By: Jesse Lykins
“Billy May for President” by Sammy Nestico was the opening tune for the show. It featured several solos that hooked the audience in immediately. “Blues in My Shoes by” Peter Herbolzheimer, a standard in the repertoire, again wowed the audience with capturing solos and changes professionally handled by the students.
After “No More” by Bob Russell and “Toots Camarata,” the last piece the Jazz II performed was “Mexicali Nose” by Harry Betts. The Jazz II was confident in their performance and the audience tapped and snapped along with the music!
After the Jazz II finished their set the RU Jazz Combo took the stage aiming to impress. Jazz Combo, as opposed to the Jazz II which features entire sections of instruments, only showcases a trombone, guitar, bass, vocals, piano, vibraphone and drums. The smaller, intimate setting provides for more communication amongst the performers and establishes the traditional jazz club feel.
“Song for My Father” by Horace Silver was the first tune played by the group. It featured Joe Viellenave on trombone bringing out a soothing melodic solo. Next up was “Minority” by Gigi Gryce. This was a quick and energetic tune that allowed each performer to solo for 16 or so bars. After a stint of solo from the trombone, vibes and guitar, the bass and drums traded fours for a few bars until the drummer played an extended solo. The drummer signaled the group back in and they ended shadily, but effectively.
“P.S. I Love You” by Gordon Jenkins was a slow, ballad tune that featured a vocalist portraying a woman longing for her love. With the band backing up the vocalist perfectly, the tune was solid and ethereal. The final piece for the combo was “The Chicken,” a hard funk tune by Alfred James Ellis. The fun piece featured solos from all the members and led to a strong final for the concert!