This year, the University has attracted some of the biggest names of the jazz industry to play and speak at the University including Branford Marsalis and Archie Shepp. Now, a group of University students hope to continue to showcase jazz as an important part of the University's performing arts community. According to College senior Stephen Lapointe, a guitarist and officer for the Ensemble, the show will also represent an ecclectic set of jazz styles, "ranging from Count Basie to more modern arrangements like Herbie Hancock, in addition to some funk arrangements." Ensemble members said that the show would differ from some past shows with an larger emphasis on "combos," which are normally smaller groups composed of four to six musicians. First-year Veterniary student Doug Thamm, in his fifth year with the ensemble, stressed the uniqueness of this show. "In the old days, the jazz band would play two sets and that would be the show," he said earlier this week. "Now little combo pieces interspersed make things more interesting for the audience." The ensemble will be riding a wave of campus interest in jazz. Several band members stressed the importance of the Penn Jazz Festival in regenerating such interest. "The festival has brought the focus back to jazz at Penn," said the band's president Lloyd Mandell, a Wharton and Engineering senior. But members said they are still skeptical about the sudden interest in jazz saying that people may not be understnading the roots of the music and focusing instead on the people involved. "There's still not a whole lot of interest in the music itself," Lapointe added. He noted that personalities such as Branford Marsalis have detracted from the music, citing that while 1400 people attended his concert, only 20 people attended a seminar on jazz the night before. Although jazz has surged in the past several years, members of the Ensemble have simultaneously faced their share of challenges at the University. For many, this year's change in directors has had a direct impact on their work habits. "We kind of get a little bit more done," Thamm said. Proceeds from the show will go towards fighting homelessness. The Penn Jazz Ensemble will perform their show, Infamy, tomorrow night at the Annenberg School Theater at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or on Locust Walk are are $3 for one, and $5 for two.Comments powered by Disqus
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