Grammy-winning artist performs at TCU Jazz Festival

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    Feet were tapping and heads were bobbing to the music as the sounds of jazz echoed through Ed Landreth Auditorium Saturday night. 

    TCU Jazz Ensembles and guest artist Randy Brecker treated a full house to a mixture of swing, bebop, funk and big band sounds as part of the second day of the 36th annual TCU Jazz Festival. 

    The festival, a two day jazz competition and exhibition on campus, offered a chance for high school groups from across the state to compete for a prize and the opportunity to hear Brecker.

    Randy Brecker is a Grammy-winning trumpeter who, according to his website, "has been shaping the sound of Jazz, R&B and Rock for more than four decades." 

    Jesse Rajabi, a trumpeter in one of the university's Jazz Ensembles, said being able to hear a musician as famous and talented as Brecker is something he would never forget. 

    “As a jazz musician, just getting to hear this guy live is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” the sophomore music education major said. 

    Jazz Ensemble member Joe Nava said the festival provided him with the opportunity to listen to a world-class musician in Brecker and made him realize how talented his own instructors are. 

    “Sometimes you kind of forget how good your teachers are, and it makes you appreciate them," the sophomore business major said. "You get to hear them play in this type of setting and you can understand what caliber of instructors they are.”

    On Friday night, Brecker played with the TCU Faculty Combo comprised of Joseph Eckert, director of jazz studies, percussion and jazz studies instructor Joey Carter, jazz bass professor Kyp Green, jazz guitar instructor Thomas Burchill and guest pianist Jonny Case.

    Joseph Eckert, who organized the festival, said the festival brings in prospective students from high schools around the area and benefits current university band members. 

    “It is a great recruiting tool. It gives [high school students] the opportunity to hear our ensembles, and then maybe they will think 'Maybe I’d like to come to TCU to pursue a music degree,'" he said.

    Jazz Ensemble member Luke Wingfield said jazz is not just a musical style, but  a forum for artists to make a statement about themselves.

    “Jazz is about individual expression. It’s a vehicle for a soloist to express themselves," the junior music education major said. "It’s the truest form of musical expression you can find.”

    In the past, the festival has featured prestigious musicians including Andy MartinHoward Johnson and Chris Vadala.

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