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March 2001

Release Date: March 7, 2001

ASU Jazz Percussion Group to Perform, Study in Mexico March 12-17

The ASU Jazz Percussion Group will travel to Chihuahua, Mexico, during Spring Break to perform and to study the music of Mexico as part of a cultural exchange between students of ASU and of Monterrey Tech (Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey) at the institution's Chihuahua campus.

During the March 12-17 tour, the Jazz Percussion Group will perform two concerts for the students and citizens of Chihuahua. The group is directed by Dr. Douglas Overmier, ASU assistant professor of music. Dr. John Irish, an ASU assistant professor of music who teaches trumpet and directs the ASU Jazz Ensemble, will travel and perform with the group.

The trip is being funded by a grant from the ASU Research Enhancement Program. In addition to their performances, the members of the Jazz Percussion Group will research the music of Mexico as part of the cultural exchange between the students of the two countries.

Their research will also support an upcoming ASU course on world music. Group members will conduct interviews with many of the professional musicians in the Chihuahua region or those associated with Monterrey Tech. The ASU participants will also attend performances of local musicians to better understand the ethnomusicological offerings of the region. Another goal of the trip is to ultimately establish an artistic exchange between ASU and the Chihuahua campus.

The Jazz Percussion Group is one of only six such ensembles in the country. Along with the standard rhythm section of bass and drum set, group members also play the vibraphone, marimba and various other percussion instruments. Their repertoire covers many styles of jazz music and is specially arranged for the group, much of it by Overmier.

Overmier has written new special musical arrangements of popular Latin tunes which will feature a collaboration between the ASU Jazz Percussion Group and musicians from the Chihuahua area. In addition to performing, the ASU students will have the opportunity to visit museums, the Cathedral, and other sights of historical and cultural interest.

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