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Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Indiana Daily Student


Jazz artist to perform at Bear's Place

Renowned jazz artist Michael Weiss will be gracing the stage of Bear's Place tonight. \nThe Michael Weiss Group, in addition to Weiss on piano, is composed of IU's own Assistant Professor Tom Walsh on tenor sax, Jack Helsley on bass and Deno Sanders on drums. \nPresented by the local Jazz Fables, the Michael Weiss Group will be performing original jazz pieces composed by Weiss. \nBorn in Dallas in 1958, Weiss began playing piano at age six. He learned of jazz at age 15 and immediately liked it for its complexity and the ability to recreate a nearly infinite number of tones from one type of beat, sound or chord. Since then, Weiss has continually grown as a student of jazz, a performer and a teacher. \nWeiss chose to study music at IU, where he continued to grow and mature as an artist. For him, college was an excellent time for learning. He was exposed to many types of music and many types of people. Now, as a teacher, he said he hopes students will be able to take what they can from his playing and learn from it. \nWeiss graduated from IU in 1981 and moved to New York. There he began touring with Jon Hendricks and Company. Then in 1987, he joined Johnny Griffin's quartet as a sideman, and he still tours with him on occasion.\nOne of his most notable achievements occurred in 2000, when he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Composition Competition with "El Camino," from Soul Journey. \nWeiss also did arrangements for Johnny Griffin's Grammy nominated CD, Dance of Passion. \nWorking with Griffin gave Weiss exposure to the jazz community while enabling him to work under someone he admired. He has also performed with artists such as Art Farmer, Charles McPherson and Slide Hampton. \nWeiss said apprenticing under working musicians is the best way one can develop talent and knowledge of jazz. He said that to truly understand jazz, one must have intimate knowledge of its history and tradition. \nWhile Weiss considers himself to be a life-long student of jazz, he also takes pride in passing information on to budding musicians.\nWeiss illustrated jazz principles for IU students at a workshop by Walsh. With a twinkle in his eye and a big smile, Weiss explained the works of Wayne Shorter and answered students' questions. When asked about his desire to learn and grow as a musician, Weiss said, "Like life, you're always a student." \nDavid Miller, Director of Jazz Fables, said he is glad Weiss has returned to Bloomington. He compared Weiss' return to IU with the idea of Isiah Thomas putting on a basketball camp at Assembly Hall. Miller said he sees Weiss' stay here as an opportunity to welcome back a past student and a "major league jazz artist."\nMiller said he views Weiss as a true working jazz musician whose relentless curiosity and drive has developed him into one of jazz's highly respected artists. Touted as a throw back to the old days when apprenticing under a master was common practice, Weiss has found his own voice in the last several years. His past successes are built on a solid foundation of jazz knowledge and experience. Bear's Place will be able to accommodate his fans tonight but the future might be quite a different story.

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