Courtesy of Yale Undergraduate Jazz Collective

This weekend, the sounds of modern jazz will fill three different venues across campus at the seventh annual Yale Jazz Festival, presented by the Yale Undergraduate Jazz Collective. The festival will take place from April 12–14 and will feature three professional jazz ensembles distinguished for their innovation within the genre.

Opening the festival is the Jane Ira Bloom Quartet, which will perform at the Loria Center at 8 p.m. on Friday. Bloom ’76 MUS ’77, a Grammy-winning saxophonist, will showcase what Pulse Magazine has described as “one of the most gorgeous tones” of any soprano saxophonist. As a pioneer of modern jazz over the past 40 years, she seeks to create experiences that extend beyond what is expected of the form.

“We’re playing music that draws from the jazz tradition but also pushes the boundaries of how improvisers use live electronics,” Bloom said.

Bloom added that she is “looking forward to the concert this Friday” and said that it is “great to be a part of such strong student interest in jazz at Yale.”

Undergraduate students in the Jazz Collective selected the artists to perform at the festival.

“This years’ lineup is particularly exciting because it pulls from several different genres within jazz,” said Sam Panner ’21, the Jazz Collective’s programming director. “We’re thrilled to welcome these artists to campus this coming weekend.”

On Saturday at 8 p.m., the festival will continue with a duo comprised of pianist David Virelles and percussionist Román Díaz. Both born in Cuba and currently based in New York City, Virelles and Díaz were exposed to diverse musical experiences growing up, which led to a series of collaborations beginning in 2010.

After growing up in Santiago de Cuba, Virelles received a classical conservatory education, discovering jazz music by listening to the recordings of numerous classic jazz artists. Díaz, who was raised in Havana, became involved in Harlem’s Afro-Cuban musical community and worked with several avant-garde jazz musicians. When they collaborate, Virelles and Díaz weave Cuban and Afro-Cuban influences together with modern jazz, creating a unique sound that they will showcase at the Morse College head of college house.

“The duo concert that they will put on should be a special event — the opportunity to witness two masters of their craft in such an intimate setting doesn’t come along very often,” Panner said.

To conclude the festival, Nate Smith and KINFOLK will perform on Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m. The ensemble will feature Smith on the drums joined by a group comprising a saxophonist, keyboardist, electric bassist and guitarist.

Smith’s most recent project KINFOLK creates original music out of simple musical ideas, combining rhythms and melodies from R&B, pop and hip-hop with the sounds of modern jazz.

“I wanted to focus on creating the material with very few ingredients; just improvising at the drums or piano or singing ideas into a voice recorder, focusing primarily on rhythm and melody,” Smith said of KINFOLK on his website.

Panner noted that Nate Smith and KINFOLK “fuse their jazz with modern rhythms and harmonies, and the intensity of Mr. Smith’s drumming drives everything along.”

Smith and KINFOLK will perform at the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Lecture Hall in the Yale University Art Gallery.

“We have three spectacular groups,” said Calvin Kaleel ’22, member of the Jazz Collective. “All of the music that will be played will inspire you, it will make you cry, it will make you beam — it will move you. At the end of the day, they’re going to make great music.”

The Jazz Collective will hold a reception at 4 p.m. following the final set performed at the Grace Hopper College head of college house.

David Hou |

Culture Reporter