Students prepare a variety of jazz performances for the rest of the term

Peter Gillette

The Lawrence University Jazz Band will perform next Friday night in the chapel, and student jazz small groups will be performing Wednesday night in Harper Hall at 8:00 p.m. The performances, along with a Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Singers concert Friday, June 6 (the last day of classes) and an Improvisational Group of Lawrence University (IGLU) concert June 1 close out the Jazz and Improvisational Music calendar for director Fred Sturm’s first year back.

Wednesday night’s concert will put the spotlight on the students, and small group compositions range from more traditional repertoire to student compositions to a rendition of Prince’s “Thieves in the Temple.”

One group, the Louis Armstrong Combo, composed a piece as a group. “The students composed the piece entirely by themselves. We just acted as facilitators,” said Sturm.

Friday’s night jazz band concert, conducted by Jose Encarnaci¢n, gets away from the more common swing tunes of big band repertoire. The works range from Latin jazz to funk, and include works from a pair of progressive large jazz band writers, Jim McNeely and past Jones Award-winner Maria Schneider.

“It has been great because you have to change your way of thinking with each piece,” Encarnaci¢n said.

McNeely and Schneider’s works will also be performed at the June 6 LUJE concert. Half of the concert will be LUJE, and two student compositions are its centerpiece: one by Mike Lee and one by Josh Hintze. The band’s three graduating seniors, Lee, Nick Siegel, and Casey Schmidt, are all playing featured pieces.

The Downbeat award-winning Lawrence University Jazz Singers will be performing the first half of the concert.

IGLU, under the direction of improvising cellist extraordinaire Matt Turner, will present its final concert June 1.

IGLU presents a blend of sounds and music that cannot easily be categorized as jazz or classical. Rather, students familiarize themselves with instrumental genres and create spontaneous works from combinations of instruments within the ensembles.