(Ashland, Ore.) – The Music program of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University presents “Dance You Monster,” performed by the SOU Jazz Ensemble and SOU Jazz Collective on Friday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the SOU Music Recital Hall.
The title piece performed by the SOU Jazz Ensemble is “Dance You Monster to My Soft Song!,” a composition by Maria Schneider inspired by the 1922 Paul Klee painting of the same name. “This piece uniquely mixes jazz and symphonic sounds in unpredictable ways that are not usually heard at standard jazz performances,” said director Dan Kocurek. “It’s relentless, intense and creepy cool” as it recreates Klee’s painting for the mind’s eye.
In contrast, the concert program includes Dan Cavanaugh’s “Having Built in Deeper Water,” which offers a beautiful, slow build of bright, simple, colorful chords, all the way to the end. It drops a bright, shimmery, hopeful note into the evening. The program will include the Snarky Puppy tune “Binky,” arranged by percussion student Jake Riggs, and Gershwin’s famous “Embraceable You,” arranged by saxophone student Daniel Chavez and featuring vocalist Taylor Tavares.
The second half of the program features the SOU Jazz Collective, directed by Master of Music Performance graduate student Tony Hayes. The Collective features six horns, a rhythm section of keyboard, guitar, drums and bass, and singers Tavares and Corin Wesman. The group will perform “What is Hip?” by Tower of Power; “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder; a Miles Davis medley; and “Freedom Jazz” by Eddie Harris. Hayes arranged all four songs for the Collective.
Kocurek leads the trumpet studio at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University and the SOU Raider Band. “I’m new to SOU, having just come here in January, and we’ve completely reworked the jazz program,” he said. “There hasn’t been a big band sound at SOU in a long time. I am blown away that these students are performing at a professional level in our second term together. I performed these same sets at the Jazz Lab at University of Oregon, one of the top jazz groups in the country, and here SOU students are doing a professional job of it, right away.”
Kocurek has made multiple appearances with the University of British Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Chamber Strings, as well as the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Pro Nova Ensemble and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. He also was the lead trumpet in the world-renowned Dallas Brass. His travels have led to performances with Jens Lindemann,Mark Gould, Ryan Anthony, Marty Hackleman, Alain Trudel, Nancy DiNovo and Bobby Shew, among many others. He plays trumpet in this season’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of “Guys and Dolls.”
Hayes is an accomplished saxophone musician who attended Berklee College of Music and studied saxophone with Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Joe Viola and Jerry Coker. He has extensively toured with such groups as Mikey Dread, Arturo Sandoval, Sugarcreek and Bill Deal and the Rhondells. He also wrote original songs for Robbie Wyckoff and co-produced a solo recording for Bobby Thomas, Jr., of the Weather Report.
Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $5 for senior citizens and free to full-time students. The Performing Arts Box Office is located in the Music Recital Hall lobby. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and two hours prior to each performance. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card over the phone by calling 541-552-6348 or online at oca.sou.edu/box-office. Contact the box office for discounts offered to SOU alumni, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participants and SNAP/Oregon Trail cardholders.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.