Several ACU faculty and adjunct faculty members will join members of the McMurry University and Hardin-Simmons University faculty to showcase their musical talents in a free jazz concert, marking the first official concert for the group and one of the only all-faculty concerts of the year. The performance will be conducted at the Williams Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on Feb. 1 from 8-10 p.m.
Derek Brown, director of jazz studies and instructor of saxophone and advanced theory, voiced his excitement about the event. He hopes the performance will teach others more about jazz.
“Most people don’t realize there are a wide variety of styles ‘jazz’ can encompass,” Brown said. “We will be playing Latin tunes, swing tunes, show tunes, jazz-rock fusion and funk tunes.”
The group consists of Derek Brown playing tenor and soprano saxophone, Dr. Allen Teel on percussion, Dr. Steven Ward on bass, Kristin Ward performing vocals, Mark Wilcox on trumpet, Dr. Jeff Cottrell on trombone and Henry Smith as jazz pianist.
Brown, Teel and Steven Ward are full-time ACU faculty in the Department of Music. Teel serves as instrumental division chair and professor of percussion and world music. Ward is the director of bands and orchestra and an associate professor of conducting. Clarinet, SS, ET and Jazz Voice Instructor Kristin Ward is an adjunct faculty member at ACU, and Instructor of Trumpet Mark Wilcox and Dr. Jeff Cottrell, instructor of low brass, are intercollegiate faculty. Wilcox teaches full time at McMurry University and Cottrell teaches full time at Hardin-Simmons University.
Smith is the only non-faculty member of the ensemble. Brown described Smith as an excellent all-around pianist – the go-to jazz pianist, in fact – and said he has played with the group many times before.
The group plans to play a mix of original pieces written by Brown, Wilcox and Cottrell, as well as “standards,” or common-knowledge pieces, Brown said.
“A standard is a piece many musicians know and play,” Brown said. “Many are from the swing era.”
Although the concert will showcase a mix of purely instrumental pieces, it also will feature some pieces with vocals, said Kristin Ward, who will be performing vocals for the group.
“I am excited about sharing different styles of jazz,” Ward said. “Some of the pieces I will sing include blues, a Latin or bossa nova-style piece I will sing in Portuguese, as well as a ballad.”
Kristin Ward described bossa nova as a Latin-style jazz from Brazil and said singing in Portuguese, bossa nova’s native language, helps capture music’s original style.
For more information, contact the Department of Music at 325-674-2199.