NCCU Jazz Ensemble Shines at Villanova; Vocal Ensemble to Perform at N.C. Museum of Art

The Jazz Studies program at North Carolina Central University continued its tradition of musical excellence when members of the NCCU Jazz Ensemble competed in the Villanova Jazz Festival Collegiate Competition on March 25-26. The ensemble returned from the festival with six awards: Best Saxophone Section, Best Rhythm Section, Best Trumpet Section, Best Soloist, 1st Place Combo and 1st Place Big Band. As a result of their first place finishes, the Jazz Ensemble opened the evening concert for the American Jazz Repertory Orchestra, directed by Clem Dirosa.

“It was a safe and successful trip and the students did a great job,” said Dr. Ira Wiggins, associate professor in the Department of Music. “The competition was challenging.” Six universities and seven bands competed, including Norfolk State University (two bands), Central Connecticut University, University of Maryland – Baltimore County, Ashland University and Carnegie Mellon University. The last time the NCCU Jazz Ensemble participated in the festival was 2007.

The NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble is furthering its successful season with an invitation to perform at the N.C. Museum of Art’s “30 Americans” exhibit. The ensemble will perform as part of “Jazz on the City Block,” April 29, at 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m., and May 7, at noon, 12:30 and 1 p.m. Admission to the exhibit is $10 and college students are admitted free on Friday evenings, with a current college ID.

The “30 Americans” show highlights the work of contemporary African-American artists in an exhibition organized by and drawn from the Rubell Family Collection, in Miami. Presented in the NCMA’s Meymandi Exhibition Gallery, the exhibit includes 75 works of art using various media. Established and emerging artists are included in the exhibit, highlighting the influence of a previous generation of African-American artists on the current generation. Featured artists include Robert Colescott, David Hammons, Barkley Hendricks, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kerry James Marshall, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Nick Cave, Glenn Ligon, Kehinde Wiley, Mark Bradford, iona rozeal brown, Wangechi Mutu, and more.

For information on the exhibit or the Vocal Jazz Ensemble’s performance, contact the museum at (919) 664-6743.