Trinity Jazz Ensemble performs annual concert in Laurie Auditorium

Jazz ensemble’s annual second semester performance will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, in Laurie Auditorium, and it promises to bring eccentricity and entertainment to all those who attend. Chris Magee, who took over as director of the ensemble in Fall 2012, has challenged and requested more from members of the ensemble.

“I’m excited to play the songs Dr. Magee is challenging us to play. At the beginning of the semester, everyone thought, “˜he’s pushing us too hard,’ but by the concert, we all realized we could do it,” said Andrew Metzger, a senior member of the jazz ensemble who joined during his first year at Trinity.

Prior to coming to Trinity, Magee moved around the country with his family and taught for 12 years before coming to San Antonio at the request of James Worman, associate professor of music and coordinator of winds and percussion at Trinity.

“I have really enjoyed my year at Trinity. The students are great to work with, and the university has given me great support. Trinity is a special place,” Magee said.

This year’s jazz ensemble performance features many different styles, from older, more traditional jazz pieces to more contemporary jazz and Latin songs.

“I try to select a wide variety of styles for both the students in the band and also for a good program for the audience. This program offers a little something for everyone. I think anyone attending the concert will have a great time,” Magee said.

Ben Whitehead, a sophomore member of jazz ensemble who joined during the fall 2011 semester, is excited about the selections from the perspective of one of the musicians.

“We are featuring many different styles, from the patriotic “˜American Patrol’ to an upbeat mambo, “˜Veneros.’ Probably the most unique tune we’ll be playing is “˜The Last Tangle of Lord Boogie,’ a Don Ellis chart that is primarily an odd-metered shuffle and transitions at the end into a really 80s-sounding rock-bossa nova feel, only to end abruptly as a tango””it’s an eccentric and quirky piece, but lots of fun,” Whitehead said.

The jazz ensemble performance will also feature a vocal piece this year, performed by sophomore Lisa Ashby. The piece is an arrangement of Tangerine and Amapola.

“I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say we are doing some challenging songs, including a Don Ellis song and a Gordon Goodwin song. We also have a vocalist performing a jazz standard medley with us, which is a new thing for the band this semester,” Metzger said.

The variety of styles the jazz band will perform this Sunday is new to many of the members, and they are excited to meet the challenge of switching from one style to the next over the course of the program.

“I enjoy getting to read so many different styles of music, and there is something of everything, including several charts,” said sophomore saxophonist Sarah Pickett, who also joined the band during her first semester at Trinity.

Members of the band have the opportunity to not only enjoy working with a wide variety of songs, but also a variety of musicians with different musical backgrounds.

“My favorite part of being in jazz band is how very different people with very different musical backgrounds can come together and have fun playing musical masterpieces together. We’ve really grown a lot this year, and that is because of hard work and our encouraging director,” Metzger said.

Whitehead said that he enjoys being part of jazz ensemble because of how the members come together.

“I love the diversity of the group, that we have people from all sorts of different places, backgrounds and different disciplines””but that we all come together to share the joy of just playing jazz together.  Jazz ensemble rehearsals are great because they are almost like a mandatory study break for me. I just get to relax and play good music,” Whitehead said.