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42nd Annual Jazz Festival plays with music legends

Brittany Groth, Entertainment Writer
February 13, 2013
Filed under Entertainment

From the first row to the last, sensational jazz music rang throughout the entire room. at the 42 Annual Jazz Fest. The festival, which was held at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts Feb. 9, featured local and guest talent.

UW-Green Bay Jazz and high school ensembles along with vocal jazz ensembles brought together many talented young artists. The range of talent was highlighted by guest performer Bobby Shew.

Jazz legend Bobby Shew was onstage performing the music of Bob Washut, fellow respected jazz musician. The combination of all of these musicians created an environment suitable for any jazz enthusiast.

Shew started playing trumpet in elementary school, but said his success stems from two important gifts he was given. The first is his ear for melodies and the other is internal rhythm.

“When I heard jazz music for the first time, I got the feel for it immediately,” Shew said. “Those were the two guiding lights that got me through life as a player.”

The impact Shew has had on the world of jazz is tremendous, and still growing. He encourages young artists to find their own voice, sound, feel and interpretation.

“Unfortunately in this day and age, there is a tendency to copy the ‘flavor of the month thing,’ It can take many years for an artist to find his or her own voice,” Shew said. “That happens by letting influences shape them and after a while trimming away certain things and finding a way to express themselves.”

Shew and Washut share a passion for jazz and are close friends. Both look forward to spending time together, and this festival was an opportunity to do just that.

“Shew is one of the best, and he is an inspiration for students,” Shew said. “Washut started his life in music early on, and has done a variety of things with his talents. He took on the role of a student, teaching others, starting programs and many other aspects of the culture.”

In addition to being fortunate enough to play with Shew and Washut, the young musicians practice to make the performance a success, showing their passion for jazz when they play.

John Salerno, director of Jazz at UWGB, works hard to make this performance possible as well. With rehearsals, clinics and the performance itself, Salerno finds himself very busy around this time.

All of the dedication and hard work paid off. Different levels of talent, age and time created an amazing atmosphere for the jazz culture.