Songsmith Collective

Sometimes, I get asked if jazz is dead. I quickly say no. Jazz is alive and well at places like WMU, where Advanced Jazz Ensemble students recorded their compositions this spring. The material was mostly composed by members, mostly setting the poems of Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Yeats, and Traci Brimhall. It is very effective to use improvisation and counterpoint in dialogue with the text. The ensemble listens and they sing and play with dynamics and awareness. These young musicians’ work reflects their curiosity about jazz – the unanswered questions, the constant seeking. The intention of the group is evident throughout the recording – it is aware of its mission to express creativity and expression. Beautiful poetry serves to elicit emotion from the band. Luciana Souza is a Grammy-winning Brazilian jazz singer/composer from

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