CU Jazz Festival

Photo by Fern Cepeda

Story by Fern Cepeda
Video by Colton Rowe

Music filled Cameron University’s Theatre on Friday, March 2, with a Jazz Festival.

The CU Jazz Festival featured Allen Vizzutti, world-class jazz trumpeter, and the David Anderson Jazz Trio. The festival also included the Iowa Park High School Jazz Ensemble with Mr. Ed Hefti, Director.

Dr. James Lambert, Department of Music Chair, gave a brief introduction to David Anderson, piano, Matthew Stringfellow, bass and Quinton Williams, drums. Once the trio took the stage, Dr. Lambert gave Vizzutti an unusual introduction.

“Now, in your program you have the academic biography of Mr. Vizzutti, but I’m going to give you his favorite biography,” Dr. Lambert said. “Allen Vizzutti has never been in prison and has never jumped out of a flying airplane. He has gone swimming with sharks in the south sea, which prepared him for later life in Hollywood. Mr. Vizzutti is a Yamaha artist. Please welcome Mr. Vizzutti.”


Vizzutti was greeted with uproarious laughter and applause. Vizzutti’s unusual biography made the audience want to get to know more about him. Vizzutti said a quick hello and started playing the trumpet.

Vizzutti interacted with the audience and liked to tell jokes after each number. When a child started to cry, he immediately played a lullaby song with his trumpet with the piano on accompaniment. The audience laughed and clapped for the impromptu song. The parents of the child also laughed, but wanted to leave so they wouldn’t distract the rest of the concert; however, Vizzutti reassured them it was okay for the child to stay.

“You can stay, it doesn’t bother me a bit,” he said. “I love having kids here.”

Vizzutti played a song of his own composition. He has made a few CD’s in the Jazz infusion genre, as he said he enjoys mixing the jazz and Latin style with contemporary music.

“I wrote this a long time ago when I had a fusion band in Los Angeles, and this song has been recorded a couple of times,” he said. “It’s got a really unusual trumpet part, and it’s not something that I expect other trumpet players would play.”

Before the first half of the concert was finished, Dr. Lambert came out and gave each one of the performers a Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of Music. They then played one more song, and the music enraptured everyone. The performers swayed their heads to the beat, and even Vizzutti would dance when he wasn’t playing the trumpet. Once he was finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation, and then the Iowa Park High School Jazz Ensemble took over the stage.

The Jazz Ensemble performed four songs for the audience and also had Vizzutti performing with them. Saxophones, trombone and trumpets carried each of the songs, which were all upbeat and lively. After the performance, people would clap and even whistle, but before they were finished, Dr. Lambert gave the school their own Certificates of Appreciation.

The audience once again gave a standing ovation, and even screamed for an encore, and Hefti obliged, performing one more song for the audience.

These two talents brought to Cameron were exceptional, and their songs didn’t need lyrics to capture the audience’s ear. It was the instruments and the rhythm, along with Vizzutti’s sense of humor, that made for a night of entertainment.

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