Coming Soon: Jazz’s Big Band Blowout!


Emma Beelner, Contributing Reporter

The time has come for Esperanza Jazz’s annual Big Band Blowout concert!

This year’s performance is sure to be one for the history books, with special guest artist Sherman Irby performing alongside Jazz Ensembles I & II, as well as Bernardo Yorba’s jazz band. Irby is most well known for his work as a saxophonist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, a revered New York-based jazz group dedicated to keeping the spirit of the genre alive. The majority of the tunes to be performed were arranged by Irby himself, lending a higher feel of professionalism to the anticipated event.

Fresh from their second place win at the California Jazz Championships in Folsom, Jazz I has high expectations to fulfill. The program has had one of their best competitive seasons yet, placing high at festivals and regional competitions alike. Big Band Blowout (or BBB, as it is familiarly known) is set to be a stellar showcase of the musicianship and performance skills which have cemented the group as one of Southern California’s best. From the classic sound of Duke Ellington to the more modern cadence of Wayne Shorter, BBB covers it all and is a must-see for jazz fans and novices alike. 

Not only does the concert feature our jazz ensembles, but junior choir student Kaitlyn Vogel will be accompanying the band for a special vocal feature on the song “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.” Kaitlyn’s feature is an exciting mesh between the jazz and choir groups on campus, just one more example of the connections between different arts programs at Esperanza.

But no matter how much effort I put into touting the virtues of this year’s Big Band Blowout (of which there are many), the sad fact of the matter is that jazz often fails to spark excitement in the modern age. As audiences have turned to different genres (i.e. pop and rock & roll) in past decades, this original dance music has fallen to the wayside. But what most fail to recognize is that almost every genre has its roots in jazz, from popular chord progressions to guitar licks. Jazz is one of the first true American art forms, helping pioneer the United States as a leader in international culture. In fact, if you’re a fan of any western music, you’re likely to be an inadvertent fan of jazz.

In short, Big Band Blowout is not a show for fans of jazz, but for fans of music. Because, at the end of the day, all music is just jazz at its core.

Big Band Blowout is on Thursday, May 18th, 7 PM (doors 6:30) at El Dorado’s Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from any jazz student or through the link below:–r4AFsgKsA/viewform