Northern Collective

Northern Collective: Arman Sangalang, Austin Menk, Kirby Fellis, Noah Brooks, Morgan Turner

Five students from the NIU School of Music have been selected as one of just four combo/small ensemble groups from around the nation to participate in this year’s Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy in Aspen, Colorado.

The NIU combo is named Northern Collective and is made up of Arman Sangalang (saxophone), Kirby Fellis (trombone), Austyn Menk (piano), Morgan Turner (bass) and Noah Brooks (drums).

Throughout their time as students at NIU, they have joined together through their mutual love for long-standing groups like the early Miles Davis Quintet and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. This understanding alongside influences by contemporary musicians like Mulgrew Miller, Roy Hargrove, and Kenny Garrett have shaped the Northern Collective’s sound.

The group aims to make music that honors the past while also hinting at the future. Collectively, they have worked with artists like NIU Professor of Music and Head of Jazz Studies Reggie Thomas, NIU Associate Professor Jazz Guitar and Jazz Studies Bobby Broom, Rodney Whitaker, and Jeff Hamilton among others. Members of the group have also received various accolades for Essentially Ellington, the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago and have performed at venues like Fulton Street Collective, Merriman’s Playhouse, the Jazz Kitchen, Fitzgerald’s, and Elastic Arts.