The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW band strives to keep jazz alive

By Bethany Peterson/reporter

Jazz music is alive and well on NW Campus, and the players are ready to show their stuff.

The Faculty Jazz Concert will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Recital Hall (WFAB 1105).

Richard Powell, director of the NW Campus music department, has put on a jazz concert almost every year of his 27 years at TCC.

He and his informal band, Phase II, will perform along with guest saxophonist Mario Cruz, a NW adjunct music instructor.

“We are trying to keep jazz from dying from the public,” Powell said.

Over the years, guests have brought their own style of jazz to the concert and this difference keeps the concerts interesting, he said.

Cruz will bring not only his own style to the stage but also a mission.

“I want to show people that jazz is here, and it is professional,” he said. “I want people to see they can come here to get a good jazz education.”

He uses his personal experience to teach TCC students clarinet, saxophone and flute.

During college at UNT, Cruz made the One O’Clock Jazz Band, UNT’s premier jazz group.

During his time with the band, One O’Clock made several recordings, including four or five of Cruz’s own pieces.

Cruz met Jaco Pastorius while in Florida for graduate school. Cruz later did a world tour with this well-known electric bass player.

Cruz moved to the New York City area in 1984 and lived there for 25 years before moving back to the Fort Worth area in 2008.

Because of his music history, Cruz said he can help his students get over the hump of learning to improvise on the spot, a fundamental part of jazz music that keeps the old tunes fresh.

“Not only do you have to know the basics, the parts of [jazz], you have to make up on your own, develop your own themes and melodies,” he said.

For every musician and listener, jazz music is never the same, Cruz said.

“The meanings are a little different every time,” he said.  “The music passes on the life of the person.”

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