The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI Jazz ensembles perform

The main reason most students come to college is to specialize in a specific field or fields. College gives students the needed time and experience required to gain expertise in a particular area.

It’s exactly that sort of experience that’s offered to students in two University of Iowa bands, Johnson County Landmark and the Jazz Reparatory Ensemble.

The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., will play host to these two groups at 6 p.m. today. Admission ranges from $3 to $5.

"The Jazz Reparatory Ensemble is almost always filled with undergrads; they focus on pieces that are historically important," said Steve Grismore, a jazz lecturer in the School of Music. "Johnson County Landmark is a mixture of grad and undergrad students. What they play tends to be more contemporary and avant-garde."

Landmark requires its players to be well-versed in both reading and improvisation. The band is under the direction of graduate TA Eric Bush while Jazz Reparatory Ensemble Director and Professor John Rapson is on sabbatical.

"Performing at the Mill is such a good experience," Bush said. "Iowa City has a wonderful jazz community that does a very nice job coming out with its support."

Bush’s peers praise the opportunities for growth that such events extend to the performers.

"Playing in Jazz Reparatory Ensemble and Johnson County Landmark provides students with the experience of performing in large jazz ensembles, in which they deal with technical issues unique to this setting, such as being able to read charts, find the proper blend, and play dynamically," said James Dreier, a lecturer in the music school’s Jazz Department. "They also have to be prepared to do a solo if called on."

The more stylistic challenges emphasized in jazz ensure that the players are better apt to integrate with the band.

"This is a great opportunity for students who want to continue playing jazz and become more serious," Grismore said. "People who are in these ensembles usually stay in musical fields."

Though this performance at the Mill is its own show, Bush said, it also offers a chance for a test run of sorts before Johnson County Landmark’s appearance at the Englert on April 9. The show will be in collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa’s Jazz Band One and feature Dick Oatts playing saxophone.

Being a part of these jazz ensembles is a chance for its members to get better through the direction of their teachers, working with other bands and musicians.

"[Jazz] is a great form of music that needs to be heard," Grismore said. "I think it’s great to hear the soloists and to watch the players grow in their performance abilities."


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