Latin Jazz Funk Ensemble Dazzles Audience

Published: Last Updated on

The University of Indianapolis Jazz Funk Ensemble alongside the UIndy Jazz Quintet performed for the UIndy community, according to UIndy 360.  Percussion Professor and Director of the Jazz Funk Ensemble Terrence Mayhue leads the ensemble, which he said means directing and practicing with the group. Mayhue said the group meets twice a week to practice and the group performs twice during the semester. According to Mayhue, the ensemble performs a variety of styles of music and does not focus on ordinary jazz music. 

“What we don’t do is we don’t do straight up jazz stuff,” Mayhue said. “Everything that we do is under the umbrella of the commercial arts. It’s everything that’s related to jazz, but not jazz. So it would be funk music, it would be rock, hip-hop, more vocal charts, straight up salsa selections, cha-chas, anything in the Latin world, but just nothing jazzy.”

Photo by Allison Cook Freshman jazz studies majors Michael Armington and community member Kenvae Tarver play the saxophone in harmony together while freshman jazz studies major Reilly Ferguson plays the drums in the back during the Feb. 28 jazz quintet performance.

The group recently performed on Feb. 21, which was the first of two performances for the semester. Mayhue said if one compares the group to a classroom setting, the concert is similar to a test. The performances are a culmination of the learning and growth the ensemble has undergone over the semester. 

“We are learning information throughout the semester,” Mayhue said. “We’re talking about concepts on how to apply different commercial thoughts about improvisation, articulation or development of the piece. The concert then is a public display of the knowledge base that we’ve learned, it gives the students an opportunity to play their selections.”

The group will be performing next on April 17. Similarly to the first concert, the next concert will also be offering an L/P credit for attendance. 

Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies Mark O’Connor helped direct the Jazz Quintet that played alongside the Latin Jazz ensemble, both of which comprise two of the three of UIndy’s jazz ensembles. The remaining ensemble is called the UIndy Jazz Ensemble, which is another group made up of about 17 students and plays more traditional jazz music. The UIndy Jazz Ensemble also recently held a concert on Feb. 29 and the group will perform next on April 4. O’Connor said the Latin Jazz Ensemble is unique compared to the other two groups due to its selection of music. 

“It’s [Latin Jazz] a very important part of all three ensembles in the jazz program because it’s focusing on Latin style and funk and rock,” O’Connor said. “And those styles that are related to all kinds of popular music.”

Mayhue said the Latin Jazz concert is one of the most beneficial experiences for students because it is music the students can recognize and understand. Out of all of the concert experiences the university offers, Mayhue said this is one he would most recommend for students. The music is based more on modern compositions than traditional ones, making it easy for students to connect with the music. 

“For students, sometimes some music can get really heady and difficult and challenging for the ears to process,” Mayhue said. “But these concerts are very easily understandable. It’s usually drawn upon things in pop culture that everybody knows. [It’s] done in a way that’s more unique for us, but it is definitely an accessible concert.”

Recommended for You