UCL Shows Preview: Jazz Society presents The Big Easy

UCL Shows Preview: Jazz Society presents The Big Easy

Rita Azevedo previews Jazz Society’s upcoming show at the recently re-opened Bloomsbury Theatre.

As first term begins to draw to a close and we start to need a break, the UCL Jazz Society will take you back to New Orleans at a time when jazz was beginning to emerge. During the late nineteenth century, New Orleans was a meeting point for a confluence of historical and cultural references that brought together sounds from Africa and the Caribbean. Jazz emerges amidst a broader musical (r)evolution where these influences are blended together to form new sounds.

The UCL Jazz Society’s Big Band, Small Band, and Choir present the audience with a journey across various music styles originating in Louisiana as a result of the transformation of the musical landscape happening at that time. Starting with jazz’s Dixieland roots (referring to the Original Dixieland Jazz Band who epitomised this genre in the early 20th century), they move on to ragtime, with a Small Band piece by ‘King of Ragtime’ Scott Joplin, to showcase the evolution of styles. This is also accompanied by the performance of spirituals, folk songs that are rooted in African musical traditions and born out of the slavery experience, to pay homage to the religious aspects and uses of jazz music.

As the New Orleans style was revived during the latter half of the twentieth century, typical elements of this style, defined by its full and busy sound, coupled with moments of improvisation, began to bleed into modern music. For the final section of the performance, Jazz Society presents the audience with a rendition of modern hits (including the Jungle Book’s I Want To Be Like You) that highlight how elements of New Orleans Jazz have been incorporated into contemporary music styles and live on in hits familiar to us.

An eclectic and lively show for jazz fans and newbies alike, The Big Easy will introduce you to pieces showcasing the various elements of this particular style. No matter how much of a beginner you are, the compering (by Rosie Croysdale) will guide you through the journey you are being taken on.

Taking place at the recently re-opened Bloomsbury Theatre, this is a great chance to experience this newly revamped space as it is filled with the sounds of live bands and a choir. For those interested in the history of early jazz and its lasting influences on modern music, find the Jazz Society performing The Big Easy at the Bloomsbury Theatre on the 23rd and 24th of November.