GO Jazz Big Band to perform Broadway hits

Broadway is coming to Santa Clarita.

On Sunday, Nov. 24, the Santa Clarita-based GO Jazz Big Band is scheduled to perform a night of jazz and Broadway hits at West Ranch High School.

Band Director Brian Leff said the band chose a Broadway theme because many of the more famous show tunes have endured in American music to become “jazz standards,” and the band wanted to pay tribute to those great songs.

“There are a lot of songs that the audience will know and love, and we have some arrangements that may be different from the way that the audience is used to hearing them,” Leff said. “The unique aspect about jazz is the spontaneity, improvisation and the collaborative effort that is absent in a lot of other musical styles that people are listening to today. A lot of what we do isn’t perfectly planned out and when someone takes a solo there’s a lot of freedom to express oneself because it’s created right there on the spot.”

Jazz music in general has struggled to remain popular with the general public since its heyday in the 1940s, according to Leff, but those who play the style are a passionate, tight-knit group who do it for the sake of the music. While many jazz musicians have trouble staying relevant, the GO Jazz Big Band is still able to find an audience, he said. 

“The theater at West Ranch High School that we play in seats 500 people and we play to sold-out crowds, and we play so many styles that it doesn’t matter if you call it jazz or contemporary, people still want to come out and see good live music,” Leff said. “We’re the best jazz band in Santa Clarita and we help fill the void of live music out here.”

The band will perform songs like “Anything Goes,” “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “Summertime.”

“This is an inexpensive way to have fun at a music event,” Leff said. “A lot of the songs that we will play are entertaining and can be educational in that they go back decades and the exposure to things you won’t really hear on the radio anymore can even teach people about the styles that are popular today.”
The “GO Jazz Big Band: On Broadway” show is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at the West Ranch High School Theater. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors and free for students.

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