Mazzjazz brings High Point audiences smooth jams


On Oct. 8 in Hayworth Fine Arts, students and faculty will be treated to the musical stylings of Mazzjazz, a musical group lead by the Department of Music faculty member Mark Mazzatenta. The group consists of Mazzatenta on the electric guitar; Mazzatenta’s twin brother, Michael, on the piano; Wolfgang Planz on the electric bass; and, a special guest visiting from Seattle, Max Wood, on the drums.

Mazzatenta says that jazz music heavily influenced both he and his brother from the start. “Both my brother and I started taking music lessons when we were 10 years old,” Mazzatenta said. “We picked up knowledge of many musicians through those teachers, other friends that played an instrument, our school music classes, and a radio station in Detroit near where we grew up that played a broad mix of jazz styles. We listened to a lot of jazz records and played along to try to learn what they were doing that made them sound so great.”

The group came together like a puzzle, some pieces were there from the start, and others fell into place. “I’ve known Wolfgang for almost 20 years after he moved here from Germany,” Mazzatenta said. “We’ve played many gigs together through those years, and he played on some Mazzjazz concerts and recordings. I’ve known Max for at least that long, but this is the first time he is playing on a Mazzjazz concert.”

Students will be able to witness the power and passion of improvisational music paired with some famous tunes during Mazzjazz’s performance. Mazzatenta hopes this will spark a discussion about the role of music. “I hope the students will feel the passion we have for playing, the teamwork, and realize that instrumental music can tell a story just as colorfully as music with lyrics can,” Mazzatenta said.

So what kind of music does the group play? Mazzatenta says it’s not the kind of jazz you’re expecting. “Mazzjazz is obviously influenced by jazz, but the music is not traditional jazz,” Mazzatenta said. “We love jazz because of the improvisational aspect. All of the pieces on the concert have singable melodies that are written out, but also include areas of improvisation. In those areas our notes and rhythms change at every performance, which results in some magical and one-of-a-kind moments for us as well as the audience.”

You can catch these one-of-a-kind moments on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p. m. in the Pauline Theater in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center. Additionally, Mazzjazz will be hosting a drum workshop that is open to the public from 1 to 3 p. m. in room 116 of the Hayworth Fine Arts Center.

Campus Chronicle
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