Members: Rick Lawn, Tom Ives, Albert Colone, Joel Chace
Some 40 years ago, the jazz quartet, Compass was born in Oneonta, NY. There were 3 young local jazz musicians who loved to play that were gigging in area clubs back in the late 60's: Joel Chace [keyboard] from Walton, Tom Ives [bass] from Schenevus and Al Colone from Oneonta on drums. Theyâd perform as the Joel Chace Trio, or the Tom Ives trio or the Al Colone Trio; depending on who booked the job.
Then in 1971, Rick Lawn, a talented young saxophonist, a Philadelphia native, came to Oneonta to become instrumental music teacher within the Oneonta Public School System; he had recently graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. At Eastman, Lawn had studied with some of the most respected names in jazz to include World-renowned jazz artist, Chuck Mangione.
Naturally, after arriving in Oneonta, he wanted to continue playing jazz along with pursuing his great passion of writing and arranging music. He quickly discovered and sought out the trio of Chace, Ives and Colone. They began rehearsing together and immediately found out that there was a common interest in performing, a connection of purpose and that they could indeed produce a very exciting, creative and unique blend of jazz. So Compass was formed and for several years the band would perform in concert on college campuses, primarily throughout New York State. The name Compass was decided upon to reflect the multi directional jazz styles of the new band.
The band self-produced a demo-album entitled "Compass Rises" in 1972, which featured original compositions written and arranged by Lawn and Ives. "Compass" was one of five groups on a promotional program that opened the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1972. Ives, along with Lawn, wrote and arranged "What is Man?" an ecumenical jazz oratorio that featured "Compass,â church pipe organ, vocals, a baritone soloist, and a narrator with an accompanying slide presentation. It was performed in New York City and later produced for television by Iowa Public Broadcasting.
So over the past few years, as band members started moving closer to retirement, there has been an overwhelming desire among the four to do it all over again. The band has a very active concert schedule set-up this year. The band is also looking to produce and market a limited edition, double CD set sometime this year; one CD, a re-issue of the group's 1972 album, "Compass Rises," the second of "Compass" Today-40 years later. The band expects to be back in recording sometime in July.
"Compass was well received at The Settler's Inn Summer Jazz Series. Their expertise and talent shined through. Great performance, will definitely invite them to return!" -- Jeanne Genzlinger/Owner-Operator
It's some 40 years ago, now, that "Compass" was born in Oneonta, New York. There were 3 young jazzers just starting to play together in area clubs back then: Joel Chace [piano] from Walton, Tom Ives [bass] from Schenevus, and Al Colone [drums] from Oneonta. They'd perform as the Joel Chace Trio, the Tom Ives Trio, or the Al Colone Trio, depending on who booked the gig. Then in 1971 Rick Lawn, a young saxophonist, a Philadelphia native, and a recent grad of Rochester, New York's Eastman School of Music, came to town to become an instrumental music teacher with the Oneonta Public School System. Lawn, a practicing and active jazz musician, was looking to continue playing jazz in his new hometown, and, through his research, easily discovered the trio of Chace, Ives, and Colone. The group got together and began to rehearse, quickly finding out there was a connection, a common interest in performing, and that they could produce a unique and creative blend of jazz. That may have been what ultimately led to the naming of the quartet, "Compass"; the group played jazz in every direction.
"Compass" began to test its newfound style and energy by booking performances on college campuses, mostly colleges and universities based in New York State. The band self-produced a demo-album entitled "Compass Rises" in 1972, which featured original compositions written and arranged by Lawn and Ives. "Compass" was one of five groups on a promotional program that opened the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1972.
Ives, along with Lawn, wrote and arranged "What is Man?" an ecumenical jazz service that featured "Compass," church pipe organ, vocals, a baritone soloist, and a narrator with an accompanying slide presentation. It was performed in New York City and later produced for television by Iowa Public Broadcasting.
The band remained active through 1973.
It's funny, life's little twists and turns. At a time when the group was beginning a move to a new level of musical performing, when things were starting to reach a higher plain, when perhaps avocation was demanding something more, members of the group decided to maintain their strong personal and family friendships, but to move on with their own individual careers.
