Funk, Latin, jazzed pop, and reggae– this year the Belmont Jazz Festival, which March 15-18, is featuring more than just swing jazz.
“If you came all four nights to each one of the concerts, you would hear completely different music,” said Dr. Kirk, Belmont professor and conductor of Jazz Band One.
The third annual festival consists of three concerts, one each night, including different ensembles to show the many colors of jazz.
Tuesday’s concert features the Jazz Strings Quartet and Septet, directed by a founder of the Turtle Island String Quartet, Tracy Silverman. Following Jazz Strings is a collection of commercial electric bass players in the relatively new Bass Ensemble.
“It’s really pretty incredible to hear the sound,” Dr. Kirk said of the Bass Ensemble.
Jazz Small Group and Jazz Band Two will perform Wednesday, March 16. The festival then has a break on Thursday to set up for Friday’s concert with the Jazz Vocal Ensemble.
Belmont has many opportunities for commercial music (the annual showcases) but students feel this festival gives spotlight to the understated genre of jazz.
For Eric Taylor, jazz is a creative form of expression.
“I’m a music education major so jazz is really the only commercial music I can play,” said Taylor, baritone sax player in Jazz Band One.
Jazz One Ensemble’s Ben Jones sees jazz a goal to work toward.
“It has been very challenging for me over the past four years to develop that skill,” Jones said.
The final jazz concert which was scheduled for March 19 has been rescheduled to April 30.