Lee News

Small Jazz Ensembles to Perform Monday

Lee University School of Music will present Small Jazz Ensembles on Monday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dixon Center, under the direction of Dr. José Ruiz, James Ward, and Dr. Nathan Warner.

The evening’s performance will include an homage to iconic jazz, commercial, and Latin music figures such as John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Moré, Sting, Bobby Watson, and Stevie Wonder, among others. Original arrangements, adaptions, and compositions by students will also be performed for the first time.


Ruiz and Ward will direct the first ensemble’s performance, and Ward and Warner will direct the second ensemble’s performance. The pieces will include bass, drums, guitar, percussion, piano, saxophone, trumpet, and vocals.

Ruiz will join the performance on flute, Latin percussion, and voice. Ward will perform on piano.

“The objective is to cultivate students' creative identity, as well as their skills in improvisation, composing and arranging, and creative performance,” said Ruiz. “My pedagogical approach for guiding these students is through student-centered learning philosophy.”

Ruiz, assistant professor of music business, has been on Lee’s faculty since 2016. He is a TEDx Presenter, 49-time DownBeat Student Music Award recipient, and 2017 Parents’ Choice Awards winner.

Ward, commercial piano instructor, has toured the United States, Canada, and Europe as a recording artist and singer/songwriter. He has served as a guest lecturer with the Thomas F. Staley Foundation on college campuses including Calvin, Covenant, Eastern, Geneva, Gordon, and Malone.

Warner, assistant professor of music, has been on Lee’s faculty since 2014. He performs regularly as a classical, orchestral, commercial, big band, and jazz artist in New York City. In pursuit of his passion for inner-city education, Warner has worked with the Midori and Friends Foundation and the New York Pops Orchestra Outreach Program.

The event is free, non-ticketed, and open to the public.

For more information about the concert and other School of Music events, contact (423) 614-8240.
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