By Katie Weitkamp/The Studio editor
A battle of the bands without any judges? It’s just for a good time, said Jonathan Martin, director of Eastern’s Jazz Ensemble, which played Monday at Comedy off Broadway with the University of Kentucky’s jazz band.The Battle of the Bands, which really is just a slogan to get people into the show, lasted more than two hours, with each band playing just under an hour.
The concert was planned by UK’s Jazz Band Director, Miles Osland, who contacted Martin last fall about the possible show. Martin and Eastern’s Jazz Ensemble jumped at the chance to play with another band.
“Music isn’t supposed to be a competition,” Martin said. “(Battle of the Bands) is a catchy phrase, but there’s really no battle at all.”
The show was considered a success by the size of the crowd, most of the $6 seats were taken. Martin said the show was really just about getting people to come out and support live music.
“The band was on tonight,” Brad Stewart said. Stewart, a senior music education major from Dry Ridge, plays percussion in the ensemble. “The club is a great atmosphere and UK’s Jazz Band is really good.”
One of the goals of both Osland and Martin was to get students to have a chance to listen to other bands, bringing them together in a “battle of the bands” format gave them a chance to do that as well as brings in a larger audience.
Eastern’s Jazz Ensemble plays mostly on Eastern’s campus, but sometimes goes on tours across the state and to other colleges. Monday’s performance was something new to the ensemble, which had a positive reaction from both of the bands as well as the fans.
Currently there are no future plans for another concert such as Monday’s; however, Martin is hopeful for more concerts with more bands participating.
“I’m friends with most of them (band directors) across the state. There has been some interest expressed in future shows, but nothing in the works right now,” Martin said.
Past performances of Eastern’s Jazz Ensemble include a swing tribute played during the library series on jazz history, but what the group is most excited about this year is the upcoming Jazz Festival 2003.
The festival will start at 3 p.m. April 26 in the Ravine. Special guests for the festival will be Steve Wiest, the director of jazz studies and trombone at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Vince DiMartina, who is featured on some of the most recent Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s recordings.
The festival will be outside, weather permitting, with lots of fun, food and most importantly jazz. Admission to the festival is free.