The Power of Youth in the New York Heart of Jazz

Recently I stood before a spontaneous decision of going to an event driven musically by Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble with special guest Marcus Printup. “Should I go, or should I not?” – I was wondering what I could expect from the young generation, undoubtedly with a great workshop. But still, will they be musically substantial and flattering enough? Ultimately, I am a jazz connoisseur, but I like to listen with my heart too.

I decided to go to the event hosted by Dizzy’s Club in Jazz at Lincoln Center by Columbus Circle. As a busy New Yorker always living on lack of time, I started spring season of music events right on April 17th. Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble was in its full glory on stage once I entered Dizzy’s and it was my very first time there! I immediately loved my front table by the right wind of the stage. This was the moment when I realized that I was taking part in something very organic and unique musically. The venue was packed with guests, so there was a chance they had known much more than I did about those guys.

I did not have to wait long to understand what the person who wrote in the program description “high-octane ensemble” meant. Once the ensemble started to play, they played hard! Twenty-one young musicians had it all to prove that in the scope of the next ten to fifteen years they will become musically molded individuals and each one of them will have a chance to be in front of their own trios, quartets, or other bands with more intimate setting. The power of music was shaking the walls around us. Brass and woodwinds have a very energetic nature and played as an army of instruments have an amazing impact on the listener’s mood.

Young gentlemen were pushing the “jazz train” with the significant help of the “conductor”, Oscar Perez who is also the Director of the MSU Jazz Ensemble. It was easy to notice how great the connection was between the maestro and the band. The dynamics of the show kept us all on the tips of our toes with Duke Ellington’s music spirit on the train as well as compositions of Alan Ferber, Rob McDonnell, Thad Jones and Maria Schneider.

What drew my attention is that the girls were a minority onstage, but they had the sound power and I hope there will be increasingly feminine energy in such bands!

Oscar Perez (conductor) and members of Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble

What spiced up the show, wash a special guest, excellent trumpet player Marcus Printup. The night was still young when I was leaving and I also managed to tap one of the young musicians on their shoulder saying: “Great job, thank you for that”. His smirky smile expressed a definite confidence…

More about the ensemble: Jazz – John J. Cali School Of Music – Montclair State University

More about Marcus Printup: https://marcusprintup.net/

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