Nils Landsberg answers readily and doesn’t mince words: “It’s going to be a toe-tapping good time.”
As director of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Jazz Ensemble, he’s quick to emphasize the feel-good music his student musicians will perform at Tuesday’s concert. Billed as “Song & Jazz,” the event will combine UMHB’s 19-piece big band with six vocalists in a program full of classics from the great American songbook.
For this, the group’s final performance of the school season, auditions were held for singing hopefuls.
“We had about a dozen students try out,” Landsberg said, “and ended up with six who will perform as soloists with the band.”
UMHB’s jazz ensemble consists of undergraduates “with a variety of majors — most are music majors, but we have English, psychology and other fields of study represented. There are two seniors, one a band member and the other a vocalist,” he added.
The repertoire will reprise classic perennials from the swing era of popular music, including “Come Fly With Me,” a nod to Frank Sinatra; Bobby Darin’s big hit “Beyond The Sea”; torch songs like “Stormy Weather” and the Ernie Wilkins musical arrangement of “Moten Swing” as recorded by Count Basie.
The 60-minute concert will take place in Hughes Recital Hall, a cozy auditorium nestled within Presser Hall, and is free and open to the public.
“Audiences always enjoy hearing these classics,” Landsberg said. “It’s a great way to end the school season with a smile.”