Teaching in Bogotá, 2014

Universidad Sergio Arboleda
Departamento de Investigaciones
Doug Beavers y Luisito Quintero
Artistas Invitados, June 2014

I had the distinct pleasure of returning to Bogotá, Colombia to teach at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda in June 2014.  Here's a blog of our experience together this year.

Tuesday, June 3rd

Big Band Rehearsal

Official classes from the 2014 visit began with Doug Beavers and the Universidad Sergio Arboleda (USA) music department began on Tuesday, June 2nd. This was a great opportunity to meet and greet students, both new and returning from the visitation in 2013.

The student big band was setup and rehearsals officially began with two pieces arranged by Doug Beavers, "Arrasando" and "Tell Me a Bedtime Story". Both pieces, "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" in particular, posed a challenge to student ensembles and it was important to begin rehearsing these pieces for their eventual performance early in the visitation.

The students' level of preparedness and performance of the pieces at the commencement of rehearsals was very impressive.

Doug Beavers with Universidad Sergio Arboleda music students, day 1

Wedesday, June 4th
Big Band Rehearsal
Afternoon masterclass 

Wednesday started with a rehearsal with a larger version of the USA big band. New pieces were introduced, including Beavers' original "Chacho" which appears on the Jun '14 release of Luisito Quintero's 3rd Element. The piece was specifically orchestrated for the USA big band.

Chacho proved to be a substantial challenge for the band, so a new piece were introduced, including a new rendering Beavers' arrangement of "You Know I Care" and the Marty Sheller arrangement of "Decídete". Chachowould be revisited later in the visitation with great success.

Wednesday June 4th was also the start of 4p Masterclasses at the Mauricio Cristancho campus. Mr. Beavers gave a masterclass of his arranging process, which encompassed his process from sketch to a formal score. The presentation was given using Sibelius 7 and Pro Tools software, projected on a large screen for the class to see. The technology in the presentation room was a big aid to the success of the presentation!

Arranging workshop with Mr. Beavers - Demonstrating his arranging process using Sibelius 7 and Avid Pro Tools


Thursday, June 5th

Big band Rehearsal

Afternoon Arranging Class "Connections"

Nelson Riddle "A Sleeping Bee"
"Jazz, Baby" example 
Titanes del Trombón Video

Thursday began once again with a thorough rehearsal on all of the repertoire to be performed. The students' practice and effort during the rehearsals became evident as their performance was continually improved.

For the 3p session, a more general class on arranging was presented to the USA students. The class began with a practical application of voicing and orchestration for big band. A transcription of master arranger Nelson Riddle was presented to demonstrate traditional voicings in a jazz big band setting.

The class continued with a presentation of Mr. Beavers first recording, Jazz, Baby!, which was a recording featuring an 18 piece jazz orchestra. Scores were presented on Sibelius 7 via the overhead projector. This rather successful presentation closed with a pre-screening of a documentary which featured the studio production of Mr. Beavers' upcoming release.

Doug Beavers Arranging workshop, day 2. Using a Nelson Riddle transcribed excerpt to demonstrate block voicing arranging technique


Friday, June 6th
Luisitio Quintero Arrival
Big Band Rehearsal (All Tunes)
4p Jam Session with Luisito Quintero

Friday brought with it the arrival of master percussionist Luisitio Quintero to participate in these USA sessions. After another lengthy rehearsal, Doug Beavers, Luisito Quintero and the all of the students of the USA music department engaged in a jam session/info session. Guests from outside of the University were invited to participate.

In the evening Mr. Suárez, Mr. Beavers, Mr. Quintero and USA students ventured to the Bogotá venue Cachao, where they were all invited to "sit-in" and perform among with outstanding Bogotá musicians.  A great time was had by all!


Camilo Suárez, Doug Beavers, Luisito Quintero and USA students and faculty at "Cachao", Bogotá


Saturday/Sunday, June 7th & 8th
Big Band Rehearsal
Rumba San Agustin

On Saturday, the bands regrouped for further rehearsal at Camilo Suarez' Siembra rehearsal studios. This time, emphasis was placed on the music that was to be performed with Mr. Quintero. This included an extensive rehearsal of the Oscar Hernandez original composition Rumba en San Agustín. It was generally agreed upon that all of the students were reaching new plateaus in their musicianship.

