The glitz and glamour of the Roaring '20s has faded, appearing only as a ghost in our Gatsby-themed parties and period films. However, the past can be relived with the same emotion, excitement and energy through jazz music.
This genre, which has spanned generations, lived on through the UT Jazz Big Band Tuesday night.
The concert was the 184th program of the 2013-2014 concert season, according to the program, and attracted an audience that included students and adults alike at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.
The jazz band is comprised of five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets and five "rhythm" players, whose roles varied from guitar to drum set to piano. Six of the nine pieces performed were new compositions collected from a contest with the College Music Society, band director and senior percussion lecturer Keith Brown said.
"Composers from around the country were invited to create pieces that would be judged by a panel," Brown said. "Eventually, (the pieces) were sent back to the school and we would decide which pieces we wanted to play."
The concert kicked off with "Nasty Blues," a piece composed by one of the contest winners, Pete McGuinness, featuring a piano, sax and trombone solo. The next song, "Gato Rayado" by Michael Kocour, brought more of a "cha-cha" take on jazz.
Anna Chaloux, sophomore in kinesiology, said "Gato Rayado" was her favorite piece.
"I liked the tribal-sounding one, 'Gato Rayatdo,'" said Chaloux, who is enrolled in Brown's jazz history class. "It just had a different style than all the other ones."
The night continued with "Shade Street," written by Knoxville Jazz Orchestra Director Vance Thompson. The composer himself made an appearance, playing one of the trumpet solos halfway through the song.
As the concert continued, one soloist was featured more than others: Kyle Bothof, senior in studio music and jazz performance. He performed solos in four pieces: "Boogaloo" by Clarence Hines, "Category 4" by Jeff Jarvis, "the Mild, Mild Midwest" by Mike Conrad and "The Driver" by Matt Harns. He also was given the lead part in "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," a soulful song by Charles Mingus that provided a change of pace to the continually upbeat concert.
Bothof said the style's unique elements, including "not having to worry about what was on the page," first attracted him to jazz.
"A major part of jazz is improvisation, and so to be able to just have a set of changes in front of me that I can be creative and free with," Bothof said. "That's what made it appealing to me, that it isn't all set in stone like classical music.
"It's all in the moment, and what everyone else is doing and how they're interacting."
The tenor-sax player has gotten quite a bit of practice perfecting the art of improvisation; he's been in the jazz band for 10 semesters, letting the music shape his UT experience.
"It's been everything; I knew when I came here that I wanted to audition for it," Bothof said. "It just means everything to me here, because it's different than what we normally do. It's especially neat because it's extracurricular, out of the classroom. This is just fun for us to do."
Chaloux and fellow attendee Lindsey Wilde, freshman in child and family studies, appreciated the passion behind the art.
"It's more interesting than I thought before," Chaloux said after her experiences in class and at the concert. "If you like music, then it's good to broaden your scope on music styles, because not a lot of people listen to jazz that are our age."
"If you like jazz, you should definitely come see them," Wilde added.
While the audience's feet tapped in time to the beat, Bothof considered what he would miss about the ensemble that has been such an integral part of his UT experience.
"I'm going to miss everything," he said. "I will miss being with all these guys. I'll miss being around Keith Brown, the faculty, being in a big band.
"Really, I'm going to miss the people more than anything."
More information on the UT music program as well as a schedule of events can be found on its website, http://www.music.utk.edu/.