AU Jazz Orchestra hosts Jazz Festival

By Dan Shade

The AU Jazz Orchestra just returned from their tour of Spain, and right away had to host their biggest event of the year, the 2012 Maplerock Jazz Festival. Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Scott Garlock hosted the event, which kicked off in the early afternoon with high school bands.

This year’s festival featured high school jazz bands from Ashland, Rittman, and Lakewood during the day.

At night, the AU Jazz Orchestra hosted a concert that featured guest artist trombonist, Pete Cumming.

During this part of the concert, several musicians were featured, including seniors Aaron Hill and Trent Kimball.

Zach Brock and his trio, The Magic Number, then joined the band for a song before intermission. This is a unique opportunity that AU music students have, as they are able to perform with a profession band during a concert. It is also unique because the band doesn’t have much rehearsal time with their guest artists.

The concert then had an intermission, where they changed the stage for The Magic Number trio. The Magic Number was a new twist to the festival, as they were an acoustic trio with Brock on violin, Matt Wigton on bass and Fred Kennedy on drums.

Previous festivals have featured guest artists from the jazz and big band music scene. The Magic Number trio featured original arrangements that spread from indie to classic jazz. They also featured a couple pop standards during the show, as they brought a new sound and flair to the Ashland campus.

Although the band was young and played newer styles of music, there was a lack of AU students in attendance.

Maybe students are turned off by the term jazz because that was music that their parents or grandparents listened to, but it is so much more than that.

If young people gave jazz music a chance, they would realize that it has changed and transformed over time.

Many times in schools, jazz becomes playing music that is written on a page, but jazz is much more than that. The Magic Number trio showed what jazz can be and lead to, and that is an improvisational blend of the music that you enjoy.

Perhaps there should be a new term that described their music that wouldn’t scare people away, and that would be creative expression.

They were able to combine many musical styles into their own creative message.

Jazz can be the basis for so many musical styles. The Magic Number trio was an example of what a background in jazz can lead to musically. Improvisation was the key to their performance, and hopefully younger audiences can realize how wide of a style jazz is.