Jazz Ensemble

The SIU Jazz Ensemble will perform May 4 at SIU Carbondale’s Shryock Auditorium. Rehearsing for the concert are, from left, Myles Daniels, guitar; Jake Heetel, tenor saxophone; Isaac Lausell, director; Kyle McDonald, drums; Spencer Bouhl, trombone; Tom Edgar, piano, and Conner Branch, trumpet. (Photo by Amihere Benson)

April 25, 2024

Shryock Auditorium hosts SIU Jazz Ensemble on May 4

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The premiere of works aimed at emphasizing the importance of peace will be featured by the SIU Jazz Ensemble at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Shryock Auditorium in a free, public concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

The “Songs for Peace” is composed by Isaac Lausell, an associate professor and director of jazz studies in the SIU School of Music. The work is a suite for Lausell’s students in the ensemble.

Lausell noted that suites are “multimovement musical works that first emerged during the mid-1500s alternating slow and fast musical pieces used for dancing.”

“Our particular collection of pieces explores Brazilian music and recombines it with some of the more dormant elements of jazz such as New Orleans infused collective improvisations and Jerry Roll Morton’s ‘Latin tinge,’” he said. “These traits are enhanced with properties from Argentinean, Uruguayan and Spanish music.”

Inspired by unsung heroes

Lausell wrote the pieces as a mechanism for promoting peace, he said.

“The pieces themselves were conceived from the aspiration of a utopian society where our differences are viewed as an axis for growth and not dissent, where our similarities unveil in one another brethren longing for happiness, fulfillment and purpose,” he said. “As the first notes made their way on to my staff, I gained perspective from the stories of some of our community members in Carbondale. I sought to complete the work writing pieces inspired by the example of the many unsung heroes that with their kindness, generosity and selfless nature make our little corner of the world a better place to be in. We can in our actions, words and use of time ourselves be songs for peace.”

Jazz ensemble members

The jazz ensemble Lausell directs is Conner W. Branch, a junior in aviation flight on trumpet; Jake A. Heetel, junior, aviation flight, on saxophone; Tom Edgar, senior, aviation flight and music, on piano; Spencer G. Bouhl, junior, music, on trombone; Myles Daniels, junior, music, on guitar, along with SIU alumni Thomas O. Willhoit on bass guitar and Kyle B. McDonald on drum set.