The award-winning College of the Canyons jazz ensemble Just Jazz will start the New Year with a bang at its first national convention, performing at the 9th annual Jazz Education Network conference in Dallas on Jan. 3-7.
The event represents the largest educational/performance conference in the global jazz community.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Julie Lawson, the ensemble’s director. “Being selected to be showcased at a national convention is overwhelming.”
‘Just Jazz’ was selected to perform based on a live recording Lawson submitted from a recent concert.
At the JEN conference, the vocal jazz ensemble band will perform a 50-minute set that will include a variety of tunes, such as songs composed by Al Jarreau, Thad Jones, Harry Connick Jr. and an Afro-Cuban arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.”
Accompanied by Lawson, the team of 13 students will also travel with a professional rhythm section: Alex Nizzoli (piano), Emilio Terranova (bass) and Brijesh Pandya (drums).
Just Jazz has been a regular fixture at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, which has selected the ensemble to perform six times in the past seven years.
“Monterey is a competitive festival and Just Jazz has walked away with five awards over the years,” Lawson said.
Established by a group of jazz leaders in 2008, JEN was created to foster the jazz arts community through promoting performance, advancing education, and inspiring new audiences. Since then, JEN has grown to boast thousands of members across the nation and around the world.
“I’m so grateful for the ongoing support from Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, my colleagues Lori Marie Rios and Dr. Bernardo Feldman, my Dean, Dr. Carmen Dominguez, and the Patrons of the Performing Arts,” Lawson said. “Without their encouragement and generosity, this trip wouldn’t be possible.”
Those who wish to make a donation toward the group’s trip to the JEN conference can do so through the COC Foundation.
Catch Just Jazz in action during “Jazz Tidings” at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 in the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center lobby.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors and will be available for purchase at the door.