Music Alumnus Named Chair of Case Western Music Department

Jazz pianist and composer David Ake (Music MFA 87) was recently named chair of the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Case Western, a private research university, runs a joint music program with the Cleveland Institute of Music, whose alumni, students and faculty comprise more than half of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Last month, Ake’s latest CD Bridges was released by Posi-Tone Records. The album brings together a sextet that includes several CalArtians, with Ralph Alessi (Music MFA 90, BFA 87) on trumpet, Scott Colley (Music BFA 88) on standup bass, Ravi Coltrane (Music MFA 99) on tenor saxophone and Peter Epstein (Music BFA 92) on alto saxophone, as well as visiting faculty member Mark Ferber on drums. Something Else! Reviews lauds Ake and Bridges, saying the “performances are as unpredictable as they are thoughtful.”

Ake’s latest publication is University of California Press’s Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries. Co-editing with Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Daniel Goldmark, Ake brings together writings on jazz history that have not been included in the canon, assembling a book that explores the musicians, concepts, places and practices that have not been traditionally characterized as jazz, and yet have contributed to the music.

Above, listen to Ake’s “Story Table” from Bridges.

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