North’s jazz program never fails to impress, and spring Jazz Night was no different. Student-musicians captivated the audience with a variety of soulful jazz songs.
North’s Honors Jazz Ensemble 1, Jazz Ensemble 2, Advanced Jazz Improv, Jazz/Rock workshop, and Tiger Bebop filled the auditorium with smooth jazz tunes on April 5th at 7 p.m.
Music teacher Richard Labedz, who directs all of the bands that performed, noted that he was proud that “almost everyone that plays has a solo.” The soloists were enthusiastic and really took their moment to perform with passion.
Tiger BeBop started the show off strong singing “It Don’t Mean A Thing,” by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills. The students snapped along to the rhythm which made the performance seem original.
The Jazz/Rock Workshop introduced a more funky atmosphere. The students played “Equinox,” by John Coltrane, showing off their distinct sound with a mellow theme and mopey tunes.
Next, the Big Band escalated the concert to a more upbeat tempo. According to Labedz, there were four Jazz Combo groups in the beginning of the year and three combos joined to form the Big Band. It was one of the larger bands to perform with a greater variety of instruments, hence the “bigness.”
They began by playing “Cissy Strut,” written by by Arthur Neville, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter, Joseph Modeliste Jr. also known as the funk and blues, “Meters,” band from New Orleans. From the first beat, the song sounded cool, smooth, and catchy. The predominant sound of percussion added to the polished sound.
The following combos were much smaller groups, but they were able to work the stage and emit enthusiastic energy.
Combo Two included Upswing Quintet within its members. Their stage presence was effortless, and they were clearly experienced with performing as they knew how to keep the audience’s attention.
The Honors Jazz Ensemble closed the show with “Inner Urge,” by Joe Henderson. It contrasted with the generally upbeat songs with its slow, haunting and muted tones.
Andy Bean, who plays trombone in the Honors Jazz Ensemble, explained that “Inner Urge” “takes a lot of effort” to sound good, but he thinks, “we got it.”
After the show, Labedz said, “It’s the motivation of the students who come together which makes this happen.”