Preserving a genre

Ashley Sattler, A&E Writer

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Xavier students have once again been given the opportunity to gain experience and learn from professionals through the Corridor Jazz Project. This annual event is put on by Eastern Iowa’s Jazz station, KCCK, and is available to the best high school jazz bands in the area. This year, 16 schools collaborated with a professional artist to record songs that will all be compiled onto a DVD. On a later date, Xavier High School will come together with the other schools for the Corridor Jazz Project Concert to perform the songs they learned. On January 12, Xavier’s Jazz Band One traveled to the Opus Concert Café in downtown Cedar Rapids. The 21 band members recorded “Old Chief’s Lookout” by Rick Hirsch with professional guitarist Luke Sanders for the Corridor Jazz Project. While this was Sanders’ first time doing this project, it was not his first time collaborating with the Xavier Fine Arts department. In past years, he’s played in the pit orchestra for Xavier’s productions of “Footloose” and “Grease.” “This was a load of fun,” Sanders said. “I’ve known the Xavier Jazz Band for eight years now and they always put out a great project. I’m just happy to be involved.” Senior drummer, Randall Kinner, has been in Jazz Band One for all four years at Xavier and has always found this project to be a great opportunity for him to grow as a musician. “I enjoy the KCCK Corridor Jazz Project because it gives a real world experience of recording with professionals,” Kinner said. “I’m hoping to create an experience worth remembering on the recording that we will create.” Dennis Greene, General Manager of KCCK, has always worked to expand the jazz community and secure a future filled with jazz fans. “For a long time at KCCK we wanted to make sure we were really supporting the student jazz programs because let’s be honest, if we don’t grow our jazz fans early, we might not have any,” Greene said. “We decided almost 20 years ago that we were going to find something to do at pretty much each grade level.” Greene heard about a local radio station that did something similar to the Corridor Jazz project while he was at a conference in Seattle, sparking his interest to create a similar one in Iowa. KCCK has been doing this project for 15 years now and it is loved by many high school jazz band students. When asked what advice he would give to an aspiring jazz musician, Greene gave a simple answer. “Jazz was originally passed on from master to student. If you wanted to learn jazz, you found a jazz musician or jazz group that was willing to take you in and help you learn; it’s always a one on one experience,” Greene said. “A critical part of being a jazz musician is listening to jazz. You can’t play jazz without knowing the language.” The Corridor Jazz Project DVDs will be available for purchase through KCCK in the weeks leading up to the concert on March 8 at The Paramount Theatre.