Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jazzy Weekend

Patti Labelle. Barbara Streisand. The Rolling Stones. There is one musician who has done recordings with all these famous people and more, and he came here to Duluth this past weekend. Robin Eubanks, the trombonist who won Down Beats International Critics Poll in five different years, performed with the UMD Jazz I Ensemble last Saturday.

Before he entered the stage, high school students were shouting to one another across the auditorium, mouthing the words ‘call me,’ doing the slow clap and the wave- over and over again. These band students, from different high schools in MN, had played on and off throughout the day on the campus.

“Good evening, what’s up, how’s everyone doing?" Eubanks shouted to the rowdy crowd just before he started to play.

Eubanks spent ten years as a faculty member at the Banff Center, and is the music director for Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers. He began studying music at the age of eight, and studied it through college at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he graduated with honors.

UMD’s Department of Music presented the 33rd Annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival on March 4th. This festival originated here at UMD, which is why it has always been held here on campus. It lasted two hours, starting at 7:30 P.M. in the Marshall Performing Arts Center. Tickets were sold out, meaning that the auditorium was packed with about 300 high school and college students, and adults as well.

“The first time you hear it, it’s just an amazing sound," said Don Schraufnagel, a sound engineer who has worked at 19 of the 33 Head of the Lakes Jazz Festivals.

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