The live and compelling sounds of jazz greeted a visitor to the Olin Arts Center on a Tuesday evening. It was the Bates Jazz Band in rehearsal for a Thursday night performance.

Matt Marcus ’18 of Newton, Mass., who has been playing piano since age 4, says playing jazz lets a musician tell a story more than other forms of music, because “a lot of it you’re improvising, and it’s whatever you’re feeling or trying to express in the moment.”

“What I really enjoy is finding that the kids get charged about improvising, about moving a little bit beyond their comfort zone,” says Larry Williams, director of the Jazz Band. “We can prepare to play technically correct, but to play musically correct and to respond to what the music is calling for, you can’t really practice that — you have to perform that.

“That’s the excitement Thursday is going to produce.”

Alto saxophonist Olivia Fried ’19 of Solon, Ohio, played saxophone when she was younger and then quit in high school. She always regretted putting her instrument down, says this politics and Spanish major.  “When I came to college I wanted to try it again and see where I could take it a second time around.”