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JSU fall jazz showcase blew attendees away


Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, JSU Jazz takes us by storm once again with every performance topping the previous.

The 2013 JSU Jazz Fall Showcase was held on Friday, September 27 at 7:30 P.M. in the Performance Center of Mason Hall.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Andy Nevala and Dr. Tony McCutchen, jumpstarted the night with the Beatles’ classic hit “Day Tripper.”

All seven combos had the opportunity to perform such jazz oriented classics as Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia” and Joseph Kosma’s “Autumn Leaves.”

After a brief set change, all three big bands performed.

Jazz Ensemble III had the opportunity to play host to special guest conductor, the smartly dressed Chris Knight, a bassoonist in the David L. Walters Department of Music who is pursuing a degree in Music Education. “We came here to energize the crowd,” he said, “and we delivered.”

Even more amazing was seeing the dedication of these students to not only master their primary, or main, instrument, but to also take the time to learn a second instrument for jazz.

The skill to play several different horns or several variations of even the same horn is a highly prized skill in the musical world in general, but particularly in the jazz world. Several students in the Jazz Ensemble II exemplify the extraordinary gift with ease.

Perhaps the most bizarre – yet strangely satisfying – event of the evening involved listening to Jazz Ensemble I, JSU’s premier performing jazz group, play beautifully creative renditions of “Everything in Its Right Place,” “High and Dry,” and “BodySnatchers” – all tunes from the hit rock band RadioHead.

It’s official: JSU Jazz has no boundaries when it comes to the music that is focused on, which is a wonderfully refreshing change to this writer.

Dr. William A. Meehan, President of JSU, was in attendance and was well pleased by the performance.

“I enjoyed it,” said Dr. Meehan. “Best way to spend a Friday night.”

For those that would like to show their support for the Jazz Program, JSU Jazz merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, and more) can be purchased at

The next performance will be JSU Jazz Night at Ona’s Music Room on November 6, 2013 in Birmingham.

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