Jazz Fest features Butler ensemble

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It’s a weekend for festivals—Oranje, the Irish Festival and VegFest—but only one will have Butler University talent.

The Indy Jazz Fest will host the Butler Jazz Ensemble on their Emerging Jazz Artist Stage this Saturday.

“We’re the young guys learning the ropes, so it will be a cool performance opportunity for us,” Perry Reid, senior trumpet performance major said.

Matt Pivec, director of jazz studies and of the jazz ensemble,  said his students have been very focused and detail-oriented in their rehearsals. Pivec said he is grateful for the opportunity.

“By having an emerging artists stage, it shows that the festival is interested in sustaining the music by providing opportunities for young, talented musicians,” he said. “The opportunity to perform on this stage alongside other fine college and high school programs is a real honor for us.”

The ensemble will be playing a mix of arrangements. Highlights include “Bodysnatchers,” a Radiohead song rearranged as a jazz tune, and “Fantazm” written by Duke Ellington and arranged by John La Barbera.

Reid said there are great chances in most of the songs for members of the group to improvise and solo., and that they have been rehearsing as a band for about three weeks now.

“We were told about the possibility of performing in the Indy Jazz Fest toward the end of last semester, and I think we were all pretty excited to have this in our performance lineup of the year,” Reid said.

Junior Abbey Springer said she is mostly excited to just be at the festival.

“We get a chance to play on a bigger stage in front of a different crowd, and we also get the chance to spend the rest of the day listening and talking to many other incredible artists from around the city and nation,” Springer said. “The best thing we can do as musicians is expose ourselves to many different kinds of artists, and to get that opportunity on Saturday is fantastic.”

Pivec and Reid also said they are eagerly looking forward to many of the other artists they’ll be sharing the stage with this Saturday. Pivec said the festival always manages to find a balance between “internationally-renowned musicians and local musicians who have shaped our city’s culture.”

Pivec said he’s looking forward to seeing sets by Rufus Reid and Melvin Rhyne.

With George Benson as the headliner this year, Reid said the festival should be a great lineup regardless of musical preferences.

The festival began Monday with the “Sunset Series,” with a different show each night at places like the Jazz Kitchen. The actual festival is Saturday, with the first show scheduled for 1 p.m.

Butler takes the stage at 3:40 p.m. at Northside Opti Park. General admission for the day is $30.

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