Sept. 27, 2012 2:56 p.m.

Smooth jazz connects audience of all ages

In a world where it seems everyone is focused only on heavy metal music, hippity-hop and that damned folk music, it’s nice to know some people still love the smooth sound of jazz. The music department at Laramie County Community College will show that love with its annual “Fallin’ for Jazz” concert in early November.

The performance involves combining local high schools’ and the college’s jazz bands for a one-night-only exposition of jazz music. Normally, it involves LCCC, East High, Central High and South High schools, but this year Pine Bluffs High School will also be thrown into the mix.

Chance for community reach

“It really gives students a chance to reach out to the locals,” said LCCC music instructor and brains behind the concert, Gary Hall. “And it’s a great way to showcase the LCCC jazz band, as some of the high school students end up coming over here.” Given that a jazz competition doesn’t happen until spring, the concert also substitutes as a way for students to practice and work out the kinks.

“It gives them something to aim for and prepare for during the fall,” Hall said. One of the biggest additions to this year’s program is the host guest musician, saxophonist/composer/music educator David Pietro. Based out of New York, Pietro has done extended work as soloman, bandleader, sideman and clinician. He has also been awarded grants from Chamber Music America’s New Work: Creation and Presentation Program aimed at creating original works.

“He’s gonna do a piece with all the groups, and he is a truly amazing musician,” Hall said. “It is going to be really great for all the students to get to work with such a pro.” Hall also said he hoped that given the amount of complex work being handled by the students that practice will make perfect and give them plenty to grow with.

Constant change brings refreshment to music

“What’s special is that every year half our group changes,” Hall said. “All of this challenging music is giving them a chance to grow and mature as artists. They are working tremendously, but we still have a lot of room to grow, which is expected, of course.”

As for the audience, Hall believes jazz is music to which they can connect and relate because of its smooth, blues-like sound. This is the exact reason he loves teaching it. “I love teaching jazz to students who wish to grow and play for audiences who love it,” Hall said.

“It connects to people on a more personal level.” The show is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Cheyenne Civic Center. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted on behalf of the Comea Shelter.

Fallin' for Jazz