Spreading jazz on campus

Rocking out the Annex is nothing new to the Marquette Jazz Ensembles. As jazz becomes less popular among the college crowd, these students bring us back to the golden years of Frank Sinatra every semester for a relaxed night of big band jazz.

“Coming to The Annex gives more of a night-club-feel to our concert,” said Erik Janners, director of both Marquette Jazz Ensembles. “That’s exactly the atmosphere big band is supposed to be played in.”

The night of smooth rhythm and swing brought two groups of jazz together, the 5 O’clock and 7 O’clock group. The groups’ titles indicate what time they rehearse. Each ensemble played a wide variety of songs that any experienced jazz cat or beat beginner can appreciate.

The diverse sounds of swing, ballad, Latin, Caribbean and Afro-Cuban were hypnotic, bringing the audience to sway and tap their feet to the rhythm of the music. Some of the tunes were even re-written Radio Head songs like “Knives-Out” and “Everything in its Right Place.”

“I stay in the jazz band because the music is eclectic to me,” said Pierce Cordle, a trumpeter for the 5 O’clock band and senior in the College of Health Sciences.

What really got the crowd to their feet was the finale “Sing, Sing, Sing,” a timeless song written by the Big Band legend Benny Goodman. This featured an intense, fast-paced drum solo from the 5 O’clock groups’s Alex Ourada, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“The jazz concerts at the Annex give us a chance to have more fun and (be) less professional in a relaxed environment,” Janners said.

Both ensembles will be performing again on Apr. 22 at the Union Sports Annex with some old and new tunes. The concert is free and all are welcome to attend.