"Jazz is in the heart, no, the soul, of those who embrace it," writes Irvin Mayfield on his website.
One of the most well-known and sought-after jazz ensembles of our time, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, will provide Bowdoin with its first performance of the year.
Mayfield and the orchestra are currently on their Road to Carnegie Hall tour. As a Grammy and Billboard Award winner, Mayfield is recognized for his versatility as a "trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, professor, cultural ambassador and recording artist."
Sponsored by the Donald M. Zuckert Visiting Professorship Fund, Irvin Mayfield and the Orchestra "reflect the musical traditions of the City of New Orleans where they are based," according to Director of Events and Summer Programs Tony Sprague.
As the creator and trumpeter of the group, Mayfield "has taken a very active role in the rebuilding of [New Orleans] in the five years since Hurricane Katrina," Sprague said.
"Mr. Mayfield and the Orchestra have recently won a Grammy Award for their recent recordings, and we saw his appearance as a great way to showcase a large jazz orchestra performance on campus," said Sprague.
According to Sprague, students frequently request to have more jazz artists perform on campus.
Jazz music has a universal appeal, and attracts not only Bowdoin students but also members of the community.
"I think that jazz appeals to a very wide variety of music enthusiasts," said Fhiwa Ndou '13.
Although this will be the first time that Irvin Mayfield has performed at Bowdoin, the events office has "sought to bring artists that cover varying music styles to campus," Sprague said.
The past year alone, Time for Three, Marcus Roberts, Cedar Walton, and Bela Fleck and the Africa Project were brought to campus. The wide range in genres exemplifies the Office of Events' continual attempt to meet the needs of all Bowdoin students and their varied tastes in music.
For fans of jazz musicians like Mayfield, Bowdoin will also host performances by Joe Lovano and his ensemble, U.S. Five, on October 15. Additionally, jazz drummer Teri Carrington will perform on December 6.
"One of the greatest advantages of having a performance like this on campus and in Pickard stems from how close all of the audience members sit to the stage, as they'll be able to watch the interplay between the performers in a way that is just not possible in a large hall," said Sprague.
As of Thursday, evening, the info desk at Smith Union had only seven tickets remaining, indicating the positive response to the concert.
Simon Bordwin '13 said he eagerly anticipates the performance and described jazz music's calming effect.
"As opposed to the music we hear normally, for example, at social houses, this is a different genre of music that is much more relaxing and at the same time intellectual," he said. "We're always working in such a structured environment and jazz is such an escape from that structure."
Irvin Mayfield and the orchestra will perform in Pickard Theater's Memorial Hall on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free to students, faculty and staff, and $25 for members of the public.