Musicians, Audience Can’t Escape Rhythm and Blues at 24th Annual “Jass” Festival

El Zagal Shrine started hosting the celebration as a going away party for a musician going into the army

FARGO, N.D. — The United States is a melting pot, and so is its music.

Jazz was created in the early 1900’s, taking its ingredients from European, African and Caribbean styles of music.

It’s the type of “groove” you could feel at Fargo’s “Jass” Festival, which celebrated one of America’s first art forms created in New Orleans.

Jazz not only gives an audience happy feet, it also gets musicians hooked during childhood.

“The guy on the Muppet’s who played the saxophone, he always had the last note like in the opening credits. I liked him and I thought it was cool so I thought ‘I’ll play the saxophone,'” said Brian Lydeen, 188th Army Jazz Band director.

“The moment I heard it as a kid, I loved it. You’ve got all the big band music, the vocalists, you’ve got Ella Fitzgerald, all of them. They just speak to you,” said Kate Naujokas, 188th Army Band Sergeant First Class and vocalist. 

Bonding everyone through some soul, Dixieland and even funk.

“Every culture from the beginning of time has had some method of communication and even if you can’t understand what somebody else is saying, when music comes out, you can see a group that may not have any other connection start to connect,” Naujokas said.

“There’s so much emotion and such a story line when it comes to music and to be able to create that music for other people, it’s really a neat thing,” said Christopher Hanson, Jass Festival director.

Whether you live in the birthplace of jazz or in a rural community, everyone can fall in love with a sound, whether you’ve been listening to jazz for years or it’s completely by chance.

“I started adding french horn as a sophomore. It was handed to me. We didn’t have anything in our band. I came from that small, rural community. And it was the instrument we didn’t have,” Naujokas said.

It may even become such a huge part of your life that you’re forever stuck with the rhythm and blues.

“My hobby and my everything is music, so sometimes it’s hard to get away from it,” Lydeen said. 

Jazz has done more than just inspire rock n’ roll music.

Street beats and marching bands have influenced a lot of hip–hop music too.

The Fargo Blues Festival will have more of these tunes on August 17 and 18 at Newman Outdoor Field.

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