Oct 8, 2012

New York Jazz Musician to Offer Free FVCC Jazz Master Class

On October 16, Flathead Valley residents will have the rare opportunity to observe a master class taught by elite Jazz musicians Erica von Kleist and Don Caverly during the Flathead Valley Community College’s Jazz Ensemble class.

FVCC’s Jazz Ensemble class meets weekly to practice together and learn jazz theory and improvisation.  Instructor Sky Thoreson attended college at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., where he studied jazz extensively and earned his bachelor’s degree in classical trombone performance.

Thoreson’s hope for the ensemble is to enhance the Flathead Valley community’s appreciation for jazz.  Bringing big-name jazz musicians to the area ties in directly with that goal, which is why he decided to open the master class to the community.

“I don’t want to limit this experience to just the students in the class.  Anyone interested in jazz should be able to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity,” said Thoreson.

Thoreson says he couldn’t be more excited for the jazz ensemble, which just started last fall, explaining that even very prestigious national music programs are pleased when they can have someone as talented as von Kleist teach a master class.

“I am thrilled for my students to have this opportunity to learn from Erica von Kleist, and having Don Caverly join her is a huge bonus,” he said.  “This is a rare opportunity to observe and interact with musicians of this caliber.  This won’t be an experience any of us will soon forget.”

Saxophonist and flautist von Kleist has begun to make her mark in the New York jazz scene as one of the most in-demand young musicians in the city, performing and recording with Wynton Marsalis, Chris Potter, Sean Jones, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, DIVA, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, and the Grammy® Award-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. The 2009 DownBeat magazine Critic’s Poll voted von Kleist a “Rising Star” on flute following the release of Sean Jones’ record, “The Search Within,” featuring von Kleist as a soloist.

While performing is her primary passion, von Kleist has proven herself a prolific and gifted composer.  A graduate of the Juilliard School, she has been commissioned to write for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, The Juilliard School, and the Afro – Latin Jazz Orchestra.  The New York Times, Travel + Leisure magazine, All About Jazz and DownBeat magazine have praised von Kleist’s talents with jazz critic Ben Ratliff stating, “Superb!” Since 2006, she has been honored with several awards from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and was presented the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 2009.

A talented graduate of the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music, Caverly is a multi-instrumentalist experienced in all styles of music, most notably jazz.  While studying percussion and bass, he performed and studied with renowned musicians such as Vincent Falcone, Claudio Roditi, Russel Malone, Roy Hargrove, Mark Kerry, John Stowell.  After college, Caverly played in show bands and jazz trios for several luxury cruise lines.  Caverly previously lived in Los Angeles where he collaborated with several live groups as well as recorded studio work.  He currently resides in Whitefish where he plays with Andre Floyd and Mood Iguana, Human Lab, Big Daddy and the Blue Notes, and performs jazz works with von Kleist.

Free and open to the public, the master class will take place at 5 p.m. at Snappy Sport Senter in Kalispell.  For more information about the master class or the jazz ensemble, contact Thoreson at (406) 548-2636 or