Monday, May 23, 2022
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Jazz students finish strong at Jazz Night

UMKC jazz students showed-off their hard work Thursday night, during their Jazz Night performance at the Folly Theatre, a culmination of the semester for the UMKC jazz bands and ensembles.

The night kicked off with a burst of energy from the Jazz Percussion Ensemble. They seamlessly mastered the complex rhythms in “Rumba” and conveyed their individual personalities in “Adding In” where they took turns soloing.

The percussion ensemble then passed it off to the 11 O’Clock Jazz Band under the direction of Dan Thomas. “Sail Away” by Tom Harrell drew in the audience with a beautiful melody. The program note for this piece revealed the deeper meaning behind the music.

“This simultaneous dichotomy between picturesque and destructive qualities was possibly assembled because of Harrell’s own fight with his debilitating schizophrenia.”

“Haitian Fight Song” by Charles Mingus sounded like something out of a spy movie. Its drama engaged listeners, a highlight of the night with the trumpets soloing back and forth.

“The Shade of the Cedar Tree” by Christian McBride was performed by the Conservatory Concert Jazz Band under the direction of Bobby Watson. This Latin swing was another highlight of the night and featured a dynamic trumpet solo by Jackson Broadwater.

The Bass Ensemble surprised the audience as they appeared in the balcony to perform their pieces mid-way through the show.

Watson and Thomas directed an improvisation session to conclude the evening and called on some of the students to play. They acknowledged the students’ hard work throughout the year. Watson said he sees the jazz department as one big collaboration rather than separate bands and ensembles.

“We are one family,” Watson said.


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