University of New Orleans Jazz Guitar Ensemble with Hank Mackie - A Pilgrimage Of Sorts
As some but perhaps not all are aware, my passion beyond photography is music, and I have both a bachelors and masters degree in jazz performance from the University of New Orleans, where I was lucky enough to study with some of the finest jazz guitarists in the world, including Hank Mackie and Steve Masakowski. Steve was Hank's student in his early years, before going on to have an illustrious career of his own, including several albums on the most recognizable jazz record label, Blue Note Records. Steve returned to New Orleans in the early 90's, and began teaching at UNO alongside Ellis Marsalis in the new jazz studies department. For many years, both he and Hank Mackie taught both private lessons and led the two guitar ensembles, a unique orchestration of a rhythm section plus 5-6 guitarists. Steve and Hank's complex arrangements have given countless guitarists an opportunity to focus on reading and ensemble playing, something that is often overlooked in guitar-centric studies. This performance honored Hank's contributions to the University of New Orleans jazz studies program, and his recent retirement from UNO. Davy Mooney, a fantastic guitarist in his own right, student of both Hank and Steve's and alumnus of UNO, will step in to fill Hank's position and continue the strong tradition of jazz guitar excellence in New Orleans. It was beautiful to hear some of Hank's arrangements played by this strong group of guitarists, and to watch him and Steve play duo together and connect with decades of musical knowledge and chemistry.