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Series lets jazz pros shed light on work

The University of North Texas has put together a roster of award-winning musicians for the College of Music’s Jazz Lecture Series.

At 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday, renowned jazz trumpet player Carl Saunders will discuss his work, his music and jazz.

Started as a way to bring musicians from New York to UNT, the Jazz Lecture Series is designed to elevate students’ education. Now in its 31st year, the series, which introduces jazz musicians, vocalists, composers and critics to students in an intimate classroom setting, is open to jazz fans and anyone in the public who is interested in learning alongside the students.

“What excites me about the series is that with each visit by a guest artist, there’s a chance that something that guest will play or say will turn on a creative light for one of our students,” said John Murphy, jazz studies chairman. “These sessions can be among the most memorable moments in a student’s time at UNT because they happen only once. Each guest brings an individual perspective different from that of the jazz studies faculty. That’s why we do this, to expose students to the broadest possible range of views about music and building a career.”

Neil Slater, former bandleader of the UNT One O’clock Lab Band, started the series in 1982. Slater said that he couldn’t take the students to New York, but he could bring New York to the students. Famous trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was among the guests that first semester. There have been other high-profile and dedicated musicians since then.

Jazz Lecture Series sessions are from 9:30 to 10:50 a.m. and from 2 to 3:20 p.m., except for Feb. 26, when there will be only an afternoon session. All lectures are in Room 293 in the UNT Music Building.

The series is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Those planning to bring large groups should check with the Division of Jazz Studies in advance by calling 940-565-3743.

— Lucinda Breeding