Created in 1981 by John Zdechlik, the Century College Jazz Ensemble is an outlet for talented musicians with an interest and ability in big band jazz performance. Over the past 26 years, band members have changed (although there are still five original members left in the ensemble!) Dr. Zdechlik retired from Century College in 1997, and Larry Neumann took over the directing duties after having played in the band for 10 years.
In addition to regular college concerts and jazz festivals, the group performs at various venues throughout Minneapolis/St. Paul and greater Minnesota. Notable past performances include:
At the annual Jazz Festival, the band teams up with the Century College Foundation to raise money for student scholarships. Past featured artists include:
Sponsored by the US-China Cultural and Education Foundation, the ensemble was invited for a two-week musical tour of China in June 2006. The group brought big band jazz to numerous venues, including concert halls, outdoor pavilions, schools, and clubs. The largest audience included 30,000 people.
In 1990, the United States Information Agency selected the band to tour as musical goodwill ambassadors to South America. Their 18-day tour included concerts in Paraguay and Uruguay.
The group has recorded on three different occasions, starting with the release of "Lullaby of the Leaves", which featured much of the South American tour. "Together Again" and "Swing House" are compilations of past concerts and band favorites, featuring a wide variety of composers and styles.
Call 651.747.4033 for copies of the band's cds.