Recognized as one of the outstanding liberal arts college jazz ensembles in the Upper Midwest, the Jazz Orchestra seamlessly bridges the many styles of the genre. Whether they’re swinging to the tunes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie, making a Brazilian samba come alive, premiering new students works, or simply laying down a heavy funk groove, the twenty musicians of the “Superband” (as director Dr. Juan Tony Guzmán calls the ensemble) are guaranteed to make any space alive with musical energy. The Jazz Orchestra’s performances in state-of-the-art concert halls, music festivals, dances, churches, schools, and celebrations have received excellent reviews from critics and enthusiastic responses from audiences across the Midwest and abroad.
As one of Luther’s four major touring ensembles, the Jazz Orchestra travels annually and tours abroad every four years--most recently in 2012 to Brazil, where it was featured in the “Festival No Improviso” in Curitiba and performed for packed audiences in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The band also performed live on Brazilian national radio in 2008 and in 2004 and 2000 traveled to the Dominican Republic, sponsored by the Dominican Republic President’s Council of Culture and the National System of Youth Symphony Orchestras.
In addition to regular performances on the Luther College campus, the Jazz Orchestra has been featured at the Iowa Jazz Championships, Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference, and the International Market Square in Minneapolis. Guest artists and clinicians include the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Dick Oatts and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Christian McBride, and Brazilian blues/soul pianist, Ari Borger. The Luther College Center Stage Series frequently includes the finest jazz artists in the nation on its performance line-up.
The Jazz Orchestra has recorded two albums, most recently Transformations (2011) and On the Move (2003). The 2013 Midwest tour is in preparation for the beginning of their third recording project, set to begin this spring. These recordings can be purchased at concert sites or online through the Luther College Book Shop.
Students of jazz at Luther have the opportunity to participate in two jazz bands, a jazz combo, and study jazz improvisation and history.
Jazz Orchestra is conducted by Juan Tony Guzman.
Auditions for Jazz Orchestra are held annually.
Jazz Orchestra rehearses MWF 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. and TTh 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Rehearsal location for Jazz Ensembles is in the Orchestra Room.
Um a Zero (1x0)
Composed by Pixinguinha and Benedicto Lacerda
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Goin' to Chicago
Composed by Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing
Solos: Annie Kuttler, Elliot Ostrowski
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