UK Jazz Ensemble to perform free concert



by  Allyson Boyles

The award-winning UK jazz ensemble directed by Miles Osland will perform a free concert Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Singletary Center Recital Hall.

The jazz ensemble, which has 18 members, includes five saxophones, five trombones, five trumpets, piano, bass and drum players. The ensemble usually has five to 10 performances throughout the semester.

Thursday’s performance will demonstrate musical variety with everything from slow blues music to funky and upbeat tempo music.

Kara Thomas, saxophone player and thee only female in the ensemble, said the concert will be one of her most intense, variant and challenging.

One of the pieces the ensemble will perform is a number called “Mama Llama Samba,” which is “a very difficult chart to play,” says DMA student Dieter Rice.

Another arrangement will be “Miles Mix.” Arranged by Osland, the mix gives a glimpse at a game the ensemble plays which involves listening to tunes from the 1950s through the 1990s and trying to name them. The audience will get to do the same on Thursday.

In addition to the many concerts the ensemble performs throughout the year, they will be gearing up for an exciting event. The ensemble will add two new players by the summer.

In July, the ensemble will embark on a 16-day tour performing overseas in a series of festivals, one of which is the Montreux Jazz Festival held in Montreux, Switzerland. The festival is one of the most famous jazz festivals in the world. Legends like Miles Davis, Ray Charles and Prince have all performed at the prestigious festival.

“Over 1,000 applications are submitted, but only 6 percent are accepted,” Osland said about the festival.

Osland and the ensemble are no strangers to prestigious awards and performances. According to the UK School of Music’s website, DOWNBEAT magazine gave the jazz studies department four star reviews, and five recordings have been recommended for Grammy nominations.

It is hard to say if the music in Thursday’s concert will be chosen for the festivals, but attendees will hear UK’s jazz ensemble for free before the world does.