Award-winning writer, musician and historian Dr John Edward Hasse, curator of American music at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History in Washington DC, graced UCT lecture podiums and concert halls last week. Hasse was at UCT to deliver a series of free public lectures and to conduct master classes and a performance, all arranged by Dr Mike Rossi of UCT's South African College of Music. Hasse is founding executive director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, JAM: Jazz Appreciation Month, and the author of the acclaimed biography Beyond Category: The life and genius of Duke Ellington. In his talks, Hasse held forth on jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, and the role of the arts in society. Hasse rounded off his visit on just the right note - with a public concert titled Duke Ellington: Genius beyond category, featuring the UCT Big Band and Abigail Petersen and conducted by Rossi, at the Baxter Theatre Centre. Hasse's tour was sponsored by the US State Department, Office of Public Affairs, and the US Consulate.
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