Students from two jazz ensembles in the music department will have their first performance Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cypress Recital Hall.
The Jazz “B” Band will be performing a modern set including compositions by Vince Mendoza, Mike Holober, Toshiko Akyoshi, Jim McNeely and others, under the direction of Gary Pratt, coordinator of Jazz Studies at CSUN, and special guest Howard Shear, a trumpet soloist who teaches at CSUN.
Under the direction of John Daversa, a professor at USC, the NuVeau Art Ensemble will perform an improvisation composed by members of the ensemble titled “Musical Cue and Fragmentation Suite.”
“CSUN’s jazz program has quite a standing in the jazz community,” Pratt said. “Many of our students go on to study at prestigious graduate institutions.”
Although the ensembles are open for any CSUN students to audition and be chosen, 99 percent of the Studio and NuVeau ensembles are composed of jazz students who are placed in the ensemble according to their expertise, Pratt said.
“The concept for the performance by Jazz “B” Band was chosen democratically by the students in the band and the professor (me),” Pratt said. “The pieces have been composed for jazz ensembles.”
The ensembles on campus have been critically recognized in this part of the country, Pratt said.
“CSUN’s Jazz ‘B’ Band was placed among the top five collegiate jazz bands in the Reno Jazz Festival from 2005-2008,” Pratt said.
The NuVeau Art Ensemble, under Daversa, chooses a different theme for every performance every semester.
“The concepts and themes for NuVeau are usually student-derived, so it is a collaborative and democratic effort,” Daversa said. “We get together in the beginning of the semester and discuss different concepts and put one together to use for this performance.”
Daversa was a special guest soloist with the NuVeau Art Ensemble during the spring semester while Pratt was still the director. This is his first semester as the director of the NuVeau Art Ensemble.
“We chose our theme – ‘Musical Cue and Fragmentation Suite’ – fairly quickly because all the students have a similar philosophy in the ensemble,” Daversa said.
The students created the theme for the performance to aid them in their student competitions, Daversa said.
“As an ensemble, the students have the option of playing just fragments of a piece in random order,” Daversa said. “Each fragmented piece will cue to the next student or will end the piece.”
All the student pieces are original, Daversa said.
“NuVeau is a special ensemble because it’s based on improvisation,” Daversa said. “Our players are so open-minded, but we need a level of foundation so the whole group can turn direction in an instant and go off on another concept at any time. We improvise our way through any problems.”
Among the compositions performed will be “Baby Theme” by Will Wulfeck, “Strangers Now” by Juanma Trujillo, “Unidentified Objects” by Matt DiGiovanna and “The Bridge” by John Daversa.