Monday, June 9th
Recording Session
Evening Masterclass with Luisito Quintero

A recording session was booked for June 9th to document the proceedings of the sessions. The students were ready to record, production plans were made, and everything was generally in place for a great recording. Unfortunately, the studio had a problem with one of its recording interfaces on this day and we were therefore unable to record on this date.

The 5p evening masterclass with Mr. Quintero fared much better, with a full crowd in attendance at the Mauricio Christancho location. Mr. Quintero's masterclass took on the format of general question and answer, and this proved to be very beneficial for all of the attendees as a wide base of questions were answered regarding percussion performance of the conga, timbal and bongó.

Luisito Quintero Afro-Latin Masterclass


Tuesday, Jun 10
Recording session II
Tu Loco Loco (no vocals)
Chacho (Rhythm section only)
You Know I Care
Evening masterclass II with Luisito Quintero

On Tuesday, USA Students, Mr. Suárez, Mr. Beavers and Mr. Quintero returned to a now fully-functional studio to record the repertoire.

The goal on this date was to augment the sessions recorded in the previous year with Mr. Beavers. To this end, nearly 3 new pieces were recorded on the June 10th session. The students were remarkable in this respect, having prepared to fullest for all of the sessions.

The ensemble was able to record Tu Loco Loco, You Know I Care and the rhythm section for Chacho. As material is still missing from the recorded repertoire, a follow up session is planned for the USA big band and Mr. Beavers in August 2014.


USA Big Band recording in the former RCA Bogotá recording studios

 The evening session on June 10 featured the final masterclass with Mr. Quintero and Mr. Beavers. Among the topics discussed at this particular masterclass were differing Afro Latin styles applied to the different percussion instruments, as well as applied recording techniques and microphone placement.

 Quintero/Beavers Masterclass and Jam Session 

Wednesday, June 11th 
Radio Interviews with Doug Beavers, Luisito Quintero
Final Band Rehearsal, Rumba San Agustín

The final day of activities for this year's sessions at Universidad Sergio Arboleda started with radio interviews with Mr. Suárez, Mr. Beavers and Mr. Quintero with famed radio personality Jaime Rodríguez at the 91.9 Javeriana Estéreo radio station. In two separate interviews, Mr. Beavers talked about his trajectory as musician rising through the ranks of Eddie Palmieri, Mingus Big Band and Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Mr. Quintero spoke about his newly released studio album 3rd Element and the new compositions contained therein.

 Doug Beavers, Luisito Quintero, Jaime Rodriguez & Camilo Suárez at Javeriana Estereo 91.9 Radio Studios 


Final Concert

The final presentation took place at 10p on this date, June 11th at the downtown Bogotá venue A Seís Manos (paste poster art). Through the well-prepared efforts of Mr. Suarez, audio-visual staff member Juan Manuel Gonzales the intricate sound requirements were handled with ease. As well, after two weeks of thorough preparation, rehearsals and recordings the students of the USA music department performed in top form through the following repertoire:

Wednesday, June 11th Program

Universidad Sergio Arboleda
A Seís Manos, Bogotá

Tell Me a Bedtime Story
Rumba San Agustin
Trio piece featuring Jorge Glem, Doug Beavers, Luisito Quintero
Tu Loco Loco


USA Big Band on performance night



The large measure of success of this year's program was built on the foundation of the June 2013 visitations and Mr. Suárez' expert organization and coordination among the students, visiting artists and venues. 

Having been the first of investigative series, the 2013 visitations established a theme of success with the students of Universidad Sergio Arboleda guided by visiting instructor Doug Beavers. The 2014 visitations only continued this theme. Students were inspired and prepared for all of the sessions. Scheduling was much smoother due to the of Mr. Suárez.  The end result was a more streamlined and efficient class schedule, thus increasing the students' learning.

Mr. Beavers established a challenging atmosphere of repertoire and work ethic with the USA Students in 2013. This ethic was carried over in 2014 and was only increased with the visit of Mr. Quintero. Mr. Quintero attracted many of his musical peers in and around Colombia, including Venezuela.

The end result of this year's investigative sessions was a higher-profile program supported by the visitation of world-class experienced artists  Also, a special kinship and desire to work with one another was established amongst the visiting artists and students.  The profile of Universidad Sergio Arboleda also rose via the many social medial posts on Facebook and Twitter on behalf of the artists and students. We hope to continue this trend and grow the investigative visitation program by equal measure next year.

To success!

Doug Beavers