Some of the top musical talents in the Jazz world have penciled EWU on their calendars, ready to perform to an audience of students and fans.
Low Brass and Jazz Studies Assistant Professor Rob Tapper said the musical lineups scheduled by the program keep improving, and this is the first year EWU has events scheduled with three major bands.
“Probably one of the only schools that does something like that,” he said. “It builds the foundation of what we do, deeper where everyone’s involved.”
Securing the different people to play at EWU is a hard task, Tapper said.
The Tonight Show’s Don Severinsen had booked a free informal session at EWU Jan. 30, but cancelled so he could be part of a tribute to Johnny Carson on The Late Show With David Letterman.
Every scheduled musician has a teaching background, an important requirement to play at EWU.
Instruction experience is a necessary component for students and the program because the musicians are great at what they do, and it shows the students what can be achieved, Tapper said.
“It’s a learning experience for all of us, the faculty and myself too, to see how they teach,” he said.
Percussionist Steve Hobbs performs Feb. 28-March 1 with the EWU Lab Jazz Band (3rd Jazz Band), giving master classes in percussion and improvisation.
“He has played with some very serious people in the world of Jazz. Bringing that experience here is phenomenal,” Tapper said. “Having our percussionists and Jazz students exposed to him is important.”
Director of Jazz Studies at James Madison University Chuck Dotas performed Feb. 22-23 with the Repertory Jazz Ensemble (2nd Jazz Band) and Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
“He’s probably as good of a writer, arranger, composer as anyone out there,” Tapper said.
Dotas has the stature of a top lawyer in his field, though without the high cost, Tapper said.
Dotas is considered a first class singer and composer, Tapper said.
Prior to Dotas’ arrival, Tapper said he expected that Dotas would have some kind of interaction with the 90 students in the music program.
The Toby Koenigsberg Trio will be featured in a clinic and performance March 7 at EWU’s music building.
“He’s very creative and has a lot of things going for him,” Tapper said.