by Hannah Liu
Funky beats and brassy sounds filled the auditorium Wednesday during Jazz Night, North’s annual concert to highlight the great skill of the jazz ensemble at our school. Joined by South and the BT/ALC Big Band, students impressed audiences with their incredible musicianship.
Throughout the concert, which took place at 7 p.m., student and adult musicians alike showed their passion for the music they were playing; it was evident from their faces that they loved jazz and were glad to be able to perform it.
The concert opened with “Strollin’ With Sammy” by Paul Baker. The song was dramatic due to intense crescendos mixed with some quieter parts, all of which the jazz ensemble was able to play exceptionally.
Next, the jazz ensemble played “Moanin” by Charles Mingus, arranged by Sy Johnson, a piece that did sound like gloomy moaning that became cheerful as the song gained momentum.
Musician Alex Lee Clark was a special guest at the concert and was featured in songs with both the North and South Jazz Ensembles. One of his most exciting solos with North was “Brasilliance” by Duke Ellington, arranged by David Berger. Clark was able to blend in with the students, and together they created a fun, exciting sound. Later, Clark joined South to play “New Orleans Suite” by Duke Ellington, a very marchy tune. He showed off his skills including being able to keep his breath steady through his lengthy solos.
The South Band took their turn on the stage playing “Letter From Home” by Pat Metheny and arranged by Bob Curnow, a nice change in tune. It was a sweet and mellow melody, which featured the piano and guitar to add to that effect.
For the finale of the student-musician part of the concert, both ensembles joined together to play the original piece “The Everyday, The Everyday …,” written by guest musician Alex Lee Clark. The piece was well composed from start to finish, jazzy and lively. There were According to Clark the story behind the piece is based on how he is constantly piled with work even when it seems he just made room for some free time.
The concert ended with a standout performance from the BT/ALC Big Band, formed by Brian Thomas, (trombonist), and Clark. The concert ended with a standout performance from the BT/ALC Big Band, formed by Brian Thomas and Alex Lee Clark. Despite the age difference, both the adult band and the students had the same delight, while they played. The audience was kept dancing in their seats by the energy set forth by the band; the musicians were dancing and smiling on stage, and their joy was contagious.
Labedz, a saxophone player in the band, During “Keep At It,” written by Clark, the audience could hear the funk and groove that inspired it. The piece was very animated and the most upbeat piece of the night.
The concert had a sweet surprise when Labedz and Lisa Linde, the director of the South band unveiled a stamp for jazz singer Sarah Lois Vaughan from United States Postal Service. The stamp is one of seven from the Music Icon Series of stamps. Vaughan is commemorated a Lifetime Achievement Grammy award.
All of the groups that played at Jazz Night clearly worked hard and had fun playing their music; the result of their efforts was captivating.