On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the UTM Small Jazz Band, led by professor Kurt Gorman, performed.
The concert circle consisted of Jeremy Jackson on alto saxophone, Patrick Hill on tenor saxophone, Jack Mergen on baritone saxophone, Trevor Belton and Michael Larkin on trumpet, Isaac Spitler on trombone, Gian Garma on piano, Nathaniel O’Neal on bass guitar, Shane Wofford on guitar, Stephen Downing on percussion and Hohner Porter on vibes and congas.
The group kicked off the night with John Coltrane’s “Impressions.” It was a very upbeat number that really set the mood for the room. Listening to it, I could imagine a jazz bar in the 1960s full of couples dancing merrily to the music and having the time of their lives. The music was very serene and blissful with a touch of excitement to really set the stage.
Milt Jackson’s piece entitled “Bag’s Groove” followed. This composition seemed a bit slower than Coltrane’s in the way that it sounded more like a ballroom dance rather than the freestyle setting that Coltrane’s piece seemed to portray. This piece ended strong and with class.
Next in the program was a piece called “Scrapple From the Apple” by Charlie Parker. This number sounded like it was more on the bebop side of jazz with a blissful vibe. The music seemed very soothing like a mother humming her baby to sleep with some background beatboxing from daddy in the peanut gallery.
“Pick Up The Pieces” by Roger Ball and Hamish Stuart was up next. This piece was very giddy with a two-step undertone. It really makes you want to tap your foot to the beat because it sounded like a joyful drum circle with wind instruments. The performers seemed very happy and enthusiastic throughout this selection.
The last number was just as enticing as the rest. “All Blues” by Miles Davis started with a melancholy solo that slid into a collaboration geared toward joy. The music was relaxing and sounded like something you would listen to after a long, hard day. Solos were taken all the way through this graceful piece of art. There was just something about the song that made me think of an obstacle-filled day trotting to a beautiful end. The very end of this song created a mental image of an eager soldier coming home to his wife with a warm, embracing happily ever after.
All in all, this jazz concert was blown out of the water by these amazing wind instrumentalists. Like one united front, this small jazz band knew how to fight for the audience’s attention. There was never a dull note to sway the audience to sleep. The selected compositions were amazingly played out. Although I prefer classical music, this jazz band sure knows how to soothe the soul.