Jazz Rep Lab offers setting for community to learn, perform music

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia musician Sutu Forté started the Jazz Repertory Lab in her boyfriend’s living room in 1997. The Jazz Rep Lab, as it is casually called, is a free master class for people who want to learn to perform jazz and improve their skills.

Forté said the group meets once a month because she hopes that the participants can take the critiques and practice the pieces in between sessions.

Jazz Rep Lab pianist Zane Omohundro joined the group in 2010 after meeting Forté. Omohundro compares Jazz Rep Lab to a music school master class, but said the environment is much friendlier.

“This is just my small way in a small community to say, ‘What can I do to help jazz and teach other people a few of the things I’ve figured out along the way?'” Omohundro said.

Jazz is an oral culture that passes on from player to player, Omohundro said. Instead of reading a book, people need to listen to and work with other players to learn how to play jazz.

The group meets at Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia on the first Thursday night of each month, and it is open to anybody wishing to participate.

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