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Must Read: West Meets East [Part Two]

Out into the World

Andy Jaffe ‘74, a Berklee alumnus and a former Berklee faculty member, has taught at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, for 22 years. During the 1990s, he worked with Wang Leehom ‘99 on jazz theory and piano. “He started playing jazz piano at Williams,” Jaffe recalls. “His jazz piano playing is quite good now. In addition to everything else he does, Leehom is a fantastic violinist. He was the best violinist at Williams the moment he got there and won the concerto competition his first year. I was cleaning up my office recently, and I found a copy of his senior thesis. It was a musical titled The Bite That Burns . . . about Dracula. Leehom is a very versatile musician and a bona fide intellectual.”

In the spring of 2009, Jaffe taught at Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan and in concerts with his famous student, revisited material they played years before. “These were major Leehom concert events,” Jaffe says. “At one, we played jazz and Leehom sang the Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross version of ‘Cottontail.’ We did it with three voices at Williams, but for this concert, Leehom learned the highlights of each of the three parts and sang them-even Annie Ross’s parts. It was pretty impressive. He also played vibes on a tune he’d written when he was at Berklee. The other concert featured his band and I just sat in when he sang ‘I Feel Good’ by James Brown. It was a switch for me to be thronged by autograph seekers as I left the stage. I’m used to jazz gigs where there are more people in the band than in the audience! I appreciated Leehom walking me to the train station when I left because I know it can be a nuisance for him to go out in public. All these people were coming up to him [and] wanting to get a picture with him.”

After Leehom graduated from Williams, Jaffe never anticipated how the career of his student would unfold. “He’s got a lot of different talents,” Jaffe says. “He’s already doing fantastic things, but nothing he does in the future will surprise me. It is the greatest pleasure for a teacher to see what their students end up doing when they go out into the world.”

Leehom's Performance with Andy Jaffe
For complete performance, pls visit wonderHOM's Playlist


onleehom 王力宏 | TNB