One of the lesser known ensembles on Valparaiso University’s campus is the Jazz Ensemble. Directed by Jeffrey C. Brown, the Valparaiso University Jazz Ensemble performs professional-level repertoire in concert and at outreach performances at schools, community events and numerous alumni gatherings. In addition to performing multiple concerts throughout the year at locations such as Duffy’s Place, the Jazz Ensemble is also the host of the annual Jazz Fest.
Jazz Fest is a week of performances showcasing local high school bands, university ensembles and well-renowned professional jazz artists.
The two featured performers, Victor Wooten Trio and CALJE, are well regarded professional performers. Victor Wooten is a five-time Grammy Award winner and was voted one of the Top 10 bass players of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. He is the only three-time winner of the Bass Player of the Year award in the history of Bass Player Magazine.
His band features jazz stars Dennis Chambers on drums and Bob Franceschini on saxophone. Founded in 2006, CALJE fuses Afro-Latin American music and jazz with influences from Chicago’s diverse Latin and jazz community. CALJE has played in some of the finest performance venues around the country.
This year’s event will be hosted from April 3-8 in the union ballrooms. According to the university published schedule, featured content includes:
Local high school bands and the Valparaiso University student jazz combo — Monday, April 3, 6 p.m., Harre Union ballrooms. Admission is free.
Valparaiso University Jazz Ensemble and Ballroom Dancers, featuring vocalist Maura Janton Cock — Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., Harre Union ballrooms. Sponsored by the Valparaiso University Music Department and the Valparaiso Concert Association. An evening of classic jazz standards from the 40s, 50s, and beyond. Tickets cost $15 for the general public; $10 for seniors and non-Valpo students; and are free to Valpo students, faculty, staff and card-carrying members of the Valparaiso Concert Association.
Local high school bands with special guest performance by the Valparaiso University Faculty Jazz Trio — Wednesday, April 5, 6 p.m., Harre Union ballrooms. Admission is free.
Valparaiso University Jazz Ensemble featuring special guest Mark Colby, tenor saxophone — Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m., Harre Union ballrooms. Directed by Jeffrey C. Brown. Tickets cost $10 for the general public; $8 for seniors and Valpo retirees and alumni; and are free to Valpo students, faculty and staff.
Victor Wooten Trio featuring Dennis Chambers and Bob Franceschini — Friday, April 7, 8 p.m., Harre Union Ballroom C. Tickets cost $25 for the general public; $20 for seniors and Valpo retirees, alumni, faculty and staff; and $10 for Valpo students.
CALJE (The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble) featuring Papo Santago, vocals — Saturday, April 8, 8 p.m., Harre Union ballrooms. Tickets cost $25 for the general public; $20 for seniors and Valpo retirees, alumni, faculty and staff; and $10 for Valpo students.
Jazz fest will be an excellent showcase of the talent of both students and professionals. Both high school bands have free admission and the university Jazz Ensemble and the professional groups have small admission fees that are but a small price to pay for a high-level performance. I look forward to seeing you all take a break from homework at next week’s Jazz Fest!
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.