Indiana Daily Student

Free jazz concert raises awareness of music community

The Jazz from Bloomington All-Stars concert Tuesday night displayed exactly what jazz music is all about. It was an informal jam session that relied completely upon improvisation, making it extremely personal in nature as if the performers were communicating with the audience with each note. \nBecause of the small stage and its proximity to the audience, the people who came had an up-close vantage point to see these accomplished performers doing what they do best. This was the type of concert that drew the crowd into the music.\nIt was interesting to see the jazz in progress. There had been no practices, no rehearsals and no discussion beforehand about the pieces they would be playing. Everything was done on the spot. When the musicians took the stage, one would name a tune, and, if all the others knew it, it was played. All the songs were improvised in an amazing display of talent.\nThe most amazing thing about the concert was seeing the musicians communicating with one another and working with each other to make the music the best that it could be. Pete Wilhoit, a school of music employee who played percussion for most of the evening, said listening is the key. \n"Jazz can be ambiguous as far as how a person's role is defined," he said. "After understanding each other, it becomes easy." \nThe style of jazz music is fluid and loose, and it lets the musicians express themselves in their own ways. In nearly every song, each person in the ensemble had their own solo. \nThe concert was also a free forum for other artists to show off their talent. Only a few minutes into the concert, three students from the School of Music took the stage with the professionals and added rousing solos, which received much praise from the audience. Twins Rahsaan and Roland Barber, juniors, sat in on saxophone and trombone and graduate student Ansyn Banks sat in on trumpet. \nRahsaan, who played the sax, spoke about about how he got into jazz music. \n"I grew up listening to this kind of music," he said. "My grandmother played the piano. When you hear great artists like Ben Webster and Duke Ellington, it's a real inspiration to become better."\nThis concert itself did serve a purpose. It was a membership drive for Jazz from Bloomington, a nonprofit society dedicated to promoting jazz in this area. President and co-founder Monika Herzig, who played piano for the All-Stars, said the concert was to spread the word of the society and attract members. \nHerzig, also an IU-Purdue University at Indianapolis faculty member, chose the T.I.S. Music Shop, 1424 E. Third St. because of its Tuesday night jazz series which has been going on since February. Herzig worked with Ben McClelland, assistant manager of T.I.S., to arrange the concert. T.I.S. is helping promote the society as well as the Bloomington jazz scene. \n"We're working on promoting original jazz and giving the musicians a hot place to play in Bloomington," McClellan said.\nThe regional jazz scene will benefit greatly from the society, and the amount of support demonstrated in Tuesday night's concert shows Bloomington's interest in jazz is growing because of it.

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