Lane’s Jazz Month began with the Jazz Ensemble’s rescheduled December performance, which was cancelled due to weather conditions, on Jan. 10 at the Building 6 Ragozzino Performance Hall.
Lane music teacher Paul Kruger said students worked hard when practicing for the concert and some adjustments were necessary to ensure the performance would continue as planned.
“We rescheduled because we wanted to. Because it was our one performance in the fall, it was just the Lane Jazz Ensemble, our own feature concert where we get to play. We’ve been working on that repertoire throughout fall term. We wanted to make sure the students got a chance to present it, in public somehow, even if it wasn’t ideal,” Kruger said.
There were some complications with rescheduling this event. Some students had other obligations.
“I had to move it up to 5:00 p.m. instead of our normal 7:30 p.m. start time because our bass player has another gig in town later tonight,” he said. “So we had to make sure everyone could play, make sure we had a chance for people to come and listen.”
Jazz Ensemble is a three-term course that produces a performance at the end of each of those terms. Typically, the class gets a chance to shine and present their skills solo.
The Combos, which performs an improvisational form of jazz, were scheduled to perform a show that was also cancelled Dec. 10 in the Blue Door Theater due to the snowy weather.
“Tonight we’re playing seven songs. Our set is 45 minutes to an hour long,” Kruger said.
Later this month, Lane will host the Oregon Jazz Festival. Lane’s Jazz Ensemble will again share the stage with University of Oregon’s Jazz Ensemble and a special guest.
“Later on Saturday evening, they have a guest band come in. This year it’s Kneebody, which is a jazz-rock fusion group,” Kruger said.
Ben Latimer, a second-year Lane student and veteran of the Jazz Ensemble, has three solos in this performance. He plays the tenor saxaphone, but also has begun learning the clarinet and flute.
“I love all types of music, but I think jazz perfectly articulates what life is. It shows the highs, the lows, the sweetness of it, the disastrous moments, the loving, the kind — even the anger of it,” Latimer said. “I’m so glad I started at Lane. Everyone here is here to help you succeed, and you can’t beat the price.”
A fellow soloist, Chloe Ann Rice, plays baritone saxaphone, soloing in the melody “Crescent City Stomp.”
“It’s a lot better than high school. I just graduated recently. It’s nice to be in a college band,” she said. “They know their stuff, and they’re passionate about their music. Everyone is here for music.”
Admission for these events is typically $5, except for special events. The proceeds go to help Lane’s music students gain scholarships and receive private tutoring to improve their craft.
“For all the concert admission money, whether it’s the Jazz Ensemble, for the choirs — any of the music groups — all of that money goes directly into student scholarships,” Kruger said.
Students audition for these scholarships each term.
Oregon Jazz Festival begins Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Building 6.