DownBeat Magazinea music publication covering jazz and blues, named the University of Texas at Arlington Latin Combo as the nation’s top undergraduate Latin band at its 45th anniversary.e Annual Student Music Awards.
“The UTA Latin Combo really did an amazing job working on the music and preparing their performances,” said Christian Valdés, UTA Assistant Assistant Professor of Music and mentor to the group. “Learning Latin American jazz and music is not an easy challenge, but they really put their hearts into it, and their efforts paid off with this award.”
Drummer Jacob Farr said that when the band found out they had won, he felt “excited, proud and a bit shocked”.
“We had all put in maximum effort and to hear that our hard work had paid off was validation,” Farr said.
The Jazz Studies program has several jazz combos; Membership is open to all current UT Arlington students, regardless of major.
“It not only honors them, but all of us in the music program and UTA in general,” Valdés said. “I’m very proud of them and look forward to more awards to come.”
Besides Farr, the members of the UTA Latin Combo are Yue Liu and Dylan Brown on saxophone, Rafael Escalera on piano and David Spates Conley on bass.
The low beat The Student Music Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in the field of jazz education. Students were blindly judged by professional musicians and educators solely on their demonstrated abilities from their submitted recordings.
Prior to studying at UTA, Farr attended a jazz summer camp organized by the music department at UT Arlington.
“Seeing the amazing staff working with the students and loving what they were doing made me want to study at UTA,” Farr said. “Jazz in particular has an impact because it gives me a means of expression not found in other more restrictive styles of music.”