I stand along the wall of the PAC band room, while a flood of students, mostly jazz majors, greet each other, sign in, and take their seats. The mood in the room resonates excitement, nerves, confidence—even a little cockiness. It’s time. The jazz professors, Ed Petersen, Steve Masakowski, and Victor Atkins, make a few announcements and explain to newcomers how this process works. Four musicians start playing and the air fills with a syncopated rhythm and a robust tune. One musician drops out and another jumps in; the song never stops. Each musician showcases his or her skills with a solo—trumpet, guitar, drums, piano–all elements making the piece change and grow, ebb and flow. The beat picks up and slows down, the tune changing with each new performer. The last student jumps in and the song builds to a grand finale. The spent musicians listen as the professors announce when they will inform the students of their combo placements. The auditions are over for another semester; now the real work begins. The students will start practicing with their new combos to prepare for performances and gigs–not the least of which is their turn at Jazz at the Sandbar, when they will have the chance to play with a professional musician.
This Spring, Jazz at the Sandbar begins on Wednesday, March 6 and will run every Wednesday night at 7 PM through May 1. Come get your groove on with our talented students and celebrated local musicians! It’s free for students and UNO employees and only $5 for community members!
For a sneak peak, check out drummer Jamison Ross’ recital on February 27 at 8 PM at the Sandbar. It’s free and open to the public!