Ives, a graduate of SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music, was teaching music at the Andrew Draper Central School and raising a young family in the Schenevus and Maryland, New York, area. His music teaching career eventually took him to Cooperstown CS, and he retired a few years ago from Cherry Valley CS. He taught music part-time at Hartwick College, the Hartwick Music Camps, and he was a regular guest conductor of concert bands throughout the state.
Joel Chace, a Colgate University grad, decided to head back to an academic environment at Syracuse University, to secure his master's degree in creative writing. He then moved out of the area, to teach initially at Mercersburg Academy in Southern PA, other private schools in the US and overseas, and currently at Kent Place School in New Providence, NJ.
Lawn's musical career took him from Oneonta Public Schools, to the University of Northern Iowa, to Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and most recently to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he serves as Dean of the College of Performing Arts. McGraw-Hill recently published Experiencing Jazz by Rick Lawn, a textbook and accompanying CD-ROM, online learning center for students and instructors and and optional audio CDs containing complete musical tracks.
Colone remained in Oneonta, becoming Recreation Director for the City of Oneonta, from where he launched the Oneonta Soccer Hall of Fame movement, founded the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and for nineteen years served as its director. He currently runs his own sport consulting business.
Despite everyone going separate ways for the past 30 years or so, and finding individual adventures along the way, the strong "Compass" friendships remained in place. In fact, whenever possible, the group would find excuses to get together when convenient to play. Over the past two years, those opportunities have increased so much that the group is looking to pick up where it left off in 1973, and, whenever possible, get back on the road to perform once again. To that end, "Compass" is in the process of scheduling a limited number of performances in 2009 and beyond.
"Compass" performances are multi-directional, displaying a diverse variety of jazz compositions to include original material, along with tunes performed by the great jazz masters. To follow is an abridged list of jazz artists with accompanying tunes that "Compass" has previously performed: Miles Davis [Solar, So What, 81, Footprints]; Horace Silver [Jody Grind, Mexican Hip Dance]; Duke Ellington [Take the A Train, In a Sentimental Mood]; Charlie Parker [Billie's Bounce, Au Privave]; Thelonious Monk [Straight No Chaser, Round Midnight]; Cole Porter [Night and Day, I Love You]; Sonny Rollins [St. Thomas, Doxy]; John Coltrane [Mr. PC, Resolution, Bessie's Blues]; Rodgers and Hart [Have You Met Miss Jones]; George Gershwin [A Foggy Day, Summertime] ; Keith Jarrett [Lucky Southern]; and Antonio Carlos Jobim [One Note Samba, Wave and Triste].
INDIVIDUAL BAND BIOS
Saxophone and Flute
Richard (Rick) Lawn is Dean of the College of Performing Arts at The University of the Arts where he has also served as Interim Provost. Formerly, Rick was affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin where he held the Morton and Marlene Meyerson Centennial Professorship and served as Director of Jazz Studies, Chair of the Department of Music, and Associate Dean for academic affairs. He also served as Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Arts at UT. Before joining the Texas faculty he was Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Iowa and began his teaching career in the Oneonta, NY public school system and Hartwick College. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music where he specialized in woodwind performance and jazz studies. His primary teachers have been Rayburn Wright, Manny Albam, Chuck Mangione and William Osseck.
Rick has received several notable composition grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and, as a member of the Nova Saxophone Quartet, has recorded on the Musical Heritage Society, Crystal and Equilibrium labels. The Sea Breeze record label issued "Unknown Soldiers," a CD recorded by the Third Coast Jazz Orchestra featuring his compositions and arrangements. It has received favorable reviews in Cadence Magazine and The Austin American Statesman. Kendor Music, CL Barnhouse, Walrus Music, Concept Music, Alfred Music, Dorn, and UNC Press music among others publish his music. His arrangement of "Donna Lee" was recorded by Bobby Sanabria's New York Latin big band on his 2001 Grammy nominated CD. Rick's books entitled The Jazz Ensemble Directors Manual, Jazz Theory and Practice and Experiencing Jazz have become staples among jazz educators and students.
