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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Annual End of the Semester Student Jazz Concert Tomorrow


The Advanced Sextet Combo practices for the show on Thursday



UMass Boston’s Performing Arts Department is ending the semester with the talented students of the jazz band showcasing their musical skills at the Spring 2013 Jazz Concert on Friday, May 10.

The upcoming concert will feature 30 exceptional student musicians orchestrating an eclectic arrangement of five versatile jazz ensembles. Each ensemble varies on the level of instrumental complexity and represents a specific melodic style of contemporary jazz echoed by classic roots of the genre.

Of the five musical groups, two combos are made up of intermediate-level students, one group is mixed-level students and the final two ensembles are both advanced-level students. Musicians selected to perform in the more esoteric-styled jazz ensembles are placed in either the Advanced Sextet Combo or the Gyspy Jazz Ensemble. Although each ensemble illustrates a diverse level of musical tenor, the contrasting elements successfully complement one another when fused in a united harmony.

Award-winning instrumentalist, composer, and respected professor of UMass Boston’s performing arts department, Peter Janson is instructor of the University’s MUS104 Jazz Band course. He progressively worked with students throughout the semester as they learned to excel in various musical skills, in addition to preparing them for their final performance at the Spring Jazz Concert.

The course is open to all UMass Boston students and also offers beginner to advanced level ensemble placement depending on the students’ instrumental skill. However, there are enrollment limits for most instruments and voice placements, so students are required to audition for Professor Janson and faculty in order to appropriately assign student musicians in a given ensemble.

The jazz band students meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and work with members of their given group ensemble. As the end of the semester is quickly approaching, each ensemble is putting its finishing touches on mastering the composition of songs that each group will perform at the Spring 2013 Jazz Concert.

There is no question regarding the undeniable talent engraved in each jazz ensemble, and this talent became even more solidified after observing the Advanced Sextet Combo and Gypsy Jazz Ensemble individually rehearse a few of the planned numbers that each group will perform at the Spring Jazz Concert.

The Advanced Sextet Combo utilizes a powerful compilation of vocals, piano, bass, saxophone, flute, trumpet, and drums that are essentially the heart and soul of a classic jazz ensemble. The combo rehearsed a beautiful solo number that truly emphasized a melodic tenor sax solo, acoustic piano accompaniment, and a mid-tempo swing feel complemented by major tonality.

The Gypsy Jazz Ensemble is an all-acoustic guitar trio featuring the sweet touch of a light percussion and female vocals. This group ignites a mystical feel that crosses between a swing dance style with melodic acoustic bass playing, virtuosic acoustic guitar solos and angular melodies.

Audience members will be impressed when watching the gypsy jazz ensemble perform because they are far from being newcomers to playing instruments. The guitarists have been playing for a range of nine to 13 years, but hadn’t previously played this type of music before taking UMass Boston’s jazz band course.

Their backgrounds are typically rooted in hard rock, metal, and the like, but when witnessing the impressive stroke of each string and swift transitions between each chord, one would think gypsy jazz is the only type of music these professional students can play. On the contrary, the gypsy jazz ensemble is a well-rounded group of highly-talented musicians that will be sure to get the audiences’ blood boiling when they take the stage at the Jazz Concert on Friday night.

Check out the entire Jazz Band perform at The Spring Jazz Concert on Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Snowden Auditorium, 1st Floor, Wheatley Hall.