November’s Jazz at the Station event was a swinging good time

Jess Wright

Trombone player Daniel West performing with the Weber State Jazz Ensemble on Wednesday. (Danny rubio / The Signpost)
Trombone player Daniel West performing with the Weber State Jazz Ensemble on Wednesday. (Danny Rubio / The Signpost)

The monthly Jazz at the Station event was presented this past Wednesday by Ogden’s Union Station Foundation and the WSU Alumni Jazz takes place every month at the Union Center’s grand lobby. The event takes place from 7–8 p.m. and is free and open to all ages.

Caril Jennings, the producer of the event and retired marketing director for the Weber State performing arts, has been producing Jazz at the Station since it originated in January 1998. “Our students needed to have venues where drinking and smoking weren’t involved because many of our students were underage,” she says of the origin of the event. “We started doing this as a monthly program.”

Jazz music has waned in popularity, especially with younger generations, being replaced by other forms of more contemporary and popular music, and Jennings said, “it’s very hard to find jazz that isn’t in a bar or down in Salt Lake.”

Jazz at the Station allows students and the community to congregate and discover a new form of music that they may not have been exposed to very much. The ages varied from the very young to the older generations, but all were enjoying the jazz set that was put together by Dr. Daniel Jonas, the Weber State Jazz Ensemble director and the ensemble.

One of the pieces, an interpretation of “Pure Imagination,” originally from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” was arranged by the baritone saxophone player Graysen Castell, and showcased not only the beauty of the piece but also the talent of the students in the ensemble and Castell himself.

Dr. Jonas, who started his first year as the director this past fall, said, “I jumped at the opportunity because I think the concerts at the university are great but it’s a very academic setting and it’s much better to be out in the community.”

Tyler Torrico, one of the drummers of the ensemble, seems to agree with Dr. Jonas, saying, “I like the atmosphere here, being up front and personal. I like that the audience is right there.” Torrico has been a member of the Jazz Ensemble for two and a half of his four and a half years he has been at Weber, though he participated in other ensembles for the university before that.

“I just jumped into it and got better,” Torrico said of his entrance into performing jazz. He wasn’t initially very interested in jazz music, but when he realized that one of his favorite musical genres, hip hop, had roots in jazz and the improvisation aspect that went on during a jazz concert, he became interested in it.

“Hip hop was just a rebirth of [jazz], without the instrumentation. The whole process of improvisation is just amazing, it brings out really artistic things in people,” he said.

Next month’s Jazz at the Station will take place December 8th, and feature Casey Woods and Christmas tunes.