UWO hosts famous jazz quartet

Rachel Ryan, News Reporter

The Oshkosh community will experience a once-in-a-lifetime event Oct. 15 when the Grammy Award-winning Branford Marsalis Quartet plays at The Howard.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet consists of several world-renowned jazz musicians including Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on upright bass, Justin Faulkner on drumset and Branford Marsalis himself on alto, tenor and soprano saxophones. The group has been performing for three decades and has found its fair share of fame.

Students for Music, a UW Oshkosh student organization, has partnered with historic Oshkosh venue The Howard to host the quartet.

SFM president Giselle Olivia said the group tried to get Marsalis to perform at UWO last year but it didn’t work out. She said this year SFM faculty adviser Sharon Tenhundfeld played a large role in connecting the organization with prominent musicians and local businesses.

“It’s really awesome that we even got him to come here,” Olivia said.

Olivia said the Marsalis Quartet is like the “royal family of [the] jazz community.”

Marty Robinson, professor of trumpet and jazz at UWO, said Marsalis doesn’t fit into a box when it comes to jazz.

“He’s generally considered one of the most proficient and versatile jazz saxophonists of the last 20 or 30 years,” Robinson said. “When he’s performing, you never know what you’re gonna get, which is really exciting.”

Robinson said throughout his 15 years at the university, UWO has never hosted someone of this caliber in the jazz world.

Prior to the event, Marsalis will also host a master class for UWO students that will take place at 3 p.m. in the UW Oshkosh Music Hall in the Arts & Communication Center. Olivia said students will be able to get advice and suggestions from Marsalis at this event.

“I think that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Olivia said.

After the master class, the concert will be held at The Howard with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and the performance starting at 7:30 p.m. Robinson said students can attend the event for $5.

“This is the recital that you can’t miss because … if you’re here for four or five years, you’re not gonna hear anything like this,” Robinson said.

Robinson hopes that students who attend the concert will hear the stylistic versatility the group can play. He said in jazz, improvisation is a key element, and the quartet is doing that on stage for an hour and a half.

“Imagine a comedian who just goes on stage and asks the audience, ‘What are you thinking about?’ And then he starts riffing on that for 10 minutes and telling the funniest stuff that you can hear. That’s what these guys are doing with music,” Robinson said.

While this is the first SFM event held off-campus in partnership with a local music venue, Olivia hopes it will not be the last. She said in the future, they would like to build relationships with other venues so they can accommodate a variety of artists like Marsalis.

Robinson highly encourages students to attend the Branford Marsalis Quartet.

“Be ready to have your ears be blown away,” Robinson said. “Not by the sound, but by the creativity.”