The Jazz Ensembles Welcome a Grammy Nominee

By Brooke Poulson, UCA Publicity Intern

New Orleans is said to be the birthplace of Jazz nearly 100 years ago, and if you have never had the chance to made it to New Orleans and experience its origins, I highly suggest you attend the Jazz Ensembles Concert on April 13 at the University Center for the Arts. You will not only experience the rich musical art of Jazz, but you’ll hear the one and only Matt Wilson who is a first time guest performer for the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Wilson, who will perform alongside Jazz Ensembles I and II, has performed with an all-star jazz group at a White House State Dinner when former President Obama was in office, as well as with performers such as Herbie Hancock, Dewey Redman, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Elvis Costello, Cedar Walton, and many more! Wilson is said to have a strong presence on stage, so much so that the audience and performers all thrive on his humor and positive vibes.

Jazz Ensemble I is directed by Peter Sommer, coordinator of Jazz Studies and associate professor of saxophone, who has been at CSU since 2003. With a long history of performances at CSU, the ensembles typically take 4-5 weeks to prepare for a concert, rehearsing about three hours each week. Having hosted many notable musicians, the group is especially excited to have this extraordinary guest.

The Grammy nominated Wilson was voted #1 Rising Star Drummer in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll for five consecutive years, was named a top four drummer in a 2010 readers’ poll by JazzTimes, and was the Jazz Journalists Association Drummer of the Year in 2003.

Wilson has an immense passion for sharing his love of jazz, and enjoys teaching people from all walks of life. His dedication to jazz will certainly radiate as he takes the stage alongside Jazz Ensembles I and II.

Matt Brown, Jazz Ensembles I percussionist, shares what he is looking forward to about the upcoming performance. "As I think about the last four years as a music performance major, I am in awe at all the phenomenal musicians that I have been able to meet, play with, and study under,” he recollected. “Music is all about opportunities and once again, I am so thankful for an opportunity that the [School of Music, Theatre, and Dance] has given me.”

Since Brown found out that Wilson was joining his group he has been anticipating an exceptional experience. “His playing and approach to jazz drumming is very inspirational to me,” Brown explained. “From his compositions with the Matt Wilson Quartet to his works with musicians like Ron Carter, Bob Stewart, and John Scofield, there's no denying that Matt Wilson is the man!”

If Matt Brown feels so lucky to have this opportunity, so should you! Get you ticket for the Jazz Ensembles Concert on April 13 at 7:30, in Griffin Concert Hall, at