The Jazz Lounge Listening Series kicked off last Wednesday, Sept. 18 in Kemp Library from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Students, faculty, and members of the public gathered in the Jazz Lounge to experience the first installment of the series.
The record for Wednesday night’s listening series was Bill Evans’ “Everybody Digs Bill Evans”. This record highlights the sounds of a piano trio from 1958. Listeners sat in the lounge as the music played and the record sleeve was passed around.
Dr. Matt Vashlishan, the coordinator for ESU’s jazz collection, is in charge of choosing the music selection for each month.
“I try to have different stuff,” said Vashlishan. “This one is just a piano trio, and it’s pretty common. The next is going to be a lot more notes.”
The Jazz Lounge Listening Series is in its second year at ESU. Vashlishan says he’s been doing it for about four semesters, and the student response to it varies each time. When the series first started, he acknowledged that it was a slow reaction.
“At first, everybody just looked in this direction wondering what was going on,” said Vashlishan.
It gained more recognition and attention with each installment. According to Vashlishan, some students would even come over to the Jazz Lounge from other sections of the library to inquire about the music, particularly for the jazz fusion selections.
“That’s kind of what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get people to hear stuff and say ‘what’s that?’” he said.
The series isn’t only for student entertainment, it is also open to the public. On certain occasions, Vashlishan says that more members of the public attend than students. He even gets well-known jazz musicians to attend.
As of right now, Vashlishan is focused on showcasing records in ESU’s jazz collection, but he is not opposed to playing CDs for future listening series segments.
His reason for playing records, however, is to bring back the vibe of listening to them.
“Records sound good,” he said. “They sound a certain way, and it’s what people used to do.”
He mentions that people used to sit around and listen to records, but he also explains the thoughtful design of playing a record, which is meant to be listened to all the way through. The last song before flipping the record to play the songs on the other side is part of the listening process.
“It’s designed to be an experience,” he said.
Another of Vashlishan’s goals for the series is to get the students and members of the community used to come on campus for events.
“If there is a concert or something else, it’s not that big of a deal anymore because you’re used to coming on campus,” Vashlishan said.
The next installment of the Jazz Lounge Listening Series will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in Kemp Library. The record of the evening will be The Phil Woods Six’s “Live from the Showboat.”
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