Southeast Missouri State University student publication

"Press Rewind" brought about a night of Jazz favorites

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Jazz, both smooth and driving, filled the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on Oct. 15.

Led by Southeast Director of Jazz Studies, Joseph L. Jefferson, the jazz lab and studio ensembles presented their pieces to the public. The ensembles were all combinations of Southeast students.

Nineteen students were divided into two ensembles directed by Jefferson. Each ensemble performed four songs.

The jazz lab ensemble performed well-known pieces such as Smooth Operator by Sade Adu and St. John, arranged by Mark Taylor. Also included in the concert was The Best of Earth, Wind, and Fire by EWF, arranged by Bob Lowden.

One piece performed by the jazz studio ensemble was recently popularized in the 2014 movie “Whiplash.” The song, Caravan, was written by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol, but the students played a different arrangement of the song. The piece was arranged by Alan Baylock, he is a director of jazz ensembles at the University of North Texas.

Jefferson said the pandemic didn’t give as much time to the students to practice as a group for the jazz concert. The ensembles only had 30 minutes of practice two times a week, which made planning more complex than it normally would have been.

“I was very pleased with the students,” Jefferson said. “They showed a lot of perseverance and tenacity just weathering through the protocols with Covid-19.”

The crowd reacted to the more well-known songs. The audience also seemed to enjoy the lesser-known pieces like Emancipation Blues by Oliver Nelson, arranged by Roger Holmes and Cute by Neal Hefti.

The Jazz Studio will join theatre and dance performers Nov. 13 and 14 when they ring in the holiday season for their Big Band Christmas Jukebox concert at the Academic Hall Auditorium.

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