Jazz ensembles present annual performance

Megan Confer

Kent State Jazz Ensembles will perform their annual spring jazz concert Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Cartwright Auditorium.

“There are two Jazz ensembles, Jazz I and Jazz II,” said Director Chas Baker. “The concert begins with Jazz II, which is Bobby Selvaggio’s band.”

Baker said this is the Jazz Ensembles’ fifth performance of the semester.

“The more performing you do, the better the music will be at the end of the semester,” Baker said. “We try to do a variety of styles, and we have a vocalist with us for Jazz Ensemble I.”

Baker said the bands are divided based on ability, however, the dividing line is very small. Baker served as the ensemble’s only conductor for 33 years until Selvaggio joined after the jazz minor was initiated.

“The thing I like about it is he has his own take,” Baker said. “Since he’s come on, the other band has taken on a whole different identity. It’s just refreshing to have a different viewpoint.”

Baker said Jazz I is a competition band.

“We competed at the Elmhurst College Jazz fest, and we were one out of five that received an outstanding band designation,” Baker said.

Baker said the end of the semester concert is a great opportunity to showcase a soloist and play some difficult material.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Contact Megan Confer at [email protected].