Home Alumni Jazz in July at Drake features music, dance and community

Jazz in July at Drake features music, dance and community

News PhotoThe hot, muggy weather cleared up just in time for nearly 200 jazz fans to enjoy an outdoor evening concert performed July 28 by the Drake Faculty Jazz Quintet.

Presented as part of the Des Moines Metro Arts Jazz in July series, the event also featured visual artists, food and wine vendors and arts and crafts activities in Drake’s Harmon Fine Arts Center courtyard.

The Drake Faculty Jazz Quintet consists of:

  • Dave Altemeier, teaching artist of jazz bass
  • Andy Classen, the Fred and Patty Turner professor of jazz studies and professor of trumpet
  • John Kizilarmut, teaching artist of jazz drums
  • Nick Leo, teaching artist of jazz piano
  • James Romain, associate professor of saxophone and assistant director of jazz studies

The ensemble performed a set comprised of mostly original tunes composed by band members, including Alteimer’s compositions “Going Tharn” and “Goat’s Milk?” and Kizilarmut’s “Blues for C.T.”

In addition to the originals, the band performed renditions of Cedar Walton’s “Bolivia” and Sonny Stitt’s “The Eternal Triangle.”

“It was a lovely evening,” Romain said. “It was actually the first time all five of us have performed together as a group. Jazz in July crowds are great to play for because they’re savvy about the music — they’re an educated and appreciative audience.”

“I had a great time,” said concertgoer Roland Hart of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It was a perfect evening for a concert outside, and the band sounded great. It was nice to see such a large crowd out on a Wednesday night supporting live music and local jazz artists.”

In addition to the jazz program, the Gateway Dance Theatre performed a folk dance from Northern India and an African-inspired contemporary dance to live percussion accompaniment.

“The courtyard made a beautiful setting for the performance,” said Penny Furgerson, who directs the dance company. “The crowd was very receptive and the dancers enjoyed performing immensely. Afterwards, people came up to us and wanted to learn about upcoming performances — they must have enjoyed what we did!”

“I thought the whole event was well-done,” said Laura Porter of Monticello, Iowa. “The concert was very entertaining and the musicians and dancers obviously have a lot of talent.”

Jazz in July at Drake was presented by Friends of Drake Arts in conjunction with the Drake Business Association, the Drake Alumni Association, the Drake Neighborhood Association and the Drake Neighborhood Farmers’ Market.