CSUF jazz bands bring the beat

In Arts & Entertainment, Music
Courtesy of CSUF Music Department
Courtesy of CSUF Music Department

Cal State Fullerton’s small jazz groups are set to take stage in the Benton Minor Recital Hall next week.

Four jazz groups will be part of the event set for March 14 at 8 p.m. with free admission.

Formerly called “combos,” the small jazz groups; perform two concerts during the semester.

In the music department there are a total of eight small jazz groups.

The other four will be performing in the second concert taking place in April.

The jazz groups will include the Art Rock Ensemble, Fullerton Jazz Quartet, The Jazz Singers Trio (which is directed by Bill Cunliffe, a Professor of Music) and Quarter ‘Til (directed by Charles “Chuck” Tumlinson, Ph.D., professor of Music).

Co-director Cunliffe called the small jazz groups the heart of the jazz programs because jazz is a genre of improvisation.

The small jazz groups play original songs and different variations of a song also.

“It’s one of the crown jewels, one of the real hidden treasures of the Cal State Fullerton experience,” said Cunliffe about the jazz at CSUF.

There will be a lot of traditional jazz music being played with mainstream jazz styles such as bop and hard bop.

Some groups will also perform from the beginning of jazz including dixieland.

The Art Rock Ensemble will feature more of a rock-style fusion and hard rock.

A song that a Quarter ‘Til will perform is “Reincarnation of a Lovebird” by Charles Mingus, which is an interesting sound with a mix of avant garde and traditional jazz.

They also will be performing a Radiohead song and a hip hop song.

Every band will play about 20 minutes of music. The event will last for about 80 minutes.

The CSUF small jazz groups are set apart from others because they have to memorize all their music; there is no sheet music.

The jazz groups are expected to learn music by listening to records.

This is a standard that Dr. Tumlinson expects from them.

According to Cunliffe, the audience and artist should experience a deep and profound connection during a concert.

“We want jazz to be a thing that communicates with people so that it will survive,” said Cunliffe.

Benton Minor Recital Hall is perfect for this interaction with minimal microphones and no music stands, making it an intimate feeling with the audience and the players.

“People really love them,” said Cunliffe about the concerts. “It’s fun to listen to and fun to see.”

The small jazz groups have been winners in previous years of the Reno Jazz festival.

It is one of the biggest jazz festivals in the west.

CSUF small jazz groups partake in a share of events outside of CSUF, performing at parties, venues and other concerts.

Quarter ‘Til performed at President Mildred García’s inauguration in a mini collage concert.

This event is free and around 100 people are expected to attend.

Cunliffe encourages people to arrive early to get a seat.

Steven Ragsdale, a 22-year-old music major, is one of the leaders of a small jazz groups.

Quarter ‘Til has been playing music for about eight years.

“It’s a real good time of year for the jazz program right now, for the music program­—it’s probably the best its been in years,” Ragsdale said.

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