Brooke Thames, A&E Writer
Northern Pacific Coffee Company was packed full on the night of Feb. 7. The Pacific Lutheran University community came together at the coffee shop to shell out support for The 322 Jazz Collective, a PLU-based band that is bringing jazz back one note at a time.
Comprised of five talented musicians, The 322 Jazz Collective formed over January Term with the goal of sharing their love of music and having fun doing it. Members of the group include junior BrandonLee Cierly, saxophone; sophomore Elliot Turner, guitar; first-year Marc Harper, bass; sophomore Thomas Horn, drums; and senior Tyler Peterson, piano.
Playing in PLU’s University Jazz Ensemble caused these instrumentalists to form a common bond over jazz music.
“We found that there were a lot of similar interests in the types of music we like to play in our free time,” Peterson said.
Through experimental sessions, the friends discovered that they gelled well together as musicians, but Turner said that it was one member that prompted the official branding of the group.
“[Harper] was the catalyst for it,” Turner said. “[He] got us all together and was like, ‘Hey, we should play a few gigs around the area.’”
The gathering at NPCC was The 322 Jazz Collective’s debut performance, and the start of what Turner describes as an experiment in fun and creativity.
“We’re trying to be a lot more creative and new in what we’re playing as opposed to just playing a lot of old standards,” Turner said. “We just want to try and give our own spin on things and play our music.”
Not only does the band play classic jazz pieces and covers of songs, but also a number of original works. Songs composed by members Harper and Peterson were featured during the jazz night.
When asked why jazz is meaningful to him, Harper said, “jazz is one of the only ways I am really able to express a lot of what I’m unable to say using words alone.”
The 322 Jazz Collective’s appearance at NPCC is only the first of many prospective shows the group will be putting on for the PLU community and the wider Tacoma/Seattle area.
“We love to play,” Harper said. “So, if you…want a jazz-flavored group to play for you, get in touch.”
More information about the 322 Jazz Collective can be found on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/the322jazzcollective. ◼︎