ASU jazz bands bring down the house

The Recital Hall in the Music Building on Tempe campus was rocking on Wednesday night as four different jazz groups performed for a crowd of peers and family members.

The hall was buzzing with excitement. A few musicians briefly greeted family members in the audience before the 7:30 p.m. start time while some parents chatted enthusiastically about the highly-anticipated performance. While waiting in line to get into the hall, one woman proudly told the couple in front of her about her sons’ many musical abilities.

The intimate space, which housed about 85 people, was filled almost to capacity. The feeling of being crowded gave the recital a rock concert quality.

The four jazz combos that performed consisted of students who auditioned for the groups back at the beginning of the semester. After being selected, the students were placed into a group made up of five to eight members and assigned a director.

The musicians in the individual groups chose the music they wanted to perform. Each group had about 20 minutes on stage, which equated to roughly three songs per set.

The variety of songs chosen ranged from Latin jazz to a Miles Davis cover of “Seven Steps to Heaven,” with a few original compositions thrown into the mix.

The enthusiastic crowd fed into the excitement that many of the performers were already feeling.

Tim Lauxman, who played trumpet for one of the jazz groups, said he thought the performance went very well.

Wednesday night’s recital was the first time this year these jazz combos have had the chance to perform for an audience.

Lauxman was also excited about the audience attendance for the performance.

“I thought the turn out was awesome,” Lauxman said. “Anytime I see people sitting on the floor to see a concert, that’s really cool.”

While the support for the jazz combos within the School of Music is huge, support from the rest of the ASU community is a different story. Lauxman acknowledged that a lot of students outside of the School of Music just don’t know what’s happening, especially with the jazz department being so small. “Being music majors, we take a lot of music classes so we’re kind of secluded,” Lauxman said. He added that students from outside of the music program who come to see their peers perform usually enjoy the show.

Lauxman encouraged everyone to see the students in the music school perform.

“We play better music than what you’re listening to on the radio,” he said. “There’s way more creative thought, dedication and passion going into the music here.”

Lauxman added that the recitals at ASU are like rock shows, but a little more subdued.

Keep a look out for upcoming performances by the musicians in the School of Music, including a performance by the Latin jazz band on Monday, Oct. 17 and a Ray Charles cover show on Oct. 22.


Reach the reporter at


Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.