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UMN students, local teenagers, more perform at jazz fest

The festival showcased the University of Minnesota’s ensembles, along with a featured guest performer and bands from local schools.
Image by Joshua Badroos
The University’s jazz ensembles will perform once more this semester on April 19.

The 2023 University of Minnesota Jazz Festival boasted a rapturous array of classic and modern blues on Saturday at Ted Mann Concert Hall.

Before the jazz ensembles performed, the festival opened its doors to performers from middle and high schools from around the Twin Cities area.

Courtney Edwards, a master’s student in trumpet performance, said she loves that the festival gives audiences an opportunity to listen to their neighborhood schools’ bands as well as the University’s jazz ensembles.

“It’s always really great to host these bands at the jazz festival,” Edwards said.

Phil Hey, a drummer and the director of the Jazz Ensemble Ⅱ, kicked off the festival with Duke Ellington’s “Sepia Panorama.” The roaring introduction to the afternoon’s main event drew immediate applause from the crowd.

Toward the end of his ensemble’s set, Hey introduced Michael Davis, the guest artist of the festival.

Davis, an acclaimed trombonist from San Francisco known for his work with the Rolling Stones and on Broadway, performed his song “Walk Like the Guv” alongside the students.

After a brief pause in the action, Jazz Ensemble I, led by School of Music professor Dean Sorenson, opened with Bob Brookmeyer’s “Seesaw.”

Sorenson welcomed Davis back on stage to finish the ensemble’s set with four more of his tunes in smooth fashion and in great rapport with the respected trombonist.

School of Music senior trombonist Matt Healy expressed his appreciation for the guest artist.

“It was such a treat getting to work with one of the country’s greatest living trombone players,” Healy said. “All of us in the section felt super lucky to have such a trombone heavy concert that involved working with Michael. We certainly played better as a section, and we were inspired by his artistry.”

The University’s School of Music will showcase its jazz ensembles once more this semester on April 19 in Ted Mann Concert Hall.

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