Washburn’s Jazz Bands are in full swing

Steven Dennis

A jazz concert by Washburn University’s own jazz bands lit up the night of March 8 in White Concert Hall for an elated audience.

The two bands, Washburn University Concert Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra, entertained the listeners with 12 unique tracks of a variety of styles and tones.

“Tomorrow’s concert is our first jazz concert of the season… It’s going to be exciting.” said Elizabeth Fleishman, baritone saxophone player in the Washburn’s Jazz Orchestra.

“The Concert Jazz Ensemble consists of a lot of first year freshmen,” explained Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies and faculty chair. “And they will be playing established literature; they will be playing some standards and they are conducted by Bill McKemy. Most of them are learning the jazz idiom and getting some opportunities to solo; learning how to solo and improvise.”

The Concert Jazz Ensemble opened the concert with four tracks, each featuring a unique solo from one of the students.

“The second, our Jazz Orchestra, is, of course, our top crew. We do have freshmen in there this year, but most of those guys in there have been in there for a while… We play a little bit more substantial literature,” said Treinen.

The Jazz Orchestra played a total of eight numbers, some of which feature vocalist, sophomore music performance major, Sienna Haynes.

“We have got a vocalist this year, so Sienna will be performing with us… and singing some standards and also a Michael Bublé chart,” said Treinen. “Its an arrangement from him and its called ‘A Foggy Day.’ It’s an old standard and it has been around for quite a few years. Most vocalists have sang this throughout their careers, but this is an arrangement that was done by Michael Bublé.”

Originally, “A Foggy Day” was written by George Gershwin, composer of “Rhapsody in Blue” and other such classics.

“We try to vary music,” said Treinen. “Since there are so many different styles of literature, we focus on first learning how to swing, learning how to play the jazz style first, then we incorporate some Latin stuff, then we incorporate some more modern… so we kind of mix it up.”

The jazz spring season will continue with the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival April 6. Washburn will be hosting the event and it will include Washburn’s own jazz bands.

The Washburn music department welcomes anyone to come and enjoy their concerts for free. Washburn’s remaining jazz concerts are the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival Concert and the Washburn University Jazz Ensemble Concert, which will be at White Concert Hall April 6 and May 1, respectively

“Come out and enjoy and have fun.” said Treinen. “You know, when you come out, there is something for everybody. There is a little something that you might like and we just want you come out and enjoy it with us and have fun.”