An evening with the pros

Seattle-based jazz musicians, Dawn Clement and Mark Tyler will be performing with students at CWU

Tim Mitchell, Staff Writer

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CWU’s music department often hosts concerts for professional musicians so that music students can experience what it is like to perform professionally and other concert-goers can experience different forms of music. Feb. 1 is the date of the next concert and it will showcase the stylings of Seattle jazz musicians Dawn Clement and Mark Taylor, who will be performing original music alongside CWU music students in the McIntyre Music Building Recital Hall at 7 p.m.

“These are two of Seattle’s highest talented musicians,” Owen Evans, senior music education major and president of the CWU chapter of the Jazz Educators Network (JEN), said.

Clement is a contemporary jazz pianist, composer and adjunct instructor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Her fifth recording “Tempest Cobalt” was written with producer Charlie Smith, who works with growing pop artists in the Seattle area.

Taylor, on the other hand, is a saxophone player and private teacher, performing regularly on KNKX 88.5 (formerly KPLU)  radio programming and mains a large teaching studio.  Seattle native, Taylor graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and performed with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in New York.

“For a small-town school like us… it’s really refreshing to have new faces, news ideas [and] news perspectives,” Evans said. In the quaint town of Ellensburg, guest artists give students a taste of what it’s like to be a full-time professional musician in a large-market city like Seattle.

Clement and Taylor will sit in on rehearsal sessions to provide feedback, play a short set on their own and then perform with CWU’s student-led jazz combos.

Unlike the big bands, each combo chooses their own arrangements to perform. Austin Hass, a senior in the Music Bachelor’s program , is the drummer for CWU’s Band I and plays in a combo with Evans.

“In big band, everything is heavily arranged. In combos, there’s more individual expression. It’s just like a conversation; people are talking through their instruments,” Hass said.

Additionally, all four CWU combos are each preparing a tune by Pianist Thelonious Monk, with the purpose of mimicking his style as an artist. Learning different styles helps “build a mental library” for a student’s professional playing, Hass said..

Networking is another benefit to students performing with Clement and Taylor. “It puts us on the map,” Hass said. “They [guest artists] go back… and they tell people about us.”

Many of these guest artists are connections made through Chris Bruya, director of jazz studies at CWU.

Evans, as president of CWU JEN, sits on a board of seven CWU students who allocate funds for these events. As a chapter of JEN, they recently travelled to New Orleans, a city soaked in the history of ragtime music and voodoo culture. Eight CWU students attended the national JEN conference to meet and hear performances from a variety of national jazz artists. Evans and his colleagues are now planning a special meeting with CWU JEN members to share what they learned.

Stay up-to-date with the Music Department’s event schedule by visiting them at www.cwu.edu/music.

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An evening with the pros