ST. CLOUD -- Students at St. Cloud State University were treated to a nationally renowned musician Tuesday night.  The event was showcasing what's called experimental jazz.

Drummer J. T. Bates has created a new scene for experimental jazz music, and he came to share this unique style of playing. Bates says his playing can help you see music a little differently.

"I think it can help people see things differently than they normally do. Maybe turn some of their regular thought processes around, look at things in a different way. To me, improvisation is about that."

Bates says you don’t have to always understand the music to enjoy it.

"Follow your ears, if you like something that's all that counts. It doesn't matter if you understand it or not. I believe you don't necessarily have to know how something is working to appreciate it or be into it."

He also says it’s important to have these events so you can be exposed to different music.

Bates says improvising in jazz helps him break free of his comfort zone. Bates has been drumming for 35 years and has played with the experimental jazz groups Fat Kid Wednesdays and others.

Bates performed Tuesday night with Bassist Anthony Cox and Saxophonist Tony Malaby from the Twin Cities.

WJON Intern Jacob Lundy wrote this story.