Jazz Ensemble to perform on Thursday


Tiger Media Network

The Department of Music and Theatre will be honoring the decades-old tradition of presenting a final jazz ensemble performance this Thursday. The department has arranged for this production to be put on every semester for a number of years, but this will be the first formal performance for this specific group of the Jazz Ensemble and second performance for the Small Jazz Group.

The Small Jazz Group will be performing arrangements of jazz standards as well as a composition by Jim Rotondi, who is a well-known jazz trumpet player, while the Jazz Ensemble will be performing contemporary big band music, the challenging, and educational.

Bradley Dawson, assistant professor of Music and the director of these concerts, gives a brief description of what attendees can expect from the shows.

“This is an opportunity to hear both small group and big band jazz music. Jazz music is a unique music in the way that improvisation is a vital part of the performance,” he said. “The communication between the performers and audience is crucial.”

Dawson explains how the students are selected for each group and touches on the main objectives of the distinct groups.

“Students audition for the group at the beginning of the semester, and it is open to music majors as well as non-music majors alike,” Dawson said. “From performances like these, I want the students in both groups to have a good experience and learn how to perform jazz music at a higher level.”

Dawson details why concerts such as these are so important to the community, saying the Jazz Concert gives everyone an opportunity to consume a different kind of music than what most would normally be exposed to.

“Jazz is America’s music…it started in America and is now performed worldwide,” he said. “Jazz has been and will always be a type of communication where the performer is also the composer while improvising. If you can make that soul connection, then you come to understand and appreciate this great art form.”

Dawson said one of the pieces the Jazz Ensemble will perform is “Hinsdale,” which he describes as a “beautiful ballad.”

“It was composed by my dear friend and partner in crime, Frank Mantooth,” Dawson said. “Frank unexpectedly passed away nearly 20 years ago. I still think of him almost every day. Performing “Hinsdale” is our tribute to this wonderful, unique human.”

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall. Further information on this performance, as well as future performances, can be found on the full concert calendar at https://www.forthaysarts.com/