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Get introduced to jazz

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By Kirsten Laskey

Jazz may be 100 percent American-made, but many young Americans don’t seem to be too aware of their native music.To bring this music back to young people’s ears, KSFR-FM presents the “Swing into Spring” concert at 7:30 p.m. March 24 at Duane W. Smith Auditorium.The concert will feature performances by more than 24 members of the Southwest Jazz Orchestra and the Los Alamos Big Band.“Jazz is just some of our original music that is really American,” said Los Alamos Big Band director Jan McDonald. “There use to be jazz programs in every school, (but) in the last two decades it has just dwindled down. So kids today don’t even know what they’re missing.” Some are fighting to change this because they believe in the significance of jazz and the importance of music in general, McDonald said.As a result, the concert will feature music associated with Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Gerry Mulligan. Additionally there will be a narrator, Santa Fe jazz authority Richard Atkinson, who will take the audience “through the evolution of jazz.” McDonald said.The styles of the two music groups will also show the music. The Big Band, McDonald said, was formed to keep the music of the 1930s and 40s alive. In contrast, Southwest Jazz Orchestra features a more contemporary view of jazz.By participating in this concert, McDonald said, it is hoped the young people will become inspired to pursue jazz and music more.“Los Alamos has always been a community that supports events like this,” he said. “Hopefully, (it will) continue to support us by coming out. Hear both groups and just enjoy a wonderful evening of beautiful sounds.”The cost of the concert is $10, but admission is free to students who are 18 years old or younger.KSFR broadcasts 28 hours of jazz from all eras every week in the Los Alamos area and all the way to Albuquerque at 101.1 FM.