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Two CSULB Jazz Ensembles Take Top Honors at Prestigious "Next Generation Festival"

Both the Concert Jazz Orchestra and Pacific Standard Time Earn Performance Slots at the Legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2009

LONG BEACH, CA  – The Concert Jazz Orchestra at California State University, Long Beach and the vocal jazz ensemble Pacific Standard Time (PST) have each captured a first-place win at the 5th annual "Next Generation Festival" which is hosted by the Monterey Jazz Festival to showcase the best emerging talent in jazz.

As a result of the prestigious awards, both groups will perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September, an event and organization that has led the world in jazz education since 1958. As the top ensembles this year, both groups received a trophy and a check for $1,000.

"I believe the Concert Jazz Orchestra performed with the poise and confidence that comes with hard work, attention to detail and teamwork. I couldn't be more proud of their accomplishment," said CSULB Director of Jazz Studies Jeff Jarvis. "We are understandably thrilled about the invitation to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival. When the orchestra took top honors in 2007, it was exciting to watch the jazz education community take notice of our program. But to have CSULB ensembles win both college division categories—that bolsters our continuing effort to make Cal State Long Beach a destination for serious jazz students."

Among the other colleges and universities invited to compete after the initial application and screening process were USC (second place), Sacramento State University (third place), Azusa Pacific, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the University of the Pacific.

The Next Generation Festival attracts performers from some of the most prestigious educational programs in the country, and represents the largest gathering of young jazz talent in the region. This was the first year a vocal jazz competition was held at the college level, enabling PST to compete. Under the direction of Professor Christine Guter, PST emerged victorious from a tough field of quality jazz ensembles from Mount San Antonio College (the second-place winner), Mt. Hood Community College (third place), Sacramento State, Cuesta College and DeAnza College.

PST has a very active schedule and performs at jazz festivals, educational conferences and many other public and private events. According to Guter, the quality of PST's performances attracts the attention of professional jazz educators, students and enthusiasts of all ages. The program has drawn students from all over the country to receive their education at CSULB.

"PST has incredible blend, balance, intonation, vocal technique, style, and rhythm. But the things that really made our group stand out above the rest was our level of improvising, overall musicality, stage presence and delivery," Guter said. "These students truly operate at a professional level. They sing with complete commitment, confidence, joy and gratitude. There's a level of maturity and freedom in what they do that is unparalleled."

Both of these outstanding ensembles will soon present the final concerts of their 2008-2009 seasons. On Friday, April 24 at 8pm, in the CSULB Link Theatre (formerly the University Theatre), the Concert Jazz Orchestra performs a program that includes tunes by Pete McGuinness, Thelonius Monk, Bill Fulton, Bob Mintzer, and Jeff Jarvis. During the concert, Jarvis will join KKJZ host and local jazz expert Helen Borgers in presenting the 2nd Annual K-JAZZ Educator of the Year Award to Dan Taguchi, the jazz studies director at Hamilton High School (Arts Magnet HS). Tickets for the evening are on sale now and are priced at $10 for general admission and $7 for students, seniors and those with CSULB ID.

The CSULB Vocal Jazz Concert on Friday, May 1 at 8pm, will feature both Pacific Standard Time and its sister ensemble, Jazz and Tonic. The performance, scheduled for the Daniel Recital Hall located in the heart of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Complex, will feature a variety of jazz standards, as well as some contemporary tunes crafted into unique arrangements. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for students, seniors and those with CSULB ID.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (562) 985-7000 or visit www.csulb.edu/coleconservatory.