Jazz talks, jazz swings and jazz chops were the main event with the three-ensemble show entitled ‘Jazz’ that performed for a sold-out concert on the night of Oct. 18 at the Music Recital Hall.
Polytonix (vocal jazz), the Jazz Combo and the Jazz Band were directed by Kendra Vuk, Jeff Miley and Dave Kopplin respectively.
Fourth-year biology major Matt Martino was one of the performers of the show with Jazz Combo providing the saxophone.
“We played our set the best we’ve ever played it and that includes in rehearsal and I thought that the Jazz Band was excellent as well,” Martino said. “We were preparing a while for this basically since the beginning of the semester; we brought it together pretty well.”
The first performance of the night, Polytonix, performed a series of covers of well-known pop songs including jazz standard songs as the a cappella group.
Arrangements included the common a cappella formula of the singers supporting certain ranges of sounds to harmonize and direct the performance alongside a pianist, bassist and drummer.
The Jazz Combo consisted of a compact equivalent of the jazz band group, yet still as skillful and just as jazzy.
Their performance included the group having their own set of solos that wowed the audience after the end of each piece.
This included the spotlighting of the members of the jazz combo other than the front and center instrumentalists.
The Jazz Band was the final act of the show which performed the second half after the intermission and the headlined ensemble as their group featured the largest set list of the night.
Audience member Sonia Rodriguez attended and watched the show specifically for the Jazz Ensemble, which featured her son Eric Rodriguez, a first-year music major student, one of the trumpeters.
“I really love the solos, the kids did a great job; I wished the auditorium was a little bigger but apart from that it was very entertaining and I can’t wait to go back for the next concert,” Rodriguez said.
The Jazz Band featured guest musician Tina Raymond, a music professor at Los Angeles City College, as the virtuoso drummer for half of their set list.
“I was a judicator at the Reno Jazz Festival where he [Kopplin] took his band and they were stuck with me getting a critique and got a lot of work done and he reached to me this summer and asked if I would come by; the band felt the energy and rose to the challenge. We had a good time,” said Raymond, who performed one rehearsal and sound check with the band.
The big band featured a broad set of instruments and sections but with songs that showcased the grandiose and pizzazz of jazz music.
Music composition major student Jack Keough assisted with one of their songs as a guitarist for Channel One Suite, one of the elaborate jazz sets featuring a series of solos from the horns, percussion and the guest musician Raymond.
“I wasn’t necessarily in the band; Kopplin asked me if I could play on this song it was probably like a month ago,” said Keough, a fifth-year transfer student.
Alongside Vuk and Miley, Kopplin hosted their own ensemble set to the audience – which featured his original song ‘A Riff, er, Runs Through It,’ a mellow jazz piece that cycles through that atmosphere – to inform and entertain them.
“It was fun and the band sounded much better than I ever expected and it’s because of [Raymond]; it took of us eight weeks of pretty hard work, twice a week for 1 hour and 45 minutes each rehearsal; I thought [the musicians] did a really good job in particular Isaac the singer did a solo with the Polytonix and Jeffrey the piano player really did some nice things with the Combo,” Kopplin said.
For more information on upcoming events from the Department of Music visit its university website and the second show of the Jazz Combo, Jazz Band, and the Polytonix Vocal Jazz will be held Nov. 29.
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