New Spotify playlist features UConn Jazz faculty and alumni

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The Fine Arts complex, located on the south side of campus across from Downtown Storrs. A new playlist on Spotify features the work of UConn jazz faculty and alumni. Photo by Erin Knapp/The Daily Campus.

The University of Connecticut Jazz faculty Spotify playlist highlights some of their best pieces, Earl MacDonald, director of Jazz studies and professor of music, said.  

The playlist, which was created last week, is titled “UConn Jazz – Faculty & Alumni.”  It consists of 25 songs with a play time of two hours and 34 minutes.  

The four faculty on the playlist are Gregg August, string bass instructor and director of Jazz combos, John Mastroianni, assistant professor in residence of Jazz Studies and UConn Jazz ensemble director, Sean Nelson, Jazz trombone instructor, and MacDonald himself. The two alumni on the playlist are saxophonist Mark Small and pianist Gary Versace.  

MacDonald said he wanted to represent the wide variety of the Jazz faculty and alum work, such as small groups and big band projects. He also wanted to showcase some of their award-nominated and winning pieces.  

“It is a nice way to remind [the university community] that we are practicing recording artists, as well as being teachers of music,” MacDonald said.   

MacDonald said the playlist would work by either shuffling through the songs or listening to it in the set order. However, he did purposely design a particular order for the songs to be listened to. He said the pieces flowed in a satisfying manner.  

“I wanted to get a nice cross-selection playlist,” he said. “A nice flow from one piece to the next. I went through the albums and I picked things that popped to my ears and other songs that complimented and flowed with each other.”  

He said he pictured the playlist being played in someone’s office while they were working to give them a productive boost.  

“I was trying to imagine our listening listening to it in their office space,” MacDonald said. “What would give them nice background music and be stimulating at the same time?”  

MacDonald said members of the UConn community should listen to the playlist to connect with the Jazz faculty in a new way.  

“We are all huskies and we are in this together,” he said. “It’s cool to see what the arts faculty are up to and what they have created. Another thing, the music is first-rate. It’s prize winning with so many Grammy and Juno nominations so it speaks to the artistry. It’s just fun, good music.”  

He said he hopes people who may never listen to jazz will give the playlist a chance.  

“It’s also that jazz isn’t the most popular of all music genres currently,” he said. “It’s a way to sketch people’s imaginations and listen to something new.”  

The playlist can be found on Spotify by searching for “UConn Jazz – Faculty & Alumni” or by clicking on the link in recent Daily Digests.   

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