On Thursday, April 14, the “Jazz Ensemble Concert” was held in Minsky Recital Hall directed by Dan Barrett, a professor of music theory and jazz courses at the University of Maine. UMaine was lucky enough to receive a grant from the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series Committee that allowed a special guest artist to perform alongside the jazz band and ensemble.
Nadje Noordhuis of Sydney, Australia joined the jazz band and ensemble by playing the trumpet. She is a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music’s College of Jazz Arts and Precollege Jazz Arts Programs and at Hunter College. She plays in the Maria Scheinder Orchestra that has collected numerous Grammys, along with playing in the Grammy-nominated Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and the Grammy-nominated Anat Cohen Tenet.
Noordhuis joined in on a majority of the band’s songs including, “Song for Don,” which was written and composed by Bill McCarthy. Noordhuis also performed her songs “Big Footprint,” which she had composed, and “Song for Saskia.”
“This song was actually written for my daughter,” Noordhuis said. “But she’s in seventh grade now, so this is a long time coming!”
The performance throughout the whole night was upbeat and fun, as the band played funky melodies that had everyone from ages 20 to 80 tapping their toes to the beat.
Following a brief intermission, the band switched spots with the ensemble and jumped right into the next beautiful song, “Ojos de Rojo,” which was written by student pianist Myles Kelley.
Two songs later, Noordhuis came back to play alongside the new set of musicians for “Narayama,” a song that included not only a trumpet feature, but a riveting saxophone solo as well. Barrett told the audience after the piece that his brother, James Barrett, had written it.
Closing out the concert, the audience was serenaded by the final song “Sweet Time Suite” that had two parts: “II. For H.” and “III For Jan.” It was a soft jazz beat to end the night, one that sounded like Snoopy bouncing around during a “Peanuts” film. UMaine’s jazz band, ensemble and Noordhuis received a well-deserved standing ovation after their performance.