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Jazzamatazz shows off sparkle of jazz

Yavapai College jazz band puts on a concert at the Yavapai College Performing Art Center.

Yavapai College jazz band puts on a concert at the Yavapai College Performing Art Center.

Yavapai College’s big bands, the Trailblazers and the Roughriders, are putting on a performance next week demonstrating the shine and sparkle of jazz, according to director Chris Tenney.

The concert’s name, “Jazzamatazz reflects that, “Tenney said.

“I thought that it felt like a nice magic trick,” he said.

The show starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, and offers a little bit of everything, with both groups performing for about 20 to 30 minutes each, Tenney said. The music will cover the whole gamut jazz has to offer, he said.

Some of it will be the classic jazz that audiences expect to hear with swing or big band settings, Tenney said. Some of those are standards, but there’s also some charts by lesser known artists, he said. Tempos also vary, with some having a slow, intimate feel while others are fast and upbeat, Tenney said. Also, with the show featuring old and new pieces, it’s all going to be mixed in to create an unforgettable evening, he said.

“We kind of see it all,” Tenney said. “If you are the kind of person that likes classic Glenn Miller-esque swing, you’re going to have a good time. If you’re someone who’s really looking for something that’s a little more challenging for your jazz audiences, we’ve got that, too.”

The Trailblazers, as always, have a solid lineup of good players, he said, adding, he can throw anything in front of them, and they’ll tackle it imaginatively.

Recently though, a couple key players in the Roughriders group were changed around, and they’ve been adapting and growing together, Tenney said. The rehearsal on Monday, Feb. 26, was their breakthrough moment, he said.

“We’ve got a lot of young students in our Roughriders group,” he said. “Helping those students understand a style that’s decades old is something that takes a little bit of nuance, a little training. But what’s really exciting is watching those students kind of have those lightbulb moments and realize that jazz is as important to the history of music now as it has been ever.”

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for Yavapai College students and employees and free for youth, ages 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 928-776-2000. The Yavapai College Performing Arts Center is located at 1100 E. Sheldon St.

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