Synthesis Celebrates Influential Jazz Classics in Nov. 20 Concert

The concert will feature music from some of the biggest names in post-WWII big band jazz, including Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and others

BYU’s premier big band Synthesis will take audiences through decades of influential jazz band classics in their Nov. 20 de Jong Concert Hall performance. 

Director Ray Smith sees these programmed tunes and their composers — from big band leaders like Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington to contemporary jazz band leaders like Maria Schneider and Bob Mintzer — as foundational in the education and development of the Synthesis student musicians.

“It’s a critical part of their background as a musician to know these tunes from some of the greatest bands of all time,” said Smith. “A lot of times we’re doing more modern things and we neglect some of these classics. This concert gives the Synthesis musicians a chance to get acquainted with tunes that most of them haven’t played before, and it also gives the audience exposure to this great music.”

Smith hopes to give audience members a taste of the uplifting energy and spontaneous creativity that have kept these classic songs relevant and beloved in the jazz world.   

“I think there’s a healing power in music like this,” said Smith. “We hope to bring renewal and uplift to people who are carrying burdens. I am confident that those who attend will leave feeling better about life; with every performance, we want to lift people in that way.”

Tickets and Show Details

Performance Dates and Times: Nov. 20 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: de Jong Concert Hall

Price: $6-11

Tickets: Available in person at the BYU HFAC or Marriott Center Ticket Office, by phone at (801) 422-2981 or online at