NDSU Jazz Festival Showcases Spectrum of Performers
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 09:02
This Friday and Saturday, the NDSU School of Music kicks off a showcase of jazz music with a collaboration spanning schools and skills. As a high school invitational, this program will be presenting jazz music of all kinds for and by high school students. Three renowned guest artists will be heading the helm with the NDSU Jazz Ensemble along for the ride as well.
Bassist Brian Torff, trumpet Larry Williams and saxophonist David Milne are slated for the stage during this two-day festival, offering their insight to regional music students, as well as playing right alongside them. Torff, a jazz bassist/composer and music program director at Fairfield University, is no stranger to North Dakota even though he is East Coast-based.
“I’ve taught at the International Music Camp, about ten years or so ago, so I know some of the guys who are on the faculty there,” he said. “I think I also maybe played at this festival one time before, many years ago.”
Though this festival will not allow for a spotlight solo performance of any of the guest artists, their collaborations with area students will offer snapshots of their skills. They are also giving master classes and working closely with the NDSU Jazz Ensemble and high school bands, as well as critiquing performances. These clinics are free and open to the public.
For his collaborative performance, Torff has something a little different up his sleeve in relation to his trumpet and saxophone counterparts.
“My performance will be a little bit more contemporary, so I would say it…crosses into more of the rock and pop arena and a little world music,” he said. “I have a feeling that my material will be a little more contemporary than maybe some of the other things that you’ll hear that night.”
Broken up into two days, each concert will showcase something different. The first night will feature the smaller groups with a student focus, while the festival will conclude on the second night with a blowout performance between the three guest artists and the NDSU Jazz Ensemble. For those who cannot attend the Feb. 8 concert, a video feed will be available from livestream.com.
For Torff, working and playing so closely with these high school and college students is a real reward, as showcasing performers from all areas of the spectrum is what this festival is about at its core. Put those talents together with the swanky styles of jazz music, and everyone is in for a good time.
“I think it’ll be a really great energy,” Torff said. “The students will play with a lot of enthusiasm, [and] we really get excited working with young talent.”
The NDSU School of Music High School Invitational Jazz Festival is Feb. 7 and 8. The Jazz Combos Concert is at 6 p.m. on Feb. 7 in Beckwith Recital Hall, and is free and open to the public. The Jazz Festival Concert is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8. Tickets will cost $5 for adults, $2 for seniors and students, and are free for NDSU students with a valid I.D.