UMass Jazz Ensembles Combine to Celebrate Bird, Brubeck and Blakey

On Thursday, Feb. 27, the department of music and dance will present the 39th Annual Jazz Showcase, featuring performances by the top instrumental and vocal ensembles from its Jazz and African-American Music Studies program (JAAMS). The concert, titled Bird, Brubeck, Blakey, and Beyond,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium and feature performances by Jazz Ensemble I, Chapel Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, plus faculty soloists and student combos.

JAAMS is directed by Jeffrey W. Holmes, who is marking his 40th anniversary with the department this year. In recent years, JAAMS has received numerous accolades from “DownBeat” magazine and the Jazz Education Network as one of the top programs in the country.

This year’s showcase will celebrate the music of Charlie “Bird” Parker, Dave Brubeck and Art Blakey, all of whom have their one-hundred-year birth anniversary in 2019-2020. The program will include works like Parker’s “One by One,” “Just Friends” and “Now’s the Time;” Blakey’s “Stretching” and “Minor’s Holiday;” and Brubeck’s “The Duke,” “Take Five,” and “Blue Rondo à la Turk.”

 Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students, seniors and children through age 18. UMass students are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 413-545-2511, or online.