Jazz One Ensemble Hosts Performance at Smith Recital Hall


Jazz One Ensemble Performs

 Marshall’s Jazz One ensemble big band performed Monday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Smith Recital Hall. 

The Jazz One ensemble is one of two full big bands in the jazz studies program.

It is directed by Jeff Wolfe, who teaches courses in jazz studies and applied trumpet (jazz emphasis). 

One of Wolfe’s focuses of the performance was highlighting some important women in jazz and their compositions.  

“It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, kind of took the approach of historically speaking, some really influential people,” Wolfe said.

The women featured were Mary Lou Williams, Maria Schneider, and someone that has performed at Marshall as well Ellen Rowe.  

“We have a great guitar player and I wanted to highlight that,” Wolfe said about a piece from Wes Montgomery a popular jazz guitarist.

Wolfe said he wanted to make everyone “go home happy” with the final piece of the night, “Blues in Hoss’ Flat,” written by Frank Foster. 

Vanessa Coffman, a tenor saxophone player in the big band, said, “When I’m playing on stage it’s my escape.” 

This escape had not been possible for a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was the first show in front of an audience since February of 2020.

 “That alchemy you get between the audience and the performer can only happen in live music.” Wolfe said.  

Wolfe said he has been working with the jazz ensemble to work on the “vibe.”

  “Yes, we want good precision stuff to happen, but I always have a saying that is ‘It feels good, it is good’ even if there are some warts on it here and there it’s got to feel good first,” Wolfe said. 

The next jazz performance at Marshall University will be the “Jazz Combo 1” at 7:30 p.m. at the Smith Music Recital Hall Oct. 25. 

More information can be found at www.marshall.edu/music/ or check out on Instagram @mujazzstudies