Play That Funky Music, Bronchos
UCO Jazz Band students perform in the Jazz Lab during the spring 2015 semester. (Provided/Vista Archives)
The University of Central Oklahoma’s Jazz Lab hosts live performances throughout the year and is the home of the Jazz Studies Division of the School of Music.
“If you’re a trumpet player, trombone player, sax player, guitar, you take your lessons over here,” said UCO Jazz Lab director Clint Rohr.
Musically inclined students may use their talents to obtain an undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies, utilizing the Lab’s state-of-the-art recording studios, which at one point were used as a commercial recording facility.
The Jazz Lab has a New Orleans-style aesthetic complete with a stage for live performances.
“Part of the original vision was to have open to the public performances by professional bands on the weekends,” Rohr said.
— Visit Edmond (@VisitEdmond) June 13, 2017
On Tuesday November 28, Director of Jazz Studies Brian Gorrell is headlining the Jazz Lab’s Faculty Artist Concert series. Gorrell’s performance will feature his own original music and a classical sonata.
“It’s a big deal for me…I get to work with a lot of great people,” Gorrell said.
The Lab features professional artists in the genres of jazz, classic rock, and blues. From Sunday through Thursday, most of the featured performances are by students.
“We’ve got something for everybody,” Rohr said. “We try to focus on jazz and the roots of jazz which is blues, but there’s also rock, soul and R&B.”
Rohr said the reason why the jazz lab was built is due to the exceptional academic program.
“By the time I came to school here there were three jazz ensembles, compared to much larger universities that have one or two depending on the year,” Rohr said. “Now we have four.”
The last jazz ensemble of the year will perform Dec. 4.
“It’s always very well attended, sold out actually,” Gorrell said. “We cram people in there until we can’t fit anyone else.”
Gorrell encourages everyone to attend shows at the Jazz Lab, describing the performances as true art.
“The best part of my job is working with our students and sharing the passion that myself, the students and faculty have for the art form,” Gorrell said. “There is a distinction between the way pop culture views music and the way music is viewed as an art.”
Student ensembles from the Jazz Lab have won many awards in international competitions, which has helped the program grow.
For more information about the Jazz Lab and its upcoming events, visit www.ucojazzlab.com