I attended a performance in the University of South Alabama that took place in the Laidlaw performing Arts centre Recital Hall on March sixth, two thousand and ten. It was Jazz Ensemble Fall concert that directed by Tracy Heaven. The band presented some selection to the many audiences attending the concert. The players involved David Collins Saxophone,
Will Rosati Trombones, Drew Pritchard Trumpet and John Kansumrith (guitar) and Isaac Kessee piano. It was a great exposure for me because I had never attended another concert before. The band presented several presentations to the public that was highly appreciated by the audience. The concert hall was suitable for the occasion having good acoustics, which highlighted every single instrument in the band. The clarity of the sound was stunning.
The first selection played by the band was the piece living in a dream that was composed by Douch Beach. It was a nice performance that was characterized by very strong coordinated and high energy playing. The tone of the song was very clear with a combination of horn, saxophones, trombones and trumpets that worked jointly with a section of keyboards.
The music attracted many audiences due to its nice rhythm that was a combination of piano and a guitar. During the performance, the guitarist John Kansumrith was my best player because of his movements while playing the guitar making all the audience to look at him.
Piano solo was the second selection played by Isaac Kessee. The selection was Cute composed by Neal Hefti. The first section of this selection had a slow movement, and it was cool. The slowness in movement made the music not interesting making the performance a bit boring. In the second section, there were some improvements as Kessee facial expression continued changing with the note making his body came out of his seat on a strong note. In addition, he added some comedy in his performance that made it more interesting.
My most favourite performance was “I’ll Take Les”, an affectionate tribute to the master of guitarist by John Scofield. The ensemble made the tempo slightly more upbeat and turned the relatively moderate in length original into a jam, which lasted a bit under twenty minutes. This was a perfect moment for every single musician to play a solo. The original was rather free form to start with, so it was no surprise that aside of the initial recognizable motive, the rest veered in a completely different direction, exploring new opportunities of the melody. This was also the high point for the rhythm section, which was the primary driving force behind the groove on top of which improvisations could be created. A perfect finale to a great concert.
The only mildly negative moment was “Orchids and Butterflies.” Lack of virtuosity is not to blame here. The musicians handled every single bit of repertoire with utmost competence, not being afraid to take the song into “uncharted territories.” It is just that this particular piece by Sammy Nestico had an uninspired melody, flat dynamics, and monotonous tempo with no variations whatsoever. The melody was predictable, constantly revolving around an E major chord. Had it not been for the 7th chords inserted here and there frivolously by the ensemble, the piece would have been completely boring. Hopefully, next time, the ensemble chooses the repertoire worthy of their prowess.
All in all, the concert was more than satisfactory. Seeing this line-up for the second time is a must, because they do not only do justice to great music, but also manage to take it to a whole new level.