Jazz Ensemble gets funky in the Performing Arts Center

Morgan Reddekopp, News Reporter

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Wednesday, Nov. 8, Winona State University’s Jazz Ensemble held a concert in the Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theater in the Performing Arts Center auditorium. Winona State’s Jazz Ensemble had been directed by Professor Rich MacDonald in the past, but this year is being directed by Dave Gudmastad who is filling in while MacDonald is on sabbatical.

Jared Lancette, junior trumpet player, said he was pleased with how the concert went, and is excited for the new music to come next semester.

“This was a great concert for our band. Our group really has excellent chemistry and we’ll only continue to improve,” Lancette said. “Dave has done an exceptional job filling in for Dr. MacDonald. I’m excited to get started on tunes for next semester. My favorite song was ‘Absoluticrous’ by Gordon Goodwin. It was my favorite because I love playing funk tunes. Our group played that piece especially well.”

Both Lancette and Gudmustad thought that the piece “Count Bubba” provided a few challenges to the ensemble, but the ensemble overcame them and played the song well.

“I’d say that ‘Count Bubba’ was the most challenging. Each section of the band had a soli (a solo performed by an entire section of the ensemble) that required a great deal of practice. Everyone in the band did their part and we played the tune well,” Lancette said.

Gudmastad thought that the piece “The Last Tangle of Lord Boogie” provided a few challenges for the ensemble.

“The Last Tangle of Lord Boogie’ provided serious challenges because of the time signatures. The piece demanded intense, deliberate counting from everyone,” Gudmastad said. “‘Count Buba’ was challenging because each horn section (trumpets, saxes, trombones) was required to perform at times without the benefit of rhythm section support.”

Gudmastad worked hard to ensure variety in the styles of jazz performed by the ensemble.

“My goal was to program music that provided both the players and audience a wide variety of jazz styles that included swing, funk, Latin, ballad, etc.,” Gudmastad said.

In order for group practices to run smoothly, everybody must also practice individually outside of group practice. According to Gudmastad, the Jazz Ensemble did a wonderful job keeping up with their practicing.

“To prepare, we used the regular ensemble practices, sectionals, and individual practice. I place a high priority on individual practice and preparation,” Gudmastad said. “The ensemble practice is not the time to solve individual problems. The ensemble members have outstanding work ethics.”