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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sylvan Street brings world-class musicians to UA

    Many years before Jay Rees was a UA band director, he was a jazz performer. Tonight, he reaches back to his roots with his brand new jazz fusion band, Sylvan Street.

    Rees began thinking about Sylvan Street last fall.

    “”I had this idea that if I could bring together my favorite musicians that I have ever worked with in my career, you know, what would that be like?”” Rees said.

    Sylvan Street came together this past year as Rees, who plays bass, worked on bringing his all-star band to the UA. This included UA music professor Kelland Thomas on saxophone, Frank Browne on guitar, Andrew Hix on drums and vocals and Chad Shoopman on trumpet, all of whom are accomplished jazz musicians in their fields.

    “”The guest artists that are coming in are absolutely world class players,”” Rees said. “”You wouldn’t even necessarily have to like jazz and you’re going to enjoy this concert because these guys are just that good.””

    Rees received a grant from the College of Fine Arts and the School of Music to help assemble the band, put on a concert and record an album, which Rees hopes to put out in 2009. It will be all-new material written by Rees in the style of jazz fusion, a style that merges jazz with various other styles or instruments to create an entirely new sound.

    The idea of jazz, however, shouldn’t scare anyone off.

    “”I think this is very accessible music because it’s very groove-oriented,”” Rees said. “”It has a very kind of rock ‘n’ roll sensibility to it. It’s fun, it’s really exciting, really energetic, really aggressive.””

    In the future, Rees hopes to revive the band to perform and hold clinics for young jazz musicians at different universities. For now though, he is focusing on their first live concert.

    “”It’s almost like an experiment, you know, if you mix this, this and this, what do you get – and that’s what we’re going to find out,”” Rees said.

    Sylvan Street performs tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Crowder Hall in the UA School of Music and admission is free.

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