HAYS, Kan. – The combined jazz ensembles of Fort Hays State University will perform in a concert of big band jazz in its annual Fall Jazz Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
Playing music written for the Buddy Rich Band, Stan Kenton, Count Basie and several others, the ensembles will take audience members through the history of big band jazz. Music from the swing era as well as music written in the 21st century for contemporary bands will be played.
“This concert features a wide variety of big band music from bands at the beginning of the era to contemporary bands,” said Bradley Dawson, assistant professor of music at FHSU. “It is really an adventure in big band jazz history.”
Big band jazz has been around since before swing, which started in the mid 1930s and became popular with people always dancing to it across the United States. Some of the famous bands and leaders of the time included Basie, Kenton, Benny Goodman and Glen Miller, said Dawson.
“This music is purely American,” he said. “Jazz began in America with European, African and Latin American influences.”
During the concert, both drummers in Jazz 1, Brandon Jones, senior from Abilene majoring in music, and August Phlieger, junior from Natoma majoring in information networking and telecommunications, will be featured. Other members of the bands will also have solos throughout the concert.
“We’ve had lots of students graduate in the last few years, so there are a lot of new, young musicians in the band,” said Dawson. “They are very promising and getting better all the time.”
Admission to the concert is free.
“This is a great opportunity for jazz fans to hear music that they rarely get to hear live,” said Dawson. “If you went to hear the Falconaires and enjoyed their music, then you should come hear our band!”