[Berklee Archives]
Berklee Oral History Project:
  • A Stan Getz Library-supported initiative to chronicle the rich and diverse history of Berklee and Boston music from those who have lived, shaped and defined it. Join liberal arts faculty and journalist Fred Bouchard as he interviews some of the greats.

Toshiko Akiyoshi Watch This

Legendary jazz pianist, composer/arranger, bandleader, and Berklee alumna Toshiko Akiyoshi ('59 H'98) is a major figure in jazz composition. Inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1999, her accolades include 14 Grammy nominations, the 2007 Jazz Master Fellowship, the 1986 New York City Liberty Award, and being the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards in DownBeat magazine’s Readers Poll. As Berklee's first Japanese student, she attended the College on a full scholarship, and while in Boston her teachers included Herb Pomeroy, Madame Chaloff, and Richard Bobbitt. Her studies with Bobbitt exposed her to Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition, which had a lasting impact on her compositional approach, known for its distinctive textures and for its Japanese influence. This interview was recorded on the occasion of her performance at the 2007 BeanTown Jazz Festival.

Mae Arnette Watch This

Mae Arnette's illustrious career as a jazz vocalist earned her the moniker "Boston's First Lady of Song." In this interview she recollects her varied career and accomplishments, including organizing the "Steppin' Out" shows, to benefit the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, discusses her experiences working with many of the great professional players in town such as Sabby Lewis, and shares some of her early memories of Berklee when it was known as the Schillinger School.

John Bavicchi Watch This

John Bavicchi (1922-2012) graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree. In 1964, he came to Berklee College of Music and cofounded the Composition department with Bill Maloof. Bavicchi’s compositions have been published by Oxford University Press, Renfrew Press, BJK Publications, Neil Kjos, and Ensemble Publications. He has received numerous ASCAP Awards for Composition, as well as the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award in recognition of his creative work in music.

Joanne Brackeen Watch This

Joanne Brackeen studied at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. In 1969, she became the first woman to play in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. She has since performed around the world with musicians such as Joe Henderson and Stan Getz, and she has released 25 albums as a lead musician. She is currently a professor in Berklee’s Piano Department as well as at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Gary Burton Watch This

Vibraphonist Gary Burton is perhaps best known for the development of his signature four-mallet playing technique as well as his long and fruitful musical collaboration with pianist Chick Corea, with whom he popularized the jazz duet form. The youngest recipient of DownBeat magazine’s “Jazzman of the Year” award (1968), Burton has won numerous Grammys and remains a major figure in jazz education. Burton attended Berklee from 1960-61, returning in 1971 as an instructor. In 1985 he became dean of curriculum, and in 1996 was named as executive vice president, a position he held until his retirement in 2004. Over the course of his tenure at Berklee, Burton was responsible for overseeing hundreds of courses as well as devising new programs.

Christine Fawson Watch This

Christine Fawson is a vocalist and trumpeter. Currently interim chair of Berklee’s brass department, she is the first woman to hold this appointment. Fawson has been a member of the vocal jazz group Syncopation since 2002, and from 2004 to 2007 she was a member of the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. As a soloist, Fawson has performed worldwide at festivals and concerts around the world such as the Darling Harbour Jazz Festival (Sydney, Australia), the World Music Festival (Hong Kong), the Hanover Jazz Festival (Germany), the Women in Jazz Festival (Lucca, Italy), and the Ramón Cardo Big Band (Valencia, Spain).

Matt Glaser Watch This

Violinist Matt Glaser was a founding member of Berklee’s string department, a department he chaired for over twenty-five years before founding Berklee’s American Roots Music Program and serving as the program’s first artistic director. Glaser earned his M.M. from Tufts University, and he has made a career of teaching string players the art of improvisation in jazz and folk styles. Glaser founded the musical group the Wayfaring Strangers, and he has performed with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Stéphane Grappelli at Carnegie Hall as well as at the Boston Globe Festival with Gunther Schuller.

Roy Haynes Watch This

Boston native Roy Haynes made his professional debut at the age of seventeen and has since performed or recorded with Gary Burton, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Henry Grimes, Christian McBride, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, Horace Tapscott, and many others. A Grammy-nominated bandleader, Haynes’ signature drumming style made him known as “Snap Crackle” due to his innovative emphasis on melodic figures and rapid and crisp use of the snare. Haynes was inducted to the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 2004.

Ted Pease Watch This

Drummer Ted Pease earned undergraduate degrees from Berklee (B.M.) and Cornell University (B.A.). He has arranged for the orchestras of Buddy Rich and Dave Stahl and has performed with many greats, including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lee Konitz, John LaPorta, Charlie Mariano, and Herb Pomeroy. A distinguished member of the Berklee faculty for decades, Pease was instrumental in the creation of the original Bachelor of Music major in jazz composition in 1980 and has authored several texts in the field of jazz composition and arranging. A recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for jazz composition (1975 and 1986), Pease was also recognized in 1997 by the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artist Grants Program.

Bill Pierce Watch This

Jazz saxophonist Bill Pierce earned his B.M. from Berklee, returning in 1975 as a faculty member. In addition to being featured at various major international jazz festivals, Pierce has performed and recorded with major artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Art Farmer, James Williams, Hank Jones, Art Blakey, Branford Marsalis, and Wynton Marsalis.

Herb Pomeroy Watch This

Herb Pomeroy (1930-2007) attended Berklee (then Schillinger House) from 1948-1952 and served on the faculty from 1955-1995, receiving an honorary doctorate from the College upon his retirement. A renowned trumpet player, he toured with Stan Kenton, Lionel Hampton, and Serge Chaloff, among others, and recorded with legends such as Charlie Parker and Charlie Mariano. A gifted educator and mentor, Pomeroy’s teaching emphasized the works of Duke Ellington, and his career included stints at Brandeis, Harvard, and MIT, where he revitalized their big band program. Pomeroy was inducted to the International Jazz Educators (IAJE) Hall of Fame (1996) and the DownBeat Jazz Education Hall of Fame (1997), and was the 2004 Boston Musicians’ Association Musician of the Year.

Maggie Scott Watch This

Veteran jazz pianist and vocalist Maggie Scott studied at the Juilliard School of Music and has been a member of the Berklee voice faculty since 1978. Scott has performed as a soloist and with her trio at various jazz venues throughout Boston and the New England area. She has also soloed with the Boston Pops Orchestra and accompanied the likes of Cab Calloway and Eartha Kitt. In 1980 she established Berklee’s Jazz Vocal Night, an annual student recital, and her teaching method has been marked by an emphasis on repertoire and developing a sense of style. A trailblazer as a female jazz musician and educator, Scott was also the first woman elected to the executive board of the Boston Musicians’ Association, Local 9-535, American Federation of Musicians, a post she held for 25 years.