Madeline Reddel

Headed by incoming University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior Madeline Reddel, the Madeline Reddel Quintet will headline the second virtual Jazz in June concert.

The Madeline Reddel Quintet, composed of singer Reddel, University of Nebraska Omaha students saxophonist Skye Junginger, keyboardist Sam McDermott and bassist Henry Tomsu and UNL student drummer Andrew Wray will perform June 16 at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live and YouTube.

Reddel is a part of UNL Jazz Singers, University Singers and indie-pop and jazz influenced group Past Casual. She has assembled multiple jazz bands throughout her time at UNL to play gigs at The Jewell, The Storm Cellar, the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts and other venues in Lincoln and Omaha.

Reddel learned how to play jazz music in high school through the BluesEd nonprofit, where students are paired together to expand their blues repertoire alongside receiving an education in solos and improvisation. Reddel elaborated on how the improvisatory nature of jazz has greatly influenced the quintet.

“There’s not always a set group of people that you play with. Jazz uses a lot of standards that everyone’s supposed to know, so everyone can come together and play as a team whether or not they have practiced together beforehand,” Reddel said.

While studying music education at the Glenn Korff School of Music, Reddel had the opportunity to learn from David von Kampen, the director of UNL Jazz Singers and a lecturer of music theory and jazz studies. Reddel listed von Kampen as one of her inspirations in music education for his ability to teach jazz in creative ways.

“[von Kampen] is just so smart and logical with how he teaches jazz to singers,” Reddel said. “Even though he uses his piano as a tool to teach us, he also teaches us harmonies, form and how to improvise, which you don’t receive a lot of times in normal choir settings. It's a great way that I have built my musicianship and it has been eye opening for me as a solo artist.”

Under von Kampen, Reddel described how the Jazz Singers practiced interval training, ear training and being able to recognize chords and sing them outloud without the accompaniment of a piano. After COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to UNL’s second semester, Reddel has continued to hone these skills while incorporating her own practice techniques of mimicking and improvisation.

“I already have my own voice and my own style of singing,” Reddel said. “The next step after that is how I can use my voice that I have to sound like an instrument and to do things that might be a little scary and risky. The risks are not mimicking anymore and doing your own thing and making the song your own.”

Reddel has been a familiar face at Jazz in June since interning at the festival her freshman year. After aiding with outreach and helping film video for the likes of Snarky Puppy, Jazzmeia Horn and Mwenso & the Shakes, Reddel met and talked with the groups about their music and real world experiences. 

“It was a really great experience as an educator and as a jazz singer,” Reddel said. “As an educator because I’m seeing how an event like [Jazz in June] is affecting the education of other kids, especially in community centers. As a jazz singer, it was a great experience because I’m seeing so many different new artists perform. It’s pretty much a win-win,” Reddel said.

Since this year’s Jazz in June is the first ever virtual event put on by the nonprofit music festival, Reddel said she hopes having access to a free show will make jazz more accessible.

“I have seen so many ways that these educational programs like Jazz in June have affected people. It helps many people from so many areas for entertainment, education and just bringing the community together. It’s sad that we can’t be together in person, but I think it’s really special this year that Jazz in June is showcasing Nebraska artists, so we can have pride in our state and so people can feel like they can support the live music scene in Nebraska.”