CSUN jazz band performed at Monterey Jazz Festival

Leonie Jones

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CSUN continued to break records and bring change by having the first band with all undergraduate members to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival, that took place Sept. 17 to 19.

Matt Harris, co-director of jazz studies and director of the Jazz “A” Band, helped lead the band to this prestigious event.

The chance to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival spawned from winning a competition at Monterey’s Next Generation Jazz Festival in April.

“It was an honor to be at the festival and be around internationally renowned artists,” Harris said.

According to Juan Trujillo, guitar player for the Jazz “A” Band, it was a privilege to play at the festival and to be on stage with well-known artists.

“I was able to play with people who shaped me as a musician,” Trujillo said.

courtesy of Matt Harris

Harris said the festival, which featured music from Africa, Australia and all over the world, was filled with every style of jazz.
The band had its moment to shine during the weekend event. On Sept. 19 the band played several selections and shared the stage with Chris Potter, a world-renowned saxophonist.

According to Harris, the students were excited about their win and felt it was a huge honor to play at the festival, and aside from winning, simply being able to compete was great.

The band had the opportunity to enjoy music all weekend, not only at the festival grounds but in the hotel as well. At night, various bands would have “jam” sessions in the lobby of the hotel.

“It was one of the most exciting weekends,” said Gabriel Rudner, pianist for the Jazz “A” Band. “The band was able to jam in the hotel with other artists from the festival. That was one of the best moments.”

The jazz band had received support not only from its peers but from Robert Bucker, dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication, and Elizabeth Sellers, media composition department chair.

Throughout the weekend, the band was also able to listen to other artists and participate in different festivities.

“When we left the festival, we felt excited and proud,” Harris said. “Being at this festival was the equivalent of winning a Super Bowl or Rose Bowl.”