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Monthly jazz performances getting better audiences at Blue Square

October 4th, 2015 Posted in Opinion

By Amber Farrow

The lounge at the luxury student apartment complex, Blue Square, was filled with sound Wednesday evening for what has come to be known as the Jazz Jam Sessions.

On the last Wednesday of every month, students from Utah State University come to Blue Square to showcase their talent, but it hasn’t always been such a success.

“We used to hold the sessions on campus,” said Joshua Skinner, professor of jazz studies. “The only students that showed up were music majors that didn’t have a choice.”

This year, the goal is to give the students more real world experience.

“It’s important for a young musician to play in front of a live crowd,” Skinner said. “There’s no better way to learn how to gauge the mood of a room and make alterations to your set.”

Jazz is a largely improvisational genre of music. However, many jazz ensembles do not have the luxury of rehearsal time.

“We like to throw out challenges to our students,” Skinner said. “Sometimes we make students drop in on a song they’ve never performed to really test their sight reading and improv skills.”

The session went from 7 to 9 p.m. and featured a large array of classic and contemporary jazz pieces.

“I prefer the old greats like Gershwin and Johnson,” said Stephanie England, a trumpet performance major at USU. “Jazz is such a freeing form of music, it’s like organized chaos for the performers that somehow turns out listenable to the crowd.”

The session was free to the public and in the same vicinity as dinner and dessert options.

“That’s the best part,” England said. “You can come for the frozen yogurt, but stay for the music.”

The next Jazz Jam Session will be held in the Blue Square lounge on Oct. 28.



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