Bring on the Jazz

By Adriene Moore |Staff writer|

Dim the lights, sip your coffee and snap your fingers as the jazz ensemble of CSUSB gears up to host award-winning jazz quartet Poem at its first ever Jazz Fest on May 21, 2011.

In addition to Poem, the jazz ensemble for Riverside Community College will be opening the show and then the CSUSB jazz ensemble will follow their performance, ultimately leading to the festival’s headliners.

Poem is made up of Bob Mintzer on saxophone, Alan Pasqua on keyboard, Darek Oles onbass and Peter Erskine on drums.

Each member of Poem is extremely talented, but it is Erskine that will be presenting a special treat for the students.

The legendary jazz drummer will be offering a free drum clinic before the show at 4 p.m. for anyone interested. This presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for musicians on campus.

Erskine has been playing the drums since the age of four and has won numerous Grammys, so this is a chance no drummer or percussion musician should pass up.

“I’m looking forward to what he has to show us,” said jazz ensemble drummer Mike Rico, “I’m probably more excited to meet him. And to watch him play of course.”

The clinic will be held at the Performing Arts building in room 127.

Dr. Robert Knop, director of the jazz ensemble at CSUSB, has only wonderful things to say about his group.

“We always place in the top ten for four-year colleges from all the Cal States,” said Knop when discussing placement the CSUSB jazz ensemble has received in the past.

The jazz ensemble participates in the Reno Jazz Festival in Reno, Nevada, which is a music festival open to groups from middle school to college. Other Cal States like CSU Sacramento and

CSU Northridge also attend the festival.
This may be the first jazz festival for CSUSB, but hopefully it won’t be the last.

“I hope to continue to do this every year,” said Knop. “I hope this will showcase the community of Riverside and San Bernardino.”

“I want to make Cal State a destination for people to come to,” added Knop.

CSUSB’s jazz ensemble features a diverse group of 20 musicians with ages ranging from 18 to 50.

“I once had a 54-year-old drummer,” said Knop.

You can find them rehearsing Tuesdays and Thursdays from four to six in the Performing Arts building.

The tickets for the festival are $10 for students and VIP tickets will be $25. All VIP ticket holders will get a front row seat to the concert.

The festival will be held in the theatre of the Performing Arts building if 250 or less tickets are sold, but will be moved to the Coussoulis Arena if more than 250 are sold.

One of the pieces the CSUSB jazz ensemble will perform is “The First Circle.” Hopefully this will be the first circle of many for the jazz ensemble, and they make this an annual must-see.

To pre-purchase tickets, go the music website at If there are any questions, call (909) 537-7516.



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