Starting in 2009, Berklee had the opportunity to bring a student lead group to Nancy Jazz Pulsations Festival. The festival is two weeks in length and has featured Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Dave Holland, and Joshua Redman among others.
This year Berklee brought the Inna Dudukina Quartet featuring Inna Dudukina on voice; Davis Whitfield on piano; Tabari Lake on bass; and Oscar Suchanek on drums. They performed for a week straight at a variety of venues from a concert hall to a rehabilitation center to a bar.
While in Nancy, they also took place in classes at Music Academy International (MAI) and gave a clinic. Besides working professionally with the students at MAI, the quartet became friends with their colleagues and went out with them nightly. I expect to see some of those faces at Berklee in the near future.
On the road opportunities for Berklee students offer them a chance to more deeply explore their artistry. Performing, eating, exploring, and living with the same people for a stretch at a time is helps makes a band, a musical group that is working beyond instrumental technicalities while using them. For many students, these tours are their first and will serve as experience for their own performing projects in the future.