Jazz dazzles audience

Enthusiastic community members filled the Chorale Room at 7 p.m. on May 5 for food, beverages, and the annual final concert from the school’s three jazz ensembles, which have been prepping for the event since January, Jazz Teacher Pandelis Karayorgis said.
The hour-and-a-half concert featured both the Monday and Tuesday groups and the freshman ensemble that practiced with Mr. Karayorgis three times per week during G block.
The seven freshman musicians kicked off the concert with renditions of Max Roach’s “Driva Man,” Sun Ra’s “The Kingdom of Not,” Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa,” Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Nakamarra,” and Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’,” which Lily Denton ’18, tenor saxophonist in the Tuesday ensemble, said she particularly enjoyed.
“I already liked the song and knew it well because I also played it as a freshman at this concert two years ago,” Lily said. “It was cool to hear the same music but from different people—it sounded similar but still had its own flair.”
Lily’s ensemble, made up of seven juniors and one sophomore, performed next, playing Charles Mingus’ “Pussy Cat Dues,” Hank Mobley’s “No Room for Squares,” Benny Golson’s “Thursday’s Theme,” and Horace Silver’s “The Jody Grind.”
Bass player Yliuz Sierra Marin ’18 called “The Jody Grind” the most challenging piece.
“It was so fast, but in the end, everyone did their part, and it came together really nicely,” he said. “We all sounded really smooth together.”
The concert concluded with the nine-man Monday night ensemble that played Kenny Dorham’s “Uno Mas,” The Brand New Heavies’ “BNH,” Art Blakey’s “Split Kick,” and finally, Mickey and the Soul Generation’s “Iron Leg.” In the last piece, the audience cheered especially loudly when senior alto sax players Gautam Mitra and Guillermo Alvarez (both ’17) took turns improvising and combined for a one-minute showdown with Ross Harrison ’17, the other outgoing senior in jazz band, on drums behind them.
“[The crowd was] the most enthusiastic audience I can remember,” Mr. Karayorgis said. “Their support boosted the performers, and this created a wonderful feedback of energy.”
Audience member Ryan Guan ’17 also noted the exuberance of the crowd.
“I’ve been to quite a number of jazz concerts, but this [one] certainly had the most energy. After each jazz solo, the whole audience was clapping and yelling a ton,” he said.
Gautam said he appreciated the extra cheers.
“A lot of jazz is about emotion, so having a really active audience empowered me to play better and get more into the music,” he said. “It was sad to finish six years of jazz at the school, but our last piece was a great way to end it. This concert was the most fun I’ve had playing in the last 10 years.”


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