Over the past 33 years he has appeared as soloist, clinician and adjudicator in 14 states. Rick has conducted the Texas Junior College Honor Jazz Ensemble, regional and all-state ensembles in Iowa, Texas and California, and the All-U.S. Jazz Ensemble at the National Band Association Convention. Ensembles under his direction have won acclaim at national conferences and festivals throughout the US and Europe. Performing experiences include extended engagements with Lionel Hampton, Chuck Mangione, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Austin Symphony among others. He has performed in back-up orchestras for Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Natalie Cole, Marian McPartland, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Dianne Schuur, Rosemary Clooney and a host of others. The Selmer Company has sponsored Rick's performances and clinics.
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Joel Chace has published poetry and prose poetry in print and electronic magazines such as 6ix, Tomorrow, Lost and Found Times, Coracle, xStream, Three Candles, 2River View, Joey & the Black Boots, Recursive Angel, and Veer. He has published more than a dozen print and electronic collections. New from BlazeVox Books is CLEANING THE MIRROR: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, and from Paper Kite Press, MATTER NO MATTER, another full-length collection. For many years, Chace has been Poetry Editor for the experimental electronic magazine 5_Trope.
Amphibian Productions theater company did a staged reading of his play TRIPTYCH, at the Arclight Theatre, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in Spring of 2005.
Chace, a native of Walton, NY, began playing upright bass and piano with his father, Ronald Chace, while still in high school. He studied music for one year at Ithaca College School of Music. He also holds degrees from Colgate University (B.A. in Philosophy and Religion) and Syracuse University (M.A. in Creative Writing), and is currently a teacher in English at the Kent Place School in New Providence, NJ.
Chace's 30-plus-year teaching career has taken him from Mercersburg Academy in Southern PA, to other private schools in the US and overseas. While at Mercersburg, Chace played with another jazz and blues group called Blue Chair. He has also had a considerable musical influence on his children, performing and recording with daughters Larissa and Brechyn on numerous occasions. Blue Chair provided a musical outlet for Chace while he taught English and Creative writing at the Mercersburg Academy.
Thomas (Tom) Ives is a retired instrumental music teacher having taught at Schenevus, Cooperstown and Cherry Valley-Springfield Central Schools. In addition, Tom was an adjunct professor of music at SUNY Cobleskill and Hartwick College. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hartwick College and The Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam.
During his 31 years as an educator, he served as an adjudicator and guest conductor on several occasions and was affiliated with the New York State Music Camp for nearly a decade. He has been a member of the Catskill, Utica, and Schenectady Symphonies, the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, and numerous professional bands and jazz groups.
In 1973, Tom composed a jazz cantata, "What is Man," which was performed at Pastor John Gensel's 5 p.m. Jazz Vespers at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, New York City. This multi-media work featured Compass with choir, organ, vocal soloist, and narrator. Three years later, Tom collaborated with Rick Lawn, revisited the work, and Iowa Public Television produced and aired the cantata on several occasions.
After retiring in 1998, Tom and his wife Lorraine have turned their hobbies into a cottage industry, and Cherry Valley Designs was born. Their crafts include hand-woven textiles, beeswax candle-making, and custom woodwork emphasizing mortise and tenon and hand-cut dovetail joinery.
Albert Colone operates Colone Associates [ www.colassoc.com ], a sport consulting business based in Oneonta, NY. His company specializes in event sponsorship, programming, along with facility planning and development.
In 1977, Colone founded the National Soccer Hall of Fame movement in Oneonta, NY, for 3 years chaired its organizing committee and for 16 years, served as the Hall's executive director. Over the course of his leadership, he guided the Hall from an early concept phase in 1989, Colone received the Bill Jeffrey Award by the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America for efforts to bring about the National Soccer Hall of Fame and in 2003 National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association presented him their Distinguished Service Award.
Colone began playing drums in elementary school with formal lessons and continued-on through high school. He continued playing drums while in the US Army with the 2nd Armored Division Band. After his military service, Colone returned home and immediately found himself reconnected with both music and sport. He helped found "Compass" performing with the jazz quartet from 1969 through 1973. He later played with a number of area pop bands.
In the sports field, Colone joined the Oneonta, NY Recreation Department, later becoming recreation director. During his tenure, there was a dramatic upgrading of the municipal park system along with overseeing extensive growth of recreational services to the community. He founded the prestigious Oneonta Mayor's Cup Collegiate Soccer Tournament along with other high visibility municipal sport promotions. The recreation department grew dramatically under his leadership.
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