Whitworth's jazz ensemble performs at local coffee shop

The Open Door Church and the Zion Lutheran Church gathered for a night of fellowship as they listened to Rev. Glenn Kennedy speak on Friday, March 4 at The Service Station.  They ended the night with raffles and a performance by Whitworth University’s Jazz I band.

The jazz band’s set list consisted of seven songs from a wide variety of genres and featuring numerous soloists.

“They have a unique balance that highlights the individual talent but also shows their talent as a whole,” attendee Victoria Karschney said.  “I think the best thing about that group is just the visuals because they want everyone to know they love what they are doing.”

Love of music is the one thing that holds the jazz band together as they come from different backgrounds.  While the group does consist of a number of music majors there are also computer science majors, health science majors, physics majors and more.

The director Dan Keberle makes sure to highlight these differences because it shows that jazz can be for everyone, not just those who want to make a career out of it.

The dedication of the band members can be seen in performance.  Just about everybody in the jazz band is working on his or her jazz improvisation, Keberle said during the concert.

“I think they’re really locked in the pocket,” junior Jeff Bass said.

The individual talent of performers being showcased in each song makes the sound of the jazz band distinctive and allows for a different flair to every piece.

“I thought the sexy Ryan Marshall was pretty good,” Bass said. “And Lauren [Major] and Kurt [Marcum] trading trumpet solos was amazing.”

Smaller gatherings, like the one the jazz band played for on Friday, give the group more freedom to play how they want.  It helps the performers stay more at ease with the situation, senior Kurt Marcum said.

One of the unique things about jazz is that you never know what is going to happen next.

“It’s always changing, it’s always different,” Marcum said.  “It requires so much more communication among the ensemble than most other music.”

Whitworth’s Jazz I class has traveled around the world.  Over the last decade they have visited places like Rome, Australia, Brazil, Germany and Cuba.

The jazz program at Whitworth makes an effort to ground students in the fundamentals of jazz, according to the website.

Story by Lauren Otheim

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