As the smooth sound of jazz travels from the golden bell of a saxophone to the ears of eager listeners, across the stage skillful fingers dance among the ivory keys of a piano. The dull thuds of a bass reverberate through the night air, cutting the evening silence.
This is the setting for Fri., March 13, in room 115 of the Davis Music Building. From 5:15 to 7:00 p.m., the UC Davis Music Department is hosting their second Jazz Composers Concert. The first concert took place during fall quarter, and coordinator of the concert, music lecturer Jacám Manricks, hopes to make this showcase a quarterly event.
Friday’s concert features student musicians from Manricks’ Student Composers Ensemble, as well as professional jazz performers. The program includes ten student-composed pieces of music that will be performed by undergraduate students as well as professional instrumentalists. There are around 14 student musicians in the ensemble, including four who are composers.
These students represent a variety of age groups and levels of expertise in music. Highlighted in Friday’s concert are student composers Jeanatan Carlisle, Joshua Bubar, Jacob Medaris and Billy Nguyen.
The group of professional musicians accompanying the ensemble has been picked by and includes Manricks. Sam Griffith, the Director of Jazz ensembles at UC Davis, will be playing the trombone, Manricks will be on saxophone and Sacramento musician Scott Collard will be on piano.
Manricks is a renowned jazz composer, saxophonist and prominent figure in the last decade’s New York City jazz scene. Drawing inspiration from the experimental styles of Duke Ellington and Ellington’s band, Manricks began the Student Composer Ensemble with three students. Since fall quarter, the program has experienced substantial growth, and student enthusiasm for the curriculum has flourished.
“The idea was just to have a working laboratory. There’s a lot of colors and musical textures to experiment with,” Manricks said.
Phil Daley, both an alumnus of UC Davis and current manager of the UC Davis Music Department, expresses his support for the student composer group. Daley said how he believes that this opportunity for undergraduates to work with professional musicians is enriching for the students.
“The [students] learn so much about the music, but gain even greater respect for [the work] jazz composers [do],” Daley said.
Admission to the event is free of charge.
Graphic by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team.
Photo by Dimitra Loumiotis.