In fall 2019, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the School of Music launched Jazz at the Cafe Lassonde to bring live music to Lassonde Studios.
This collaboration provides students across campus the opportunity to hear great jazz music, some for the first time. It also gives performance experience for jazz majors and allows young musicians to jam with more experienced players, including a guest soloist.
“Sessions like these have a unique way of bringing together people from different backgrounds and facilitating a collaborative artistic experience,” said Kris Johnson, director of Jazz Studies for the School of Music.
Jazz at the Cafe is the product of converging interests across the university. Johnson wanted to give his students more opportunities to perform for audiences. Kathy Hajeb, a director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, wanted to bring live music to Lassonde Studios. And former university President David Pershing wanted to build a sense of community and give students reasons to gather on campus.
During Jazz at the Cafe, students in the Michie Jazz Quintet serve as the house band. Outside of Lassonde, the Michie Jazz Quintet also performs at local community events and other venues throughout Salt Lake City. The current members of the Quintet include Anaïs Chantal (vocals), Evan Taylor (trumpet), Tony Elison (piano), Alicia Wrigley (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums).
Jazz at the Cafe also provides opportunities for music technology students to develop skills in sound system design. Mike Cottle, a professor of music technology, directs a group of students to livestream each performance. Each performance also includes a jam session, where students of all ages and ability levels can play together.
“Jazz music requires compromise, communication and finding common ground in order to improvise on stage in front of an audience,” said Johnson. “It’s a beautiful exchange that is often non-verbal, yet deeply profound and transformative.”
Find this article and a lot more in the 2019 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.