In the month of February, Jazz is coming to Stevens Point. Two jazz legends from two generations are coming to perform in Stevens Point, Trombone Shorty and Lee Konitz.
“We have an amazing opportunity to see two wonderful artists who draw from very different styles within the jazz tradition back-to-back,” said Professor Mathew Buchman, the director of jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Jazz originated in the 20th century with a fusion of African and European musical traditions. There are countless different styles of jazz ranging from cool jazz to jazz funk. Trombone Shorty is a young saxophonist from New Orleans who was discovered while on tour with Lenny Kravitz.
In 2010, he released his debut album Backatown which made its way to the top of Billboard Magazine’s Contemporary Jazz Chart and stayed there for nine weeks. Trombone Shorty calls his unique sound of rock, funk, jazz, hip-hop, and soul, Supafunkrock.
“Trombone Shorty to me demonstrates how contagious excitement and passion can be. You will also learn to think of the trombone in a completely different way after you hear him,” said junior music and Spanish education major Elizabeth DuPont.
Lee Konitz is another jazz artist coming to UWSP to perform at the 20th annual UWSP Jazz festival. The Jazz Festival is open to high school and middle school jazz groups that can participate in music sessions and master classes.
Lee Konitz is an 83-year-old jazz legend. He started his career in the 1940s and worked with other jazz legends such as Miles Davis and Benny Goodman. “So I think it’s fair to place Konitz in the cool school,” said Buchman.
Konitz separated himself from other famous jazz artists at the time by creating his own personal sound which strayed away from the model that most performers were using at the time.
“You don’t have to understand everything he does to appreciate his ability to play and create melodies that speak something to you,” said DuPont.
While jazz music originated many years ago, it is still relevant in this century.
“It is a part of our national fabric, something we can call American, something we could share with the rest of the world,” said DuPont.
Trombone Shorty is performing at Sentry Insurance at 7:30 pm on Thursday, February 3, 2011. To purchase tickets go to http://tickets.uwsp.edu/.
Lee Konitz will be performing at Michelson Hall in the Noel Fine Arts Center on Friday, February 4, 2011 at 7:30pm. There will be a question and answer session with Konitz at 2 pm.