Jazz Ambassadors bring music and a history lesson to TAMU-CC


Matthew Tamez/ISLAND WAVES The Jazz Ambassadors are known as “America’s Big Band,” and their sound is proof of that.

The Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band marched into the PAC as part of the Fergason Bravo! Series.

Held on Nov. 4, the concert was free to attend. Attendees only had to approach the box office and ask for tickets, claiming up to three per person. Seating was limited, so it was on a first come first serve basis. Nearly the entire first floor of the Performing Arts Center was packed with some attendees taking seats on the second floor.

The Jazz Ambassadors, known as America’s Big Band, were first recognized as a full-fledged components of the U.S. Army Field Band in 1969 and has performed all around the country and even in other nations.

The Jazz Ambassadors paid tribute to those who fought in and lived through the Second World War in a performance known as “The Greatest Generation.” During the performance, many songs evoked a feeling of emotion and patriotism. The Jazz Ambassadors is made up entirely of members of the U.S. armed forces. Songs such as “We’ll Meet Again” and “God Bless America” resonated throughout the room as the band played.

Between each song, a short video snippet played from the era of World War II. These videos allowed attendees to see a short video lesson on the United States’ involvement in World War II and the growing tensions as the war drew to a close.

The music was certainly a sound to behold. The Jazz Ambassadors are professionals at what they do, and the songs they played resonated through the PAC. Some of the songs featured vocals sung by Sergeant First Class Randy Wight. Multiple members of the large band were able to stand and take part in solos, including an extremely impressive drum solo that slowly lowered in volume until the band jumped right back in.

The concert began its wrap-up with a salute to all members of the different branches of the armed forces as the song for their branch was played by the band. Members both past and present were asked to stand if they could to be recognized for their service. At the end of the performance, the band asked members of the audience who were a part of The Greatest Generation to also stand if they could to be recognized.

It is very difficult to compare the Jazz Ambassadors to other jazz bands that exist considering the small differences in the style of music they play. Although the performance by the Jazz Ambassadors was delightful, one who has heard the Glenn Miller Orchestra can’t help but compare the two. Both of the bands, however, wonderfully captured the music the play while bringing their own unique sound to the stage. The songs played by the Glenn Miller Orchestra are unlikely to be played by the Jazz Ambassadors. In much the same manner, some songs played by the Jazz Ambassadors were not a part of the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s musical lineup during their previous performance.

If there were to be any complaints to the performance, it would actually be the use of potentially outdated footage and audio from the World War II depicting an America united without regard for race or creed. Considering the true stories of the Japanese-American internment during World War II, this can come off as ignoring the reality of the war.

Despite the concerns with outdated historical recordings, the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band performed beautifully. The Fergason Bravo! Series will continue with Michael Martin Murphy on Dec. 15, M5 Mexican Brass on Feb. 2, the Glenn Miller Orchestra on Feb. 20 and Sybarite5 on Feb. 22.