Las Vegas, NM — The Highlands University Jazz Ensemble will perform a variety of swing, blues and original works in concert Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building theater.
The cost is $5 general admission and students with valid IDs are free. The Student Union Building is at the northwest corner of National Avenue and 8th Street, adjacent to the university’s library.
“The NMHU Jazz Ensemble will feature lots of student soloists and original jazz pieces written and arranged by Kevin Zoernig, adjunct music professor,” said Edward Harrington, who directs the Jazz Ensemble and the Music Technology Program. “The concert will feature a wide range of jazz styles from the early swing style of jazz that was popular with dancers, to modern fusion styles that combine improvisation with rock and funk styles of popular music.”
Music technology major Dennis Montaño on trumpet and flugelhorn will be featured on the jazz standard “Groovin’ High” by Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie was the foremost bebop trumpet player who performed extensively with Charlie Parker in the 1940s.
Music technology junior Amor Romero will be the featured alto saxophone soloist on two jazz standards, “How High the Moon,” and “Harlem Nocturne.”
Yasmin Flores, new to the Department of Music faculty, will be featured on clarinet in a medley of Benny Goodman works, including “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “Don’t Be That Way,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.” The medley also features music freshman Connor Ortega on drums.
Music technology sophomore Kevin Baca will be featured on electric guitar in several pieces, including “Avalon,” by Vincent Rose and “Triste,” by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Sarah Williams is a new addition to the Jazz Ensemble and will be featured on flute in the Beguine-style piece, “Perfidia.” Benguine was popular in the 1930s and is a music and dance form similar to a slow rumba.
Luis Castañeda will be featured on alto clarinet as he plays on “Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Gene Lees.
“Pianist and co-director Kevin Zoernig has once again opened his personal library of original compositions for this concert,” Harrington said. “The ensemble will be performing his “Parade of Strangers,” “Amsterdam Avenue,” “Last Call at the Lantern,” and “Elastic.”
“The harmonies and harmonic progressions in Zoernig’s pieces are sometimes unconventional, but the rhythmic grooves are not unfamiliar. It is thrilling for the ensemble to be able to perform original compositions with the composer in the band,” Harrington said.
He added that the silky tones and agile improvisations of alto saxophonist and community member Bruce Holmes will also grace the stage at the concert.
“We’re fortunate to have Holmes join our group after he puts in long hours as an administrative physical therapist. Even though he claims to not be an educator, the students learn much from his approach to jazz improvisation and articulation,” Harrington said.