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Jazz Ensemble, Students Garner Honors From DownBeat Magazine

Published: June 2, 2013

PST In Performance

The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB continued to demonstrate its strength and depth in jazz training and musicianship as a vocalist, a composer and its premiere jazz ensemble each earned top honors in the 35th annual DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards.

In announcing these awards, Carolyn Bremer, chair of the conservatory, said, “These are the most significant awards in collegiate jazz. It is a huge honor and a reflection of the depth of our jazz area that we have won three this year.”

For the third year in a row, Pacific Standard Time, directed by Christine Guter, was recognized as the nation’s best Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble at the graduate college level. Miko Shudo, a member of Pacific Standard Time, was also awarded Outstanding Performance for Undergraduate Vocal Jazz Soloist.

“It’s hard to find the words to describe what a tremendous honor this is for our program,” Guter said. “I am so proud, grateful and humbled. I deeply appreciate DownBeat Magazine for recognizing the Jazz Studies Program here at CSULB for so many years in a row. I am particularly proud of our students for their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence.”

In addition to the vocal kudos, CSULB instrumentalist and composer Brendan Doshi was awarded the top prize in the Outstanding Graduate Original Composition–Lead Sheet category for his tune titled “Vulture.”

“It is an incredible honor to have Miko Shudo, Brendan Doshi and Pacific Standard Time recognized by DownBeat,” said Jeff Jarvis, CSULB’s director of jazz studies. “I extend my hearty congratulations, not only to the winners of these coveted awards, but also to our entire cohort of jazz majors and faculty for building and maintaining a culture of excellence.”

The CSULB Jazz Studies Program is recognized nationwide as exceptional with an outstanding track record of competition wins, prestigious invitations and high-profile performances. In 2012, the Concert Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Jarvis, traveled to New York to perform at Lincoln Center during the New York Jazz Festival.

Pacific Standard Time, which has also pulled off a “three-peat” winning streak at the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation competitions, is a highly select eight-to-12-member ensemble that requires students to have refined musicianship and improvisation skills. The group performs a wide variety of vocal music in the jazz genre and has regularly won national competitions and invitations to major jazz festivals and conventions.

The DownBeat Student Music Awards, founded in 1976, are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners. At least six winners have gone on to appear on the cover of DownBeat as professional artists. Scores have been featured in the magazine and have won either Critics or Readers Poll honors.

–Bethany Price