Jazz Ensemble I celebrates 80th anniversary of Blue Note Records

Sounds from the golden age of Blue Note Records will be brought back by Marshall University’s Jazz Ensemble I with a concert on Oct. 9 in Smith Recital Hall. 

“We’re going to do music that is from a lot of the important artists that helped shape the sound of that label. It has a very distinct sound,” Jazz Ensemble Director Jeff Wolfe said about the concert, which will be themed around the popular jazz music label, Blue Note Records, to celebrate its 80th anniversary. The event is free and open to the public. 

The ensemble has two on-campus concerts per semester and community events and tours. Jazz Ensemble I is the largest jazz ensemble in the jazz studies program, as well as the face of the program, according to Wolfe. 

“Normally, though, on Blue Note label they focus a little more on smaller groups, jazz combo kind of stuff,” Wolfe said. “So, you’re going to hear arrangements of these iconic Blue Note tunes arranged for a large, sixteen-piece jazz ensemble. I call it old wine in new bottles.” 

Wolfe said the concert will be a public display of the group’s hard work and preparation during the past six weeks. 

“You know, that’s what people always see is the performance side of it,” Wolfe said. “But what they don’t see is all the work and practicing, rehearsing from individual practice on people’s own parts to rehearsing the whole ensemble, and we’re doing that for hours and hours and hours every week.”

Summer Jewell can be contacted at [email protected].