Kent State jazz band sets tempo


The Kent State jazz band has a busy week planned just two weeks into the semester.

Chas Baker, Kent State jazz band director, booked three performances for this week alone.

Scott Marsh, lead trombonist of the jazz band, said, “Chas scheduled these gigs already to let us get our heads focused and remind us we are a serious gigging ensemble.”

Tonight the jazz band is booked at Ellen High School in Akron at 7:30. This performance serves recruitment purposes in addition to getting the band back into the swing of things.

The jazz band also was invited to appear at the “Let Freedom Ring” event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the Kiva.

The band will close out its performances this week with a tsunami benefit concert 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Kent Stage.

“I’m pleased when the band can do benefits like this,” Baker said. “All the profits go to support the victims of the tsunami.”

Although the band has lost a few members to graduation and members going on to student teach, it still has positive expectations for this week’s events.

Marsh said, “This is one of the better bands in the last

five years.”

The jazz band is divided into two 18- to 20-piece big band ensembles. The primary performing group, jazz band one, plays most of the events while jazz band two serves as a training camp to give musicians experience.

Most members are music majors. However, is it open to any Kent State student.

Jazz band one is looking forward to performing at many other events and locations this semester.

“We have a trip planned to Chicago at the end of February,” Marsh said. “We are able to go again thanks to the great job the jazz band did last year.”

The band is also looking to plan a trip to New York this semester. This trip would be a workshop and would occur at the end of March.

Baker plans to keep the band busy for the rest of the semester with various area performances.

“Right now we have about seven or eight performances booked, but by the time the semester is done we usually end up doing about 12 gigs,” Baker said.

–—Carissa Bowlin