Jazz ensemble plays new music using classic methods

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The School of Arts presented its latest concert called Not Your Grandpa’s Big Band performed by the jazz ensemble April 13 in the Ragan Theater.

Jazz concerts aren’t a new concept. Many attend them and can guess how the concert will go, what songs will be played and the overall music they will hear. When the word jazz comes to one’s mind, the sounds of trumpets with their built-up crescendos begins to play. Saxophones play their savvy riffs and boisterous solos while the cymbals softly tap along with the piano in the corner jamming out as if in its own world.

What made this concert so unique and different were the song choices and the arrangements of well-known tunes. Unlike most jazz concerts, the songs selected weren’t ones you would hear playing in a 1920’s speakeasy.

“We wanted to select songs that everyone knows and give them a jazzy version of them,” said Alex Heitlinger, conductor of the ensemble.

They performed one of Heitlinger’s own songs that he wrote about a post-apocalyptic world where only a few trumpeters survived, “because they’re tough,” Heitlinger said.

Other songs that were performed were Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles. The ensemble gave a great performance of the songs, and the way they performed solos was exciting. Every time a performer would come up to the mic to perform a solo break out, the audience would cling to their seat with excitement of what style they would show.

Another aspect of jazz that makes the music so energizing and engaging to the audience is that the music appears to be unscripted. The notes seem to go in a chaotic order when an instrument is playing by itself, but when all brought together, the jumbled mess turns into a song.

The fast pace of many of the songs showed how challenging it can be for any musician to play jazz and hats were off to them after the performance. Each performer, no matter what instrument, molded together beautifully, and it was easy to see that they were all a jazz family in how they interacted with one another and danced while another musician was soloing.

From someone who isn’t very cultured in jazz music, anyone who was at this concert would have to agree that jazz music is alive and moves emotion without words.

Not your grandpas big band (UVU Review)

Not your grandpas big band (UVU Review)

Not your grandpas big band (UVU Review)

Not your grandpas big band (UVU Review)