Lawrence jazz students honored with DownBeat awards

Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble
Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble (Photo courtesy Lawrence University)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- Two jazz groups from Lawrence University are being honored by DownBeat magazine.

The university says the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and the student quintet Jake Victor 5TET are among the winners in the magazine's 41st annual Student Music Awards competition.

The 19-member LUJE is the undergraduate college winner in the SMA's large jazz ensemble category. The award was based on recordings of three numbers: an arrangement by ensemble founder Fred Sturm of Marcus Miller’s “Splatch,” “Wyrgly” by Maria Schneider and “Egberto” by Florian Ross.

“It is such a great honor,” director Patty Darling said in a news release. “It’s wonderful to have Lawrence recognized nationally as having a strong jazz program. I knew our performances were very strong, but I also know how the DownBeat awards are very competitive. As a large ensemble, it’s difficult to try to guess what music would be considered really dynamic.”

The LUJE was previously recognized by DownBeat in 1985, 2000 and 2007.

Founded by LU seniors Jake Victor and Jack Kilkelly-Schmidt, the Jake Victor 5TET won the undergraduate college SMA for small jazz combo/student-led ensemble for the album "Twisted Heads."

In a statement issued by the university, Victor recalled receiving word of the award.

“I opened it, started reading and got crazy excited. I saw ‘We have the results for the DownBeat Awards and we have good news! I immediately went back, FaceTimed the quintet and said ‘Guys, we won the DownBeat!’ It was pretty surreal.”

The full list of awards appears in DownBeat's June edition, which hit newsstands Tuesday.