Jazz groups dazzle, perform classics at concert

Steven Dennis

Washburn University’s jazz ensembles just can’t stop the beat this October.

The concert, which took place Oct. 12 in White Concert Hall, featured Washburn’s three jazz ensembles. Craig Treinen, assistant professor and director of Washburn’s jazz studies, and Tom Morgan, director of percussion studies, conducted the concert.

“The Concert Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble II, usually consists of freshmen and sophomores, so first year students,” Treinen said. “The vocal jazz group  consists of vocal majors and non-majors. Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble I, is our top jazz ensemble, and it is usually full of music majors. There are some non-majors in there as well.”

Throughout the night, the three ensembles performed a variety of jazz staples and contemporary hits, including “Windows” by Chick Corea, “Love is Here to Stay” by George Gershwin and “Brazilian Love Affair” by George Duke.

Treinen said that his students perform and are exposed to many different music genres and styles. 

“We will be playing a lot of jazz standards and some new, contemporary pieces, and then some pieces from some well-known artists,” Treinen said. “There’s all different kinds of styles. We have a waltz, we have a funk piece in there, we have a couple of blues charts, a Latin piece. There is mixture of styles and varieties for everybody.”

Additionally, many of the pieces that were performed featured improvised solos played by the students.

“I think what inspired me to do jazz is that it’s never the same,” Treinen said. “When you play jazz and you’re improvising, it’s all created and made on the spot. It’s always different.”

Some of the students performing enjoyed learning and playing the eclectic set list.

“I just love playing the music that we played,” said Ty’Rese Mendez, saxophonist and freshman music education major.

Dalton Imhoff-Brey, freshman music performance major, said that he has enjoyed working with other music students on the concert.

“It’s just a lot of fun, just getting to hang with these guys and play some great music,” Imhoff-Brey said. “I would encourage a lot more people to come to it. It’s a great time.”

Treinen brought out his saxophone and joined the Jazz Orchestra’s performance in their the grand finale as they played “Brazilian Love Affair” by George Duke.

Treinen encouraged people who are new to the jazz world to step out of their comfort zone and attend the jazz ensembles’ next performance 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at White Concert Hall.

“If you have never heard a big band play before live, come,” Treinen said. “It’ll change your life forever.”

Washburn’s jazz ensembles will return to the stage this winter for their classical and holiday themed concert.