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Two jazz sax­o­phones | Wiki Commons

Hillsdale College’s faculty jazz ensemble, the Hillcats, invite campus and Hillsdale County to join them for their first per­for­mance of the season. The event will be held Friday, Nov. 15 at 8:00 p.m. in the Plaster Audi­torium.

According to Jonathon Ger­wirtz, who plays sax­o­phone, the group’s per­for­mances are usually themed around a par­ticular genre of music or artist. This time, it’s the works of Charlie Parker, an American sax­o­phonist and com­poser, and Clifford Brown, an American trum­peter.  

“Both were inno­vators of the bebop style on their instru­ments,” Gewirtz said in an email. “Charlie Parker is probably one of the most influ­ential jazz musi­cians of modern jazz. It’s his style of playing that has become the sound of bebop. Clifford Brown’s short career — he died at 25 — was filled with some of the most important trumpet solos of the bebop era.”

Hank Horton plays bass for the ensemble. He added that the group tries to put their own spin on each piece.

“We try not to just copy,” he said. “We do what we do with our own styles and arrange­ments.”

The event is also edu­ca­tional, Horton said.

“We try to do music to expose younger players to musi­cians they might not have heard of before,” he said. “They might know the songs and not know who wrote them and be like ‘Oh I know that song.’” 

Gewirtz said it will be a fun event for musi­cians espe­cially.

“Bebop is known for being a musician’s music,” he said. “It grew out of the jam ses­sions where musi­cians would get together after their gigs and jam for hours into the next morning. The concert this Friday is going to have much of that excitement and energy.”

Horton empha­sized that the per­for­mance is one that everyone will enjoy.

“There are a lot of great musi­cians in the Hillcats and anybody who plays would want to see them play and hear the music,” he said. “But even if you’re not a musician, you can still appre­ciate what it takes to pull some­thing like that off. You’ll be thor­oughly enter­tained even if you don’t leave humming the music.”