A month of Jazz

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Robert Conger plays the trombone while Barry Bernhardt plays trumpet during a performance by the Sultans of Swing on Friday, December 6, 2007 at Buckner's. (Aaron Eisenhauer)
Jarred Harris played the electric bass during a Sultans of Swing show in December at Buckner Brewing Co. The band and the university jazz ensemble will both peform next month at Buckner's. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

February will certainly be swingin' thanks to a plethora of performances by the Southeast Jazz Ensemble and the Sultans of Swing.

The ensemble, a collection of Southeast students performing contemporary and big-band pieces under the direction of Dr. Robert Conger, will play from 8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 8 at Buckner Brewing Co. in downtown Cape Girardeau. Buckner Brewing Co. will also host the Sultans of Swing, a Southeast faculty quintet performing bebop jazz in its many forms, from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 14.

Bassist Jared Harris, a member of both bands, said Buckner Brewing is like home base for the two groups, no matter the size of the crowds.

"We have a good rapport with Buckner's, and it's a great time every time we play there," Harris said. "I try not to look at it like how many people show up. If two people come out we have a chance to speak with the crowd, and that's the best thing about jazz. Jazz is all about that freedom."

The jazz ensemble will also take part in the 10th annual Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival on Feb. 15 and 16 at the River Campus's Bedell Peformance Hall. Featuring guest artist Wayne Goins, world-renowned jazz musician and author of four books about the subject, the festival will give a variety of jazz bands and musicians the opportunity to perform in front of experts and be graded.

And if February isn't jazzy enough for you, the Saxy Jazz Quintet, featuring Southeast Jazz Ensemble guitarist Zac Priester, will be making an appearance from 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Kimbeland Country Club Clubhouse in Jackson. There is a $10 cover charge. Call 243-5926 for buffet dinner reservations.

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