March 25, 2008

Jazz performances will liven up the weekend

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Whatever else it may be, this weekend is jazzy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

On Friday, March 28, the New Arts Jazztet takes over Shryock Auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 for general admission, $5 for SIUC students.

The quintet has in common that they are part of the SIUC School of Music faculty. They are: Bob Allison, trumpet and flugelhorn; Phil Brown, bass; Ron Coulter, drums and percussion; Tyler Kuebler, saxophone and piano; and Tim Pitchford, trombone.

The program includes a Thad Jones number and a Ravi Coltrane arrangement from Thelonious Monk and Cootie Williams, both adapted by Kuebler. The rest of the program is original compositions by members of the Jazztet. In a jazz performance, though, it doesn't matter what's on the program – the audience can expect a little improvisation no matter what. Or, as Brown said, "If it's jazz, there must be improvisation – a paraphrase of 'where there's smoke, there's fire!'"

If that's not enough jazz, the SIUC Studio Jazz Orchestra hits Shryock the next day, Saturday, March 29, beginning at 3 p.m. This concert is free of charge.

The 17-person ensemble follows the standard jazz instrumentation of trombones, trumpets, saxophone and percussion. Kuebler said the focus is classic "Big Band" music but includes contemporary music and, of course, improvisation.

"It takes a lot of practice to get to where improvisation comes naturally," he said, noting that jazz music by its nature demands a high degree of technical excellence.

The back-to-back shows offer a great opportunity to hear jazz music and at the same time to show support for the School of Music, part of the College of Liberal Arts, Kuebler said.