, Minor Ninth Publishing. Gilmore has studied with such composers as Maria Schneider, Art Lande, Mike Holober, Alf Clausen, Jack Smalley, Cuong Vu, and Paul Chihara. He has had music performed by University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab I, The Colorado State University Jazz Ensemble I, The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I, The James Madison University Jazz Ensemble I, The South Nine Ensemble based in Miami, The Henry Mancini Institute Overture Orchestra, the HMI Garage Orchestra, and his own ensembles. Gilmore's ensemble, "ninth+Lincoln," features some of Colorado's top jazz performers and has made a name for itself as the top progressive composer's orchestra in the region. The band has performed before large crowds, playing original music by Gilmore and other members of the band. "ninth+Lincoln" performs regularly at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge in Denver.