The University Jazz Band will take audiences back to the 1930s with its music concert and dance Friday in Chumash Auditorium.
Performing authentic big-band classics, Cal Poly’s University Jazz Band is inviting students and members of the community to dance and listen to swing music with San Luis Obispo County’s leading jazz vocalist Sunny Wright accompanying.
“It’s about as authentic as you can get,” said University Jazz Band director Paul Rinzler. “The band is an actual live big band of Cal Poly students playing music of the 30s and 40s, which is great music in and of itself.”
The University Jazz Band is comprised of 16 students from various majors who participate in a one-unit jazz band class that rehearses and gives a concert at the end of every quarter.
Lead trombone player Ryan Putt, a music senior, said this swing dance concert is a great way for the band to practice since they play for three hours straight without a break.
“We do it for fun,” Putt said. “The more people we get to come out, the better we play since we have more energy. It’s hard to be a performer and not have people to play for.”
In addition to music, the Cal Poly Swing Dance Club will offer free swing dance lessons from 7 to 8 p.m. Students and people of all ages and dancing experience are invited to learn and practice some moves before the live concert begins at 8 p.m.
“Swing is really hard,” Rinzler said. “But it’s fun and educational music.”
The University Jazz Band has been putting on swing dance concerts for the past four years, and is offering three additional concerts in January, April and May. In the past, the concert featured a student vocalist with the band.
“We have a guest vocalist this time, and we’re really looking forward to it as Sunny Wright is the premier jazz vocalist in the county,” Rinzler said.
Sponsored by the Cal Poly music department and College of Liberal Arts, admission to Friday’s dance is $5 for students with a student ID and $8 for the general public.
“It’s a long night of great music and fun,” Putt said. “There’s not a lot of it (swing dance music) going on around Cal Poly so we wanted to open it up to a lot of different people.”
Proceeds from the concert will raise funds for the University Jazz Band to purchase new music equipment and to go on tours around the state.