The Silicon Valley Voice

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Jazz Outdoors on the Lawn at Santa Clara University Makes a Comeback

Jazz aficionados from campus and the community lounged on the lawn in front of the Louis B. Mayer Theatre at Santa Clara University (SCU) on the evening of June 1, listening to mellow jazz performed on an outdoor stage.

The jazz fans sat on folding metal chairs by the stage or lawn chairs from home. They reclined on blankets on the sloped lawn or plopped down under a tree. The BBQ meals for purchase sold out.

The fans got way more than their money’s worth at the free, almost two-hour concert, the first outdoor jazz concert at SCU in 10 years. Three jazz combos, soloists and a big band close-out gave their interpretation of music by renown jazz artists such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Lester Young.


“It’s a lot of fun, with students covering a wide array of music from old swing to contemporary pop rock, using jazz language,” said Dr. Josh D. Reed, Director of Jazz Studies.

Since 2017, Reed doubled the size of the jazz combos at SCU to about 30 musicians.

“They worked so hard doing their homework as musicians,” said Reed. “Playing different styles, they’re able to show off what they’ve worked on.”

Saxophone player Ben Jones, a junior from Boston, was waiting for his turn to go on stage and play his vintage sax.

“This is a culmination of a year’s work for us,” said Jones. “It nice to have [the concert] outside and show off work we’ve been doing with Josh all year. It’s good to have so many people come out and support it.” One attendance estimate was about 200.

Soloist Taylor Yamane, a junior from Washington state, was waiting to sing.

“I love singing with the combos,” said Yamane. “They’re the most creative and musical and fun people. They make me sing better.”

For SCU Department of Music information, visit


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