By Morgan Jackson, Assistant Arts Editor
It’s rare for college students to have the opportunity to experience jazz music in live settings.
At OBU, this opportunity comes in the form of Night of Jazz, an event taking place Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ma-bee Suite at the Noble Complex.
“Night of Jazz is a semi-formal concert that occurs every semester with performances by OBU student ensembles and a guest artist,” assistant professor in instrumental music and director of the Bison Jazz Orchestra Justin Pierce said.
The Bison Jazz Orchestra, the Bison Jazz Combo and guest pianist Adam Ledbetter will be performing at the event on Saturday.
“Adam Ledbetter is a phenomenal jazz pianist based out of OKC and very well known in the OKC jazz scene,” sophomore and member of the Bison Jazz Orchestra Matthew Ander-son said. “You’ll get to hear tons of great musicians, be they guitarists, saxophonists, trumpeters, or even singers on a song or two.”
Many students are eager for the chance to see Led-better perform on Saturday night.
“This year’s guest artist is keys player Adam Ledbetter out of Oklahoma City,” OBU sophomore and musician Tyler Smothers said. “He’s definitely good enough at jazz and RnB to be playing in New York or Los Angles.”
The night allows for students to be able to hear jazz music in its intended live environment, and in a more intimate setting than usual.
“This is a chance for OBU students to experience a live jazz club environment and hear their fellow students perform,” Pierce said.
The Night of Jazz could also serve as a first look into the art form of jazz for someone who is unfamiliar and willing to give it a listen.
“The Night of Jazz is a great introduction to someone who may not be familiar with ‘the whole jazz thing,’ but it also has something to offer for people who are Bore familiar with the art form,” Anderson said. “Jazz is really a communicative art form, where all of the musicians are talking to one another and bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s very different from any other sort of music and I really believe that it’s something special.”
Night of Jazz reinforces the cultural relevance of jazz music to students who may be unfamiliar with its roots.
“Though jazz is a product of many cultures, including Africa and Latin America, it is a uniquely American art form, created in part by the blending of cultures found here,” Pierce said. “Because jazz is an improvised music, hearing it performed live is a unique experience.”
Night of Jazz is an established tradition at OBU.
“This event has been a tradition at OBU for at least ten years and at one point, was held once per month,” Pierce said.
Even though Night of Jazz is an annual event, the night still embraces the improvisational nature of jazz music and performance.
“The Night of Jazz is helping to keep the tradition of jazz going without making it all about tradition,” Anderson said. “We’re playing some classic tunes, some modern ones, and some in between. When it comes down to it, jazz is a moment’s music made in a moment’s time, a spontaneous expression of the musicians.”
Interested students are encouraged to attend the Night of Jazz performance. The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 6 in the Ma-bee Suite at 7:00 p.m
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