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Concert Report: Jazz Concert at FHSU

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For the Jazz/World concert, I went to the one here at FHSU on November 21st. It was an easy choice, since I live near campus and my roommate actually plays in the Jazz band. The wardrobe choice is much different than the typical formal wear for a classical concert. Before the concert, the Graduate Jazz Quartet was playing some quiet, slow jazz as a precursor to the performance as people filtered in. I was able to get a good seat, and it was fun to just start “vibing” with them and getting into it. I have never really listened to Jazz before. It was nice to relax, and it was eventually time for the main performance to begin. There is a lot I want to talk about so the format maybe a bit different.

Jazz II was up first. “Noteworthy” by Mike Barone was up first, and it’s pretty much your traditional jazz tune, that relies heavily on the saxophone. Everyone played so well on this piece, everyone in the audience was having a good time. Soloists did a nice job and got good receptions. The balance was nice and the 3rd and 4th trombones were starting to play out a little more, it was unexpected, but such is the life of jazz. The next piece was “La Ultima Samba” by Mike Barone. This was more of a Latin jazz piece, which I’ve heard before. I really enjoyed the horns in the introduction. It seemed like a faster-paced piece than the first one, but still tons of fun. Was not my favorite piece of the night. It seemed rather bland to me for jazz. However, the band played well.

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The third piece was a slow, soothing piece with a prominent tenor saxophone portion of the composition. It was “Dream Catcher” by Sammy Nestico, and the band played very well. The phrases could have gone better by the brass portion, but my roommate said he did not have the air capacity at the time, so that’s something that they need to work on maybe. Overall, it sounded great, the trumpets could’ve probably had better tone quality, but I cannot really play any instrument so what do I know?

The last piece was “Blue Basket” by Matt Harris, which was easily probably the worst performed composition of the night. It was super-fast and had a little bit of a “funk beat” to it, which was probably incredibly hard for the band, but only the horn section seemed to have trouble with it. Everyone else seemed to do a good job and we were able to get through it with no problem. From what I heard there was an amateur player they recruited on short time, which may have thrown the trombones off.

We move on the Jazz Ensemble I, and let me tell you: they blew my socks off. They were just outstanding in almost every aspect. They had great sound, great volume, each player played at a high standard. I couldn’t believe how much better they were. No disrespect to Jazz II, they did well, but we have such an outstanding Jazz I group. They nailed the fast pieces, the slow pieces, the solos, everything was down. If I knew more about jazz, I’d probably have more criticism, but that just wouldn’t be fair to them anyways. The last piece contained a drum solo that last a good five to ten minutes, and August did an outstanding job on that as well.

Overall, I love jazz. It’s a ton of fun to listen to, of all styles, and it’s hard to get tired of it. The concert was just great to be at and be a part of and I hope to continue to listen to different types of jazz. My favorite most definitely was the Jazz I ensemble. They played at a professional level, and it was fun to hear them play.

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