When live music had to be put on hold in March 2020 due to COVID, one victim was the Bi-Co Jazz Band. They returned last year without wind instruments, but now are back with a full 15-person ensemble. Run by Eloise Kadlecek BMC ’22, who plays drums, and Ben Klamka ’22, a pianist and vocalist, this club is preparing quite the set list. This semester, the band is practicing the standards “Blue Bossa” and “Strasbourg St. Denis,” as well as Lake Street Dive’s rendition of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” in preparation for live performances in December.
“The club started because musicians in the Bi-Co wanted to perform and jam with others,” Kadlecek says. The jazz band started at least six years ago because students wanted to play jazz together, but realized that there were no existing ensembles run by the Music Department or by students. They then took the initiative to start their own.
The band accepts musicians of all playing levels; members include music majors as well as first-time vocalists. For instance, Kadlecek herself did not start playing jazz until she joined the Bi-Co Jazz Band, and now, four years later, she’s become one of the group’s leaders.
The band’s size is almost double the number of students they had in 2018, and they come together to play everything from standards to jazz covers of popular songs. In the past, they’ve played classics such as “Misty” and “Recordame,” as well as jazz adaptations of more current music, such as Amy Winehouse’s “Love is a Losing Game” and Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part.”
During weekly rehearsals, the group practices a mixture of prepared songs with vocalists and standards that everyone is invited to solo over. The musicians bond over their shared interest in jazz and learn about the music as well as their fellow band members. “We not only want to play great music, we also want to have a social element where every member feels welcome!” Kadlecek says.
The Bi-Co Jazz Band practices from 12-2 p.m. in Marshall Auditorium every Saturday. To join the club, you can simply show up to rehearsal or you can email either of the organizers (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) or follow the club on Instagram (@bicojazz) and Facebook.
“If [you] love jazz music and performing, [you] should definitely join!” said Kadlecek.