By Kendall Patterson
The University of Mississippi Jazz Combos are performing at Proud Larry’s Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. to bring jazz to the Oxford community.
The Jazz Combos are student-driven groups of about six or seven people who choose which pieces they will play.
“Each performance at Proud Larry’s is memorable,” said trombone player Quayshun Shumpert.
The venue on The Square isn’t the jazz musicians’ normal setting, but the club atmosphere gives them experiences that not only will help them grow but give them the chance to enjoy interacting with a different audience.
“It’s a good venue for live jazz,” said Michael Worthy, director of The Mississippians Jazz Ensemble. “People will come to Proud Larry’s that might not come to Nutt Auditorium to hear our concert, and once they get a taste of us there they may show up at the jazz ensemble concert. Promoting ourselves through Proud Larry’s gets the word out to a wider audience.”
Worthy attributes the series’ success to Proud Larry’s owner Scott Caradine, who is a big fan of jazz music.
“It’s music that inspires me,” Caradine said. “There’s a lot of jazz fans here in Oxford, but we, unfortunately, don’t get a lot of live jazz here.”
Caradine says he considers the free show a two-way street, where musicians have the opportunity to feed off the energy of the audience, and vice versa.
“We offer those guys a place to come and play and get on stage in front of a live audience, which helps them grow as musicians,” he said. “And it also gives the opportunity for our music fans in Oxford some great music to hear. Even though the audience is much smaller here [in comparison with Nutt Auditorium performances], it’s also probably more respectful and intimate.”
This will be the third year that the Jazz Combos have performed at Proud Larry’s.
“We’re lucky to live in a town that still has people and establishments that embrace jazz,” Shumpert said. “I am looking forward to the performance because it will be unique. I enjoy performing jazz because every performance will be different. In a classical setting, the piece or pieces you are performing are meant to be performed in a certain manner, jazz, however, … encourages individuality and personality.”