Arts, Culture & Media

How the US Marine Corps Jazz Ensemble recruits with music

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US Marine Corps Jazz Ensemble performing at WGBH on March 10, 2014.

Credit:

Amanda Kowalski

From Semper Fi to Semper Hi Fi.

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US Marine Corps bands perform hundreds of public performances across the nation and overseas each year.

And in March, the Marine Corps Jazz Ensemble came together for a one-time tour to perform for audiences across the Northeast.

The sextet made a brief stop in Boston and played a couple of songs in the Fraser Performance Studio at WGBH.

"We put it together as a special ensemble for a tour in the New England area to do some recruiting tours," said trombonist and vocalist Staff Sgt. Ken Ebo. "We came together for two days and then hit the road."

The group performed jazz standards and original compositions.

"All instrumentalists, I believe, feel that their instrument is an extension of themselves and particularly in jazz when a big part of our music is improvisation," said Staff Sgt. Ebo. "And improvisation is not just making it up as you go along, it's the ability to be creative within and around a known set of boundaries for which you've prepared a great deal and that is right in line with the ethos of the Marine Corps."

The group is made up of Marines from across the country. Some have been deployed overseas, like Staff Sgt. Ebo who served in Iraq, and others have served stateside.

"A lot of Marines have prepared and we train for war but some are not deployed," said Staff Sgt. Ebo. "The Marines always like to say 'Nobody likes to fight but somebody has to know how,' and in music it's the same thing. We do a lot of preparation on our own so when we come together as a group, which is bigger than ourselves - again another correlation with the Marines - that we can make a viable statement, an extension of what we are to communicate with our audience."