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Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Foghorn Leghorn are some of the cartoon characters many associate with their childhood.

Waking up early and turning on “Looney Tunes” with cereal in hand was often the highlight of the weekend. Smiles would form with each crescendo and quirky melody.

Now, cartoon aficionados and interested listeners alike can experience the nostalgia of childhood when saxophonist and clarinetist Don Byron performs cartoon-inspired jazz at the Performing Arts Center tonight at 8 p.m.

Byron, a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music, will perform with Cal Poly’s University Jazz Band directed by Paul Rinzler, director of jazz studies. TIME Magazine credits Byron with transcending categorical genres, but he was one of the first jazz musicians to highlight music used in cartoons by featuring 1930s composer Raymond Scott in his work.

“Cartoon melodies of the ‘40s would use what Raymond Scott had done in the ’30s as background,” Rinzler said. “The music would fit the cartoons really well because it has kind of a quirky sound to it. Don Byron has gone back and rediscovered the music of Raymond Scott.”

Byron has an East Coast style and performs challenging music that the band members are eager to experience, said Brandon Rolle, University Jazz Band guitarist and music senior.

“The music is really difficult and some have the pre-concert jitters, but it is good every so often to hear (a different perspective) and point out something that we may have missed,” Rolle said. “It’s a really useful experience.”

Byron won the Samuel Barber Rome Prize for Composition that will send him to Rome to work on a chamber opera based on the novel and film, “Gentleman’s Agreement,” according to his Web site. Tonight, he will perform pieces such as Scott’s “The Penguin,” which aptly describes Byron’s music, Rinzler said.

“I can think of no better representation of the cuteness of the penguin in kind of a cartoonish way,” he explained. “It captures the character of a penguin, how cute they waddle; it just captures that perfectly in a jazz way.”

The jazz band will rehearse with Byron as well as participate in workshops and clinics to get his input.

“I don’t think students are intimidated, it’s a combination of initial respect,” Rinzler said. “They go through a process of checking him out, seeing what type of musician and person he is; he will do the same to the band. They will identify a common ground musically and come together to create a musical performance as a unit.”

Rolle values the opportunity to meet established musicians such as Byron as a means of networking.

“It’s a great contact for one, someone from different parts of the country,” Rolle said. “Top-notch musicians set the bar high for the rest of the group.”

“He will give students advice as far as how to approach the music that will tighten up and refine what they are doing,” Rinzler said.

Tickets are $12 and $15 for general admission, $10 and $13 for seniors and Jazz Federation members and $6 and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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