Jazz Lab Ensemble presents range of musical selections

By Matt James

Director Antonio Garcia will present the NIU Jazz Lab Ensemble Oct. 26 at the Music Building’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, in a concert featuring a variety of jazz music from Count Basie to Herbie Hancock.

Garcia, in his first year of teaching at NIU, said the ensemble “is exceptional in that each member is a capable soloist as well.”

Garcia said the band will play a selection learned completely “by ear,” in the tradition of the legendary big bands.

The concert will be held at 8 p.m., and admission is free.

“This band is full of musicians who feel they have to prove themselves,” Garcia said. “They’re out to get some musical recognition and aren’t content with anything but the best results.”

Garcia added for some bands “it’s a job to keep them (members) inspired. But not the people in this year’s band.”

Band members said Garcia is doing well in his first few months at NIU.

Band member Ken Partyka said Garcia “does a good job in conveying what he knows about the different styles of music to the things we’re doing in jazz band.”

uss Nolan, another band member, said Garcia “is extremely knowledgeable about music in general.”

Garcia holds a master’s degree in jazz composition from the Eastman School of Music and was playing trombone professionally before coming to NIU this fall.

“I came (to NIU) because the music program here is extremely well-known,” Garcia said. “The opening here gave me the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of establishing a jazz performance degree (within the music school).”