UVM faculty swings to Juniper Lounge


Foot tapping, head nodding jazz will be swinging to Hotel Vermont 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m, Sept. 9.

UVM faculty members Tom Cleary and Amber deLaurentis will be lighting up the hotels’ Juniper Lounge with their jazz quartet.

Pianist Cleary, who played with Phish’s Mike Gordon for six years, said they plan to “take a jazz approach to songs that are not typically thought of as jazz.”

Cleary is an affiliate artist with UVM “teaching piano lessons in his private studio and in the music and dance department at UVM,” according the University of Vermont.

Rock and pop songs will be “reinvented” to fit within the quartet’s improvisational style. Songs by artists such as Neil Young and Robert Plant are in the group’s repertoire.

“We are taking melodies and re-harmonizing them,” singer DeLaurentis said.

The group will also play original and traditional songs, along with jazz classics. Similar to Led Zeppelin or the Betty Carter quartet, this is a group of musicians brought together to create a “super group.” 

Drummer Caleb Bronz and bassist John Rivers make up the other half of the group.

“They [Bronz and Rivers] are two of the hardest working musicians in Burlington,” Cleary said.

Bronz has been a part of a wide variety of musical projects and bands, playing hip-hop, reggae, jazz, drum and bass, rock and much more. Bronz can be heard on Mike Gordon’s CD “Moss” as well as Barika’s “Remember.”

He also made an appearance on Grammy nominee Mighty Sam McClain’s “Betcha Didn’t Know,” according to his biography on calebbronz.com

Rivers, a UVM bass instructor, has taken his career as a professional musician globally.

He has performed and recorded with many musicians including trumpeter Randy Brecker, Grammy award winning pianist Jim McNeely, Amina Claudine Myers and UVM’s Ray Vega, according to his biography on the University of Vermont website.

The quartet is “structured similarly to Ella Fitzgerald’s or Dianne Reaves’ groups in that everyone contributes,” Cleary said.

“There is not just a singer and a background band. It is a smaller group in which we can all improvise more,” Cleary said.

The group noted that “reinventing” songs has been a challenge as it is “hard to find good vehicles for improvisation in today’s pop music.”

Nevertheless, one can expect to see some of Burlington’s finest musicians engaging in a musical discourse. They will be diving in and out of soundscapes and providing the number one Wednesday night activity, Cleary said.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Juniper lounge is through the front doors of Hotel Vermont on Cherry Street, a 90 degree turn to the right, and features sleek couches and  authentic tree stumps.