Jazz odyssey from classics to contemporary charts


There’s no substitute for a big band on today’s music scene. The large number of musicians creates depth and diversity of sound, as well as numerous musical mixes not possible in small-scale ensembles.

Such is the highly charged MacEwan University Student Performance Series where over the years music majors have gained a reputation as technical wizards that play authentically and expressively.

This year, A Night of Big Band Music features two jazz bands under the crisp direction of faculty instructors Ray Baril and Jerrold Dubyk.

The two ensembles, each composed of 20 students, join forces in a double bill of eclectic styles.

They will present materials that range from classic Duke Ellington and Count Basie tunes to the more contemporary instrumentals popularized by Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and Maria Schneider’s edgy sound.

Baril simplifies it by saying, “The concert will provide a listen to the toe-tapping music of the 1920s and the ’30s connection to dance all the way up to a contemporary concert style music. Jazz has moved from the dance hall to the concert stage. Although the venue has changed, the music hasn’t.”

Baril and Dubyk have focused on developing the young musicians’ necessary skills needed to perform a wide range of repertoire. Audiences can expect to see precision in the ranks, superb soloists and a dramatic use of dynamics.

“These two bands are the best of its kind in the city. There is no other kind of ensemble that works at this level. This is an opportunity to see youth, and their energy, and their excitement is second to none. You will be entertained and you will be challenged in this mĂ©lange of old and new coming together.”

A Night of Big Band Music takes place Monday night at the John L. Haar Theatre in MacEwan University’s Centre for Arts and Communications.


A Night of Big Band Music
MacEwan University Student Performance Series
Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
John L. Haar Theatre
10045 – 156 St.
Tickets: $10/students; $12/adults. Call 780-420-1757 or online at tixonthesquare.ca


About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.