By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
When Jeff Bouck was looking around for places to get a master’s degree in jazz studies, Bowling Green State University stuck out in part because of the number of guest artists it featured.
More than a chance to hear these master musicians, the program offered plenty of time with them to learn the craft first hand.
At the end of his first year here, Bouck and fellow jazz graduate student Mitchell Borchardt have organized a benefit for the Student Jazz Association to help ensure that continues. The SJA is a BGSU campus organization which promotes jazz in the community, primarily by bringing in guest artists. Those have included recently vocalist Kim Nazarian, drummer Carl Allen, trombonist and composer Alan Ferber, pianist Jon Cowherd, and many others over the years.
These artists provide lessons, master classes as well as rehearsing and performing with students. This means students get to experience playing music with the guidance of the composer.
The benefit for the Student Jazz Association will be held Thursday, April 27, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Clazel in downtown Bowling Green. The event will feature a show by the BGSU Lab Band I giving the premier performance of pieces by Borchardt and Bouck as well as performing work by Duke Ellington, Sammy Nestico, and others. They along with Ian Palmer will conduct the band, BGSU’s premier jazz ensemble.
In addition to the music there will be card games and raffle baskets. A $2 cover charge will be collected at the door.
The student composers penned their charts specifically for this show. Bouck’s is a slow vamp while Borchardt’s is a medium tempo blues.
Bouck said that the idea for the benefit was spawned by an assignment in a class taught by David Bixler, director of Jazz Studies. He wanted students to produce a concert, and they decided to do this as a benefit for the SJA.
The Clazel seemed the right venue, he said. “It’s nice to get off campus so it doesn’t feel like just another concert.” He hopes that the venue is more accessible to community members, and it’ll bring business to a local establishment.
The show fits into the community jazz scene that helped attract Bouck here. He’s impressed by the weekly Wednesday night jazz sessions where faculty, students and guest artists jam.
While informal jamming in a small group is the rule at Jazz Studies night, this will put the big band in the spotlight. The organizers wanted “to make it feel like an actual show date. … It has more like that jazz street feel.”