Three student ensembles performing hot blends of Latin, Brazilian, Indian and African jazz beat out the polar vortex on Jan. 24 for Humber’s first ever World Jazz showcase.
The world jazz ensembles offered by the music department allow students who have a foundation in traditional jazz to explore the music of other cultures, explained Denny Christianson, Humber’s Director of Music.
“The results are absolutely spellbinding,” he said, “It gives them a chance to explore new ways of expressing themselves.”
The performance was held at the Humber Auditorium at Lakeshore campus with spectators looking on. It showcased lively performances by the Humber World Drum Ensemble, led by Steve Mancuso and the Humber World Jazz Lab, led by Waleed Abdulhamid.
The Humber World Jazz Ensemble performed compositions by music faculty member Ravi Naimpally, who comes from a background in Indian classical music.
“It’s nice to be in touch with this generation and to see what music they’re into,” said Naimpally. He enjoys introducing his students to music that he’s familiar with as well.
“I try to bring an openness of different styles (of music) to the students,” he said.
The Humber World Jazz Ensemble showed enthusiasm not just for the music they performed but for the meaning behind the songs they spent four months practicing.Between songs, the vocalists shared stories about their learning experience and provided the audience with background information about the meanings behind the songs they performed.
Jon Shearsmith, 25, a guitarist in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Music program at Humber, said he wanted to try something new.
Naimpally’s Indo-jazz ensemble “seemed like something different than what I was normally used to,” he said.
The nine-member ensemble met outside school-scheduled practice time to perfect their sound, which allowed Shearsmith to play with other like-minded students.
He intends on exploring world jazz genres of music, he said.
“This opened a door for me into this other world that I want to explore,” he said.