Last Thursday, the Kat Klub in the Lowman Student Center featured a performance by the university’s jazz bands. The line-up consisted of the Jazz Combo, the Lab Band, and the Jazz Ensemble (or the JE).
The bands are full of excitement over their premier performance in the Kat Klub. Director Arik Schneller said that University of North Texas, the Number One state school in the country for jazz, has a club like this, and that the students need a club atmosphere to get into the soulful feeling of playing jazz.
Schneller and Kat Klub manager Gary Roark collaborated to create the premier event, and Schneller has high hopes of continuing performances in the LSC every month, or even every two weeks.
Near the end of the show the JE performed the song “Kansas City Shout” and dedicated it to their previous director, Rod Cannon. He sat in the front row and led the audience in a standing ovation after the finale, “Cherokee,” in which Schneller scatted [sang non-sensical notes to replicate an instrument] along with the tune.
The ambiance at the Kat Klub is like a jazz club from the early 1900s. The dim lighting, conversational audience, and generally intimate interaction between the performers and their listeners are just what the band is looking for in a venue.
“I like the atmosphere. We are trying to find a place for students to come and enjoy the music that isn’t a performance hall,” said Nick Alaggio, lead trumpet for the JE, and four-year member of the university’s jazz band.
“It was really cool that people were back there and playing pool while we performed. Back in the old days people weren’t just sitting listening to the music. They were dancing and enjoying the atmosphere,” he said.
Jaymee Lamprecht, one of only two jazz band females at the university, is a baritone sax player — a rarity in the jazz world Allagio said.
“I love the energy. In a concert hall you can’t see the people in the audience. Here you can interact and feed off of the audience’s energy,” Allagio said.
Sam Houston State’s jazz band celebrates its love of music through performance, and shares it with other students on campus with shows like this one. Schneller said, “Having performances with great music is hopefully a way to keep students on campus.” With the successful turnout Thursday, students can expect to see more jazz at the Kat Klub.