JAZZ COMBOS CONCERT 3
OnFriday, the Griffins Concert Hall was an intimate place of jazz forme. Although it was packed to the man, I felt as if I was alone inthere. I may not have many words to describe the way I really felt,but I have a few words to tell what I saw. Let me start with thetitle that set the tempo on campus: the ultimate jig. I had no ideawhy they decided to call it so, but I got the idea as soon as Istepped inside the Griffins Concert Hall. The artists gave the mostamazing and outstanding performance I have ever witnessed here oncampus. The first quarter was awash with carefully selectednoteworthy pieces.
Theensemble fired up the audience with “Queen’s rhythm.” Theoriginal composition was a piece co-written by Quincy Jones andGerald Marks, was smooth, slow, and impulsive. Seymour Simons, yourfavorite Violinist, spiced it up with his usual slow-paced juggle.The second piece, “whispers,” was remixed right on stage. I wishyou were there to the new version. Alexander Mekelberg slowed it downa little bit with his tenor saxophone. Believe me, he almost rivaledits original version by Billie Holiday. The instrumentals were sochoreographed that they sent rhythmic chills in my veins. They musthave taken ages to rehearse owing to the perfection they exhibited onstage. I am sure you would have felt the same if you could have madeit to the hall on Friday. As a rolled my head to the rhythm,“whispers,” ended with a disappearing slow transition into“beasty,” by Jorge Padilla. Padilla showed his might on theflugelhorn. This was the time I saw it played by an elite jazz star.You remember the first time when we missed it when we arrived for theApollo way back in 2006. I had longed for this opportunity and itcame. Sadly, you missed it.
Ihad the opportunity to see jazz artists with rare arrangingabilities. Ethan Fenn really brought it down with a frenzied piece of“I Got Rhythm.” He dramatically created a different butvariation of an elite tune with only a subset of the ensemble. Themost noteworthy was the mini-duet he struck between the drums and thebass. Someone outside the room could not have resisted the harmonioustune Fenn produced by creatively playing over and fusing thetrombones, trumpets, and saxophones into one synchronized beat. Thiswas elite jazz at its best, not to forget I was a witness to theentire escapade.
DukeEllington paced up “Cotton Tail,” with a mind-blowing start.Before I could figure how he was turning the stage into histerritory, the ensemble blew off everything with Duke Ellington’s“Caravan.” It was stimulating and captivating not just to ear,but to the eye as well. They started the “caravan” with an afrotune of percussions, piano, and bass. It was then followed with atrombones and trumpets that sounded like animal sounds in thewilderness with a nice tune. I felt like I was actually in a caravanor on a safari, marveling at the beauty of the landscape. When theyfinally downed their instruments, it was already dawn. I could notbelieve it. I was like a three-hour ride on the beach for me. I willlive to remember the amazing Friday!