Friday, February 08, 2013


For the past 12 years guitarist/composer Roni Ben-Hur has been creating and directing jazz camps around the world. Beginning in 2002 with a week-long gathering on an organic farm in upstate New York, Cascade Farms, jazz campers not only participated in workshops, jams and concerts, they also enjoyed quality time with old and new friends. Every evening, students gathered to cook a communal dinner, which inevitably turned into a loft party, with great food, drinks and jazz.

In 2008, in partnership with his longtime friend and colleague, bassist, Santi Debriano, Ben-Hur launched a camp for jazz and Latin jazz in the small village of Saint Cezaire in Cote d'Azur, France, that also included Ben-Hur's wife, jazz vocalist and educator Amy London and drummer Steve Williams. True to the philosophy that music builds bridges, this weeklong event brought students from the U.S. and Europe together with the local community, which contributed to the events and hosted students in their homes. At the end of each day of classes, students and residents of the village gathered for a communal dinner, followed by a jam session. The week culminated in a concert on Saturday night at the village square that attracted hundreds of music lovers from the Cote d' Azur area. The concert featured the students as well as the faculty. Nice Matin, the main daily publication of Nice, covered this event regularly with articles previewing and reviewing the concerts and workshops. This joyous celebration of jazz ran for five successful years, from 2008-2012.

From 2009-2012 Roni helped create, develop and direct 'Samba Meets Jazz' in Bar Harbour, Maine. Co-directed by bassist Nilson Matta, the camp focused on jazz and Brazilian music, and took place in Bar Harbor, Maine during the summer, and in Paraty, Brazil in the winter. It continued the tradition of high quality teaching, combined with the building of a local jazz community.

In July 2012, Amy London and Roni Ben-Hur created a new camp in Istanbul for vocalists, teaching the Great American Songbook and bossa nova to aspiring singers, mostly from Istanbul. Joined by Brazilian vocalist, Maucha Adnet , the camp culminated in student performances, as well as a gig at Istanbul's popular jazz club Nardis for Ben-Hur, London, and Adnet.

Some of the other renowned jazz musicians performing and teaching at these camps have included Arturo O'Farrill, Leny Andrade, Steve Wilson , Gilad and Café. Jazz camps can become very important events in many students' lives. Students are enriched by their involvement in this great music, as they build long-lasting relationships with other musicians, and with members of the local communities. Not only are jazz camps an opportunity for students to exchange cultures with people around the world, the camps also bring commerce to the local economies. Jazz camps serve as a window to the world for many of the participants.

Now Roni Ben-Hur is happy to announce the creation of his new company, with the partnership of Amy London, called "Adventures in Jazz",, dedicated to furthering the celebration of the Great American Songbook, straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz and Brazilian Jazz at international workshops, bringing players and fans of this wonderful music together, in beautiful locations around the world. Additionally "Adventures in Jazz" incorporates music typical to the locales of each camp, with the intent of exposing the participants to the specific and unique culture of each location.
From March 24-30, 2013 "Adventures in Jazz: Cabo Rojo" will take place in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. This week will focus on straight ahead jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, including Boleros, Cha Cha and Mambo, as well as Samba jazz. Co-directed by Roni Ben-Hur and Santi Debriano, the faculty will also include Amy London and percussionist /vocalist Willie Martinez. The week will end with a concert in the town center, and will hopefully become an annual jazz festival.

From August 20-31, 2013 "Adventures in Jazz: Adirondacks" will take place in two segments at Seagle Colony in Schroon Lake, NY, in the beautiful Adirondacks Mountains. August 20 to 25 will be the second year of the Amy London Vocal Jazz Camp at Seagle Colony (Summer 2012 faculty included Mark Murphy, Darmon Meader and others) and August 26 to 31 will focus on instrumental music covering straight ahead jazz, Afro-Latin and Samba Jazz. The event will culminate with the 2nd annual Schroon Lake Jazz Festival, created by Ms. London, including performances by both students and faculty.

Adventures in Jazz: Istanbul" will continue in the summer of 2013, dates TBA. In addition, there are plans for 'Adventures in Jazz: Mostoles' in Mostoles, Spain, a suburb of Madrid, in July of 2013.

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