Rachel Caswell, Vaughn Ambrose: Tribute to Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley

Friday, November 8, 2019
7:30 PM
Kenan Auditorium
Event Type
Music Dept.
Seymour, Ann
Department of Music

Rachel Caswell, vocals, and Vaughn Ambrose, saxophone, are joined by members of the UNCW jazz faculty in a tribute to the noted 1962 release by Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley
About the Artists
Rachel Caswell
Jazz vocalist Rachel Caswell is known for her improvisational prowess, her pinpoint accuracy of pitch and rhythm, and her depth of delivery and interpretation of popular song. Her most recent recording, We’re All in the Dance (2018), features some of New York’s top performers including Dave Stryker, Fabian Almazan, Linda May Han Oh, Johnathan Blake, and Sara Caswell. Mark Sullivan of All About Jazz writes, “This is a great band….Caswell is the star, but she’s no diva. She is much better than that: a jazz musician in the company of other jazz musicians.” Her CD All I Know: Duets with Dave Stryker & Jeremy Allen (2015) elicited the following response from jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan: “Rachel is a wonderful singer with a deep feeling and a fantastic improvisational talent complimented by a lovely rich sound.” And in response to Rachel’s debut CD Some Other Time (2003) with Lynne Arriale, Kelly Sill, Steve Davis, and her sister, violinist Sara Caswell, internationally renowned jazz pedagogue David Baker said, “Rachel Caswell is that rara avis who is truly a jazz vocalist. Her intonation is impeccable, her diction precise, her jazz sensibilities above reproach, and she swings like mad!”
Caswell has performed at colleges, festivals, and a variety of venues nationwide. In addition to her solo work, she and her sister Sara lead the Caswell Sisters Quintet and have made such notable appearances as a weeklong After-Hours engagement at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and an enthusiastically received set on the opening night concert of the 2010 Jazz Education Network conference in St. Louis. Their debut Caswell Sisters album Alive in the Singing Air featuring jazz pianist Fred Hersch was released in early 2013 and has garnered numerous rave reviews. Other notables with whom Rachel has performed include The Glenn Miller Orchestra, John Blake, Jr., Ingrid Jensen, the Billy Taylor Trio, and Curtis Fuller.
Caswell has appeared at the Bar Next Door in New York City, the 2016 Jazz Education Network conference in Louisville, Kentucky, the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Cornelia Street Café in New York City, ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, New York, and the Jazz Cabaret Series at the Kentucky Center of the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky. Appearances at colleges and universities include Temple University, University of Denver, Vassar College, Depauw University, Hope College, University of Evansville, Eastern Illinois University, West Virginia State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Indiana State University, and the University of Indianapolis. She has also performed with big bands in Fargo, North Dakota, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, with jazz bands from Indiana University and Ball State University, and with the Stardusters Big Band.
Caswell’s pedagogical experience includes serving as an adjunct lecturer in Music at Indiana University where she teaches jazz history courses. She also has conducted jazz-related masterclasses and clinics at numerous colleges and universities nationwide and was a judge and clinician at the University of New Hampshire for the 2011 Clark Terry Jazz Festival, the 2013 Boise State University Vocal Jazz Festival, and multiple years at the Bloomington Jazz Festival.
A native of Bloomington, Indiana, Rachel’s compelling improvisation skills developed out of her many years of instrumental jazz studies on piano and as a cellist under IU Distinguished Professor David Baker. A student of Baker’s from age 13, Caswell continued her studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music on a full scholarship as a Wells Scholar, graduating with High Distinction in 1995 with degrees in classical cello and jazz studies. In 1998 she completed her Master of Music in Jazz Studies in Voice with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music where she studied with Dominique Eade, Carol Sloane, Danilo Perez, George Garzone, and John McNeil.
While in graduate school, Caswell was chosen as one of two vocalists for the 1997 Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony at Jazz Aspen/Snowmass and was named the winner of the 1997 Hilton Head Jazz Society Scholarship. Caswell also placed in the top ten out of 150 contestants in the 2005 jazzconnect.com annual vocal competition, appearing in one judge’s top five. She has had coachings with Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Barry Harris, and Clark Terry and appears on Sara Caswell’s recordings First Song (Double-Time) and But Beautiful (Arbors).
Vaughn Ambrose
A tremendously versatile artist who moves seamlessly from Big Band and post-Bop to R&B and funk.  A native of North Carolina, Vaughn earned his BM in Music Education and MM in Jazz Studies at East Carolina University under the tutelage of his mentor, Carroll V Dashiell as well as artist and distinguished professor, Bob Mintzer.
Ambrose is the director of jazz at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Upper School in Alexandria VA.  As a highly sought-after educator, he serves as guest clinician and soloist with schools and ensembles nationally and internationally. Additionally, he is an adjudicator for Festivals of Music, an internationally recognized music festival series for middle and high school performance groups.
In addition to his celebrated career as an educator, and in-demand soloist, Vaughn leads his own Jazz quartet in the DC metro area and freelances up and down the East Coast.  He has performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City and the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention.
In recognition of his contributions to music education, he has been the recipient of numerous teaching honors: Yale University Teaching Award; Northern Virginia Educational Leadership Award; Veterans of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Education Teacher Post Recognition Award; Alexandria Education Partnership Excellence in Education Teacher Award; Alexandria City Alex Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education.
Vaughn has performed in concert with: Bob Mintzer and the Yellowjackets, Vanessa Ruben, Stephanie Jordan, Nnenna Freelon, Terell Stafford, Jon Faddis, Carl Allen, Little Anthony and The Imperials, the Dells, Ashford and Simpson, the Spinners, The Temptations, Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight.
In March 2009, as a member of the group Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants, Vaughn participated in an inspiring State Department tour, where they performed and lectured in Afghanistan, Armenia, Iraq and Lebanon.


$6 general public, free to students with valid UNCW ID.
Tickets are available in advance through the UNCW Box Office (located in Kenan Auditorium) and one hour prior to performance at the Kenan Auditorium Box Office.

Advance tickets may be purchased online or by calling the box office at 910-962-3500 (M-F) 
Any remaining tickets will be available one hour prior to performance at the Kenan Auditorium Box Office.

UNCW students may obtain tickets in advance by going to the UNCW Box Office (located in Kenan Auditorium) Monday-Friday 12 - 4 p.m.

Don't forget! The box office closes 15 minutes after the start of a Department of Music event. 

For more information or to join our email list, contact us
or call 910-962-3415 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Directions to Kenan Auditorium:


Arrive on time: at least 10 minutes before start of concert

•   Arrive at the concert venue at least 10 minutes before the posted concert time. If you need to get a ticket at the box office, have your UNCW student ID ready and arrive at least another 5 sooner.

    •   The box office will only be open for ticket sales and distribution to students up until 15 minutes after the performance begins. 

    •   Students arriving 5 minutes after the start time of the event will not be admitted free with their UNCW ID card, and must purchase tickets in order to be admitted. If the box office has closed, students will not be admitted into the venue.

Concert attendance and program stamping

Programs for students registered in Department of Music classes are stamped by the ushers at the end of the performance. 

   •   If you leave before the concert ends, your program will not be stamped.

   •   If ushers should run out of programs, ask them to stamp your ticket stub at the end of the concert. Let your teacher know what happened. 


Use of electronic devices during performances

   •   use of computers, tablets, phones is not allowed during performances. Anyone using an electronic device will be asked to put it away. Noncompliance may result in being asked to leave the event.

Wilson, Adderley 1962
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