The Youngstown Jazz Collective will welcome the Youngstown community to a night of jazz music and swing dancing at the Chestnut Room in the Youngstown State University Kilcawley Center on Feb. 10.
Lauren Eisenreich, president of the Collective and YSU jazz studies major, said the Collective is a YSU student organization dedicated to appreciation of jazz music and the proliferation of jazz education in the Mahoning Valley.
“We sponsor local jam sessions which serve as a place of learning and growth for anyone who wants to play, and also bring in guest artists to perform and give master classes open to the public, as well as hosting other jazz related events,” Eisenreich said. “Anyone who loves jazz in the area is more than welcome to join the group to see what we’re up to, and most importantly what’s going on in the community.”
Eisenreich said the swing night, lasting from 7-10 p.m., will feature three hours of live jazz music performed by members of the Collective, faculty and distinguished alumni. There will be an entry fee of $5 for singles and $8 for couples.
Participants can expect to hear jazz music across various styles and sub-genres, including the famous show tune, “My Funny Valentine,” and the big band hit, “In the Mood.”
Karly Berry, secretary for the Collective and senior music education major, said the Collective met at the beginning of the school year to discuss possible outreach events, and the idea for a swing night was formed.
“This came up because there are a group of students who go to Cedars and do swing dancing every week. So the officers suggested maybe doing the swing night since we have so many talented musicians here and in the area,” Berry said. “We just wanted to have a fun event to get the community involved, just something different to come to YSU for.”
Berry said the group is entering the final stages of preparation and are now eagerly anticipating the big day.
“We are pulling the music together and going to have some rehearsal. We are pretty much ready to go,” she said. “This is the first time we are doing this, and we are just all just very excited. Everybody has been very supportive, and we would like to thank everybody for their support that they have given us.”
The Jazz Collective has performed at Nighttown, a prominent Cleveland jazz club and restaurant, and recorded and released a CD of original music, dubbed “Absent Dreamers,” through fundraisers done by the Collective.
Dave Morgan, YSU professor of jazz studies and string bass and adviser for The Jazz Collective, emphasizes the initiative and independence of the students in this club. Morgan said the practices are run by students, and the projects are student formed and student run.
“The greatest thing about a student organization like this is the students take the initiative to come up with concepts and then figure out how they are going to make those concepts come to life. … All the projects we do are things that students come up with,” Morgan said. “This really gives students the chance to go ‘Okay, how do you make something happen?’”
Despite their deep involvement with jazz performance, the Collective is open to anyone interested in jazz, not just proficient musicians.
“Anyone with any level can join. Anyone can be a member of the jazz collective. For certain events, it is at discretion of the members to describe who should play,” Eisenreich said. “If someone has never touched an instrument in their life, and they just enjoy listening to jazz, they are more than welcome to join.”
The Collective is already looking toward the future and have plans in the work for a concert series with national and international artists such as New York saxophonist Mike DiRubbo. The organization also hopes to include clinics with the performers for participants.
“Hopefully if they can pull this off, this will be the most exciting thing yet. It is something that could help the whole cultural community, the whole Valley, to bring in international artists to play,” Morgan said.