The George Mason University Jazz Ensemble performs Friday during the ninth annual Jazz for Justice event at the Center for the Arts. Photo by Joseph M. Tessmer

The Concert Hall lit up on Friday as the George Mason University Jazz Ensemble, accompanied by various special guests, took the stage for the ninth annual Jazz for Justice program.

The annual program, presented by the Mason Jazz Ensemble and the Fairfax Law Foundation, is a festive event whose proceeds go toward the Fairfax Law Foundation.

This year’s program, titled “We Be Jammin’,” included many special guest performers such as world-renowned keyboardist Bobby Floyd, jazz guitarist Rick Whitehead and a 10-year-old trumpet soloist.

The program title was inspired by the idea of a mostly improvised show. The Jazz Ensemble performed rhythm and melody for soloists, who improvised over various chords and key signatures.

The Jazz Ensemble, led by director Jim Carroll, performed two hours of energetic jazz charts ranging from standards like “Fever,” made famous by Peggy Lee in 1960, a couple original pieces composed by students and a mesmerizing rendition of “Amazing Grace” led by Bobby Floyd with Tracy Wright on vocals.

After introducing Floyd to the stage for his first feature, Carroll explained that his performance was enough to single-handedly define the term “swing” for anyone who was not familiar with it.

“Can you believe there are some people who haven’t discovered swing?” Carroll asked the crowd. Carroll’s witty remarks helped feed the cheerful vibe that filled the room throughout the evening.

One of the night’s favorites was a performance by a 10-year-old prodigy named Geoffrey Gallante. His trumpet solo left spectators in awe of his pure talent and garnered a generous applause.

Other solos included a baritone performance by Mason pep band director Michael Nickens, more commonly known as “Doc Nix,” and a riveting drum solo to close the show by Howard University alumnus Harold Summey.

Carroll said the Jazz Ensemble is very proud to collaborate with the Fairfax Law Foundation each year in efforts to support the Mason jazz program and the local community.

“The Fairfax Law Foundation provides a valuable contribution to the Fairfax community through its programs educating young people on the justice system and its pro bono work,” Carroll said.