Audiences’ and musicians’ heads bobbed as their feet tapped and hands clapped to the rhythm of the Studio Jazz Band and Concert Jazz Orchestra Sunday in the Gerald R. Daniel Recital Hall.
Both award-winning ensembles performed their second and final concert of the semester with a program that featured contemporary and big-band styles of jazz.
Audience members responded with whoops of affirmation, as the Studio Jazz Band showed off its versatility and solo skills first. Second-year jazz studies graduate student Rachel Kim’s fingers flew over the keys of her piano in an effortless frenzy during “The Days of Wine and Roses.” The tune was arranged by Rich Shanklin, who adopted it from Henry Mancini’s score of a movie with the same title.
Kim said “The Days of Wine and Roses” was her favorite tune of the night, adding that she also enjoyed the movie.
First-year jazz studies major, Howard Hardaway played a soulful solo on the resonant baritone saxophone to Maria Schnieders’ “Coot Stew.”
“I was really nervous because it was my only solo and it was at the very end,” Hardaway said. “I closed my eyes for half of it maybe and all the worries just kind of went away.”
After a brief intermission where family and friends met and congratulated the jazz band players, the Concert Jazz Orchestra, the more advanced of the two groups, took the stage. Some younger audience members swayed and danced in the aisles to tunes such as the Bob Florence arrangement “Sugar.”
Jim Hoover came from Huntington Beach with his family to support lead trombonist Chris Innes, who played on “Sugar.”
“‘Sugar’ had a combination that rocked. Everything just meshed together well,” Hoover said.
Other performances included the somber “What’s New,” arranged by Dirk Fisher, which featured fourth-year jazz studies major Cade Gotthardt on the flugelhorn. The flugelhorn, much like a subdued trumpet, had the perfect warm timbre to accompany a ballad.
“If I had to pick a favorite, I would say I love the way Cade played that ballad, ‘What’s New,’” said Jeff Jarvis, director of jazz studies. “I thought he did a beautiful job with that.”
Also performing a solo on an arrangement of the Miles Davis classic “So What,” Gotthardt leaned back so the bell of his flugelhorn gleamed against the stage lights and into the crowd, forcing a rich, dark sound from the instrument.
“So What” gave the modal jazz classic a big band arrangement, expanding on the familiar two note motif of the Davis classic while keeping a calm, stagnant feel.
The orchestra also presented an original by Jarvis, titled “Enrico’s Bossa.” The tune transformed the saxophone section into a row flutes that complimented the dreamy bossa nova. In the background, the brass alluded to some Henry Mancini classics, such as “Dreamsville” and “The Days of Wine and Roses.” Mancini, whose original name was Enrico, is an inspiration to Jarvis.
“I’ve always loved his music,” Jarvis said. “I’ve always loved the fact that he loved his own instrument, the flute. A lot of the movies he wrote music for … had a lot of flute and alto flute in it, so I wanted to write music that sounded like something he would’ve written.”
Both ensembles will begin performing again, on and off-campus, next semester.
“The honor is all mine to get to work with them” Jarvis said. “We work hard. I work hard. But if I did all by myself it wouldn’t mean a thing … we’re like a team.”