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Keeping Jazz alive: USF Jazztet performs in Barnes’s Hall

Photos courtesy of Jenna Jean.

Keeping Jazz alive and traveling the world are just some of the things that the University of South Florida (USF) Jazztet group provides locally and internationally. Made of graduate and undergraduate students, the Jazztet has performed in Jazz festivals in Italy, France, South Africa and England.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, they performed their biggest concert of the semester, “Fusion and Beyond,” locally in Barness Hall.  Christina Schreiber is a music major and friends with the Jazztet’s drummer.

“It was really, for lack of a better word, Groovy,” Schreiber said of the show. “Everyone was kind of nodding in there seats and having a good time along with everybody. It felt very conversational, like casual,” Schreiber said. Schreiber said that locally, the Jazztet is well known, but that they lack deserved recognition at their school.

“I don’t think, school-wide, the arts are very promoted at all,” Schreiber said. Chris Rottmayer, instructor of the class Jazz Piano at USF, is proud of the Jazztet, especially for what they have accomplished in the past semester.

“I think they are well known, certainly they are highly regarded here on campus,” Rottmayer said. “We have done a lot of traveling with this group. This was the big event for this semester, so for the rest of the semester they will work on there big recording project,” Rottmayer said.

Most members of the Jazztet are also working professionally in music. They perform at weddings, Busch Gardens, local clubs and other centers while working on their degrees. David Gambino, who plays the baritone saxophone in the Jazztet, will perform at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa next week.

“A lot of us are professional musicians in the area,” Gambino said. “And we do a lot of traveling back and forth from Orlando, Tampa, and even St. Pete with ensembles like this. Currently, I am playing Threepenny Opera at the Straz. I’m playing the reed 1 book for that.” The Jazztet is also heavily involved in the USF community.

“We do a lot of outreach,” Gambino said. “A lot of recruiting for students as well as jazz awareness, and make sure people still know this is going on,” Gambino said.

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