I have now attended two of the four required concerts for my History of Jazz class. One was a few weeks ago, and was the Jazz Ensemble with guest artist Wayne Wallace. The other performance was on Halloween, and was the Jazz combos.
They were two different settings of concerts. The jazz ensemble was a little more formal, and looked like they were together. Everyone in the ensemble was wearing tuxedos with matching red striped ties. As it was the first concert I’ve gone to since starting here at Stanislaus State I wasn’t sure what to expect. The program was set in a way that you didn’t know what order the songs were going to be in, but maybe that was expected with the guest artist.
The first song they played was just the ensemble, and featured a soloist. Once that piece was over Wayne Wallace was introduced and came on stage and kind of conducted the performance himself. They performed 8 pieces total that night. Some of the pieces were only performed by a select few, others featured soloists from the trombone, saxophone and the trumpet section. It was a nice concert to attend.
The second performance, of the jazz combos, featured 3 different small groups of performers, and slightly different instruments used in each. Each group performed four or five songs, which was nice so that it didn’t feel like the concert was going to last forever. The first group played a lot of Sonny Rollins pieces and through out their set of songs featured each of the musicians in a solo of some part. There were performers that had a solo more then once through out their time, but I do think it is a rare occasion to see everyone featured to have a solo.
The second group to come on stage had a slight change in what instruments they were featuring. They also had two different bass players; and featured a singer in their performance. For me it was a little surprising that there was singing, but when I thought about it Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong and so many more were jazz singers, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Besides singing actual words, one of the songs also had some scat singing, which is when someone uses nonsense words to sing and improvise doing the rhythm. The third and last group to come on stage was a collective of professors and students performing together. This was the largest of the groups to come on stage, and featured the most variety of instruments. There were quite a few soloists, and I also noticed a few people changed instruments. There was one performer who changed in between the trumpet and French horn and that was just during one song. I couldn’t believe that someone could do that, but I guess with a lot of practice and enough timing, anyone could get that down.
They were some pretty interesting performances. I am definitely looking forward to my other two concerts, and I might even try to sneak another one in if I have time. Come check out the different performances, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.