BWW Feature: ULI GEISSENDOERFER PRESENTS THE JAZZ CLUB at Myron's Cabaret Jazz At The Smith Center For The Performing Arts
The uniquely American music genre of jazz will be celebrated during Uli Geissendoerfer Presents The Jazz Club. After performing for eight years at The Dispensary Lounge, the show will present a three-part series showcasing jazz in all of its rawness and sophistication at Myron's Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center on June 2.
Geissendoerfer will perform his originals as well as selections from his the vast jazz standard catalog. Special guests include award-winning jazz vocalists Toscha Comeaux and Gary Fowler and the quintet featuring Charles McNeal, Julian Tanaka, Angelo Stokes, and Steve Flora.
The ivory keys first called his name when Geissendoerfer was eight, playing classical music. Even though he grew up in Germany, Geissendoerfer heard American rock 'n' roll, boogie, blues, and R&B and became hooked with these new genres to express his soul. While he knew he always wanted to be a musician, Geissendoerfer realized at age 17 that the piano was his first love.
"When I first heard jazz, I heard music with an open feel combined with swing and blending harmonies. My approach to music is very orchestral when I play the piano," he explains. "I hear large entities with my music."
Geissendoerfer first immigrated to the US to study jazz where it was created. He also plays Latin music, and he had the opportunity to study music in Cuba.
"I feel you can't learn the music if you can't see the people, smell the air, eat the food, and dance their dances. Music comes from the people, not just the notes. It is a cultural expression of the soul. It is about the language since there is a jazz language."
He originally moved to Las Vegas to perform in the Cirque du Soleil show as a conductor and bandleader.
"When I first arrived in Las Vegas, if jazz was up on the marquee, no one would show up. It was a very small following, mostly old-timers. However, I saw an interest and performed a jazz show at The Dispensary."
He was approached to continue, but Geissendoerfer would only perform if it was opened as a real jazz club, offering music instead of entertainment. Over seven years later, The Dispensary remains the only jazz club in Las Vegas. Geissendoerfer plans to explain that experience and incorporate it in Myron's Cabaret Jazz room presenting jazz in its dichotomy of sophistication and rawness.
"I want to show was jazz is all about, the energy, the spontaneity, and its living components."
He also witnessed the emerging jazz musicians attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "There is a jazz scene developing, and that keeps me here. I realized something is growing, and I am in the center of it, teaching, performing, lecturing, and touring." Geissendoerfer also began a record label to promote jazz. As he states, "Jazz is an American art form and came about because this country is a melting pot. It is over 100 years old, and jazz has traveled all over the world. This music is freedom to encompass any language, any style, and is one of the most open forms of art. This is one of the most direct expressions of our soul."
Uli Geissendoerfer Presents The Jazz Club will be held at Myron's Cabaret Jazz at 3 p.m. on June 2. Also, save the dates, Sept. 5 and Dec. 5, for future shows. Click here for tickets.