Jazzin’ it up at the Rozsa

HOUGHTON – The open theater setting of the Rozsa Center will be transformed into an intimate jazz club at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday as it hosts Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa.

A diverse trio of jazz bands will play each night, presenting fans of all types of jazz with something to enjoy.

“I’ve had people tell me it’s like a jazz buffet,” said Mike Irish, director of jazz studies at Michigan Technological University. “There’s really something for everyone and I like to give that wide variety.”

For these two shows, the Rozsa is adapted into a jazz lounge with cocktail tables and a cash bar, giving a great atmosphere for the performances, according to Irish.

“We make it as much like a jazz club as we possibly can,” he said. “It really is more intimate, as some of the tables are practically right next to the group.

“There’s also a give and take between the audience and the bands.”

Friday’s performance will include the Calumet High School Jazz Experience, Djangology and Momentum. The Calumet High School Jazz Experience, directed by Scott Veenstra, has become a perennial favorite at the cabaret and always draws a good crowd.

“We always get terrific attendance when they come down,” Irish said.

Djangology is the newest addition to the Tech jazz scene. Named after Django Reinhardt, this is the group’s first major concert.

“They’re a gypsy jazz group with a mostly acoustic sound,” Irish said. “They create a European jazz sound of the 1930s and ’40s.”

Momentum is a Tech mainstay and consists of non-music majors at Tech exhibiting their musical creativity and artistry. Momentum and Djangology will play both nights, and will be joined by JazTec, another Tech ensemble. Tickets have gone fast at events like these in the past, so Irish encourages people to get their tickets ahead of time.

Tickets are $12.75 for general admission, while Tech students are free. To purchase tickets, call 487-2073, go online at rozsa.mtu.edu or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex on 600 MacInnes Drive in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to showtimes.