Jazzin’ up the crowd

By Stephanie Szuda

Local jazz players showcase their talents every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. when The House Café, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, hosts Jazz Jam Sessions.

Graduate jazz student Chris Lougeay, played Sept. 22 to a good-size audience at The House Café. Lougeay and the three other members have been practicing together since the start of the fall semester.

“We kind of get thrown in the kettle and we learn to play with each other,” Lougeay said.

The four members of the NIU Jam Session come to NIU from all parts of the globe. Along with Lougeay on guitar there is Alejandro Fernandez on bass, Shirazette Tinnin on drums and Luis Martinez on piano.

“I think it’s kind of cool how this group is very multi-cultural,” Lougeay said. “We’re completely different, but we all come together to play.”

Graduate jazz student Gabriel Datcu agrees jazz is growing in popularity.

“Jazz is a constant sharing of ideas,” Datcu said. “Listening is an essential part of your music process. It’s your education.”

Listening to Fareed Haque, associate professor of guitar and jazz, play helps him to learn, Datcu said.

“He is like my mentor,” Datcu said. “He is my guru.”

Datcu plays guitar with several different bands.

The Jazz Jam Session usually features the same group of people weekly, but with the top combinations from NIU, Haque said.

All jazz musicians are welcome to bring instruments to play. Haque said he welcomes not only college students, but high school students as well.

“I think it’s a great way for musicians to meet each other,” Haque said. “A big part of jazz music skills is to be able to get on stage and play together. It’s really important to have that outlet.”

Haque said he did the jazz sessions about 10 to 15 years ago, but at different locations across DeKalb. He began the sessions at The House about four or five years ago under his ownership.

Haque plays with a student trio Wednesday nights.

Upcoming shows at The House include the Pete Zimmer Quintet Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. and the Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.

“I would say jazz in general is really starting to re-emerge, with a fresh new face on it that appeals to a younger generation,” Lougeay said.