Upon first glance at the Guzman hall I was filled with anxiety as well as excitement as to what was to come. Prior to this semester I had not listened to any jazz music and I was unaware of any artists or songs. Therefore going to a jazz concert was a rare experience that I now cherish. When I first entered the hall I was greeted by a group of musicians called The Stamps Jazz Quintet, there were 4 musicians at the front of the hall and they were taking place. The musicians included Sam Hart who played the saxophone, Aidan Lombard who played the trumpet, Quinn
Sengupta who was on the piano, Bob Bruya who played the bass and finally Marcelo Perez who was proficient at the drums. They played 4 records, the first of which was ‘Played Twice’ by Thelonious Monk, from our classes I was aware that Thelonious monk was a piano player who was really influential in creating the Be Bop era of jazz, he was a band leader at Minton’s playhouse in Harlem, so I therefore assumed ahead of time that the song itself would consist of a lot of fast tempo as well as some complex harmonies and a unsingable melody and a strong sense of piano since he was a piano player.
The second ecord was called ‘Dance Cadaverous’ by Wayne shorter and I was unaware of this artist so did not know what to expect. The third song was called ‘Guernica’ by John Hart, I noticed from the pamphlet given that underneath the band members John hart was the faculty mentor in charge of the band, I found this interesting as I was intrigued in knowing what the song would sound like because the composer was so close to the band and the music itself should be his direct render.
The final and last song was called ‘Blues Connotation’ by Ornette Coleman, here this was another example of an artist that we had gone other in lass, he was part of the Avant Garde period of Jazz, he played the alto sax and therefore assumed that the peace was heavily influenced by it. The music here was free of conventional rules and it is full of solos and it is difficult to tell when they start or finish. After they had finished there peace the other band came out.
The Frost Jazz sextet’ consisted of 6 band members, the first of which was David Leon who played the saxophone, the second musician was Alec Aldred who played the trumpet, the third musician was Jonah Udall and he played the guitar, the 4th usician was Keelan Dimick and he played the piano, the 5th musician was Slowell Ringell and he played the bass and finally Kyle Swan who played the drums. I didn’t recognize any of the composers of the songs like the first band but I could tell right away that all the pieces had been written by the actual students themselves, this was actually quite interesting and refreshing.
It gives insight into the actual band members and what they perceive jazz to be. A member wrote each song and consequently each member wrote in a solo for himself this was nice as every instrument and member got to showcase their wn skills as well showcase their style and swagger. The Stamps Quintet was a good band that portrayed and illustrated dissimilar narrations from the artists they are trying to emulate.
They used other peoples pieces which was different to The Frost Jazz Sextet but this meant that they were able to take great pieces written by legendary composers and either completely adhere to it or change it to what they believe is most suitable. The first song played in this set was ‘Played Twice’ written by Thelonious Monk. This song was very upbeat and had many highs and was very exhilarating. It was continuous throughout the song and has a very cheerful feel to it. I found it also charming that this was a piece by Thelonious Monk who we had studied in class before.
Therefore it was interesting to have a live showing of something that we had heard so much about. Monk himself was a revolutionary in creating the Be Bop era in jazz. I was also able to truly link the characteristics that we had learnt in class and apply them to real life. Examples of this include a fast tempo, complex harmony, and an unsingable melody as well no written arrangements. This was clear when istening to the track as it encompassed all these characteristics. Up next was ‘Dance Cadaverous’ written by Wayne Shorter. Here the song was very relaxing and completely different in comparison to the first.
The song started sparking this weird emotion as if I was looking back into my life and gave me a sense of content. I could easily relate this track to some old memories and relay it to a time long ago and that’s exactly what this song does to me and I can imagine other people feel as well. The song stayed calm until about half way where it started picking up a lot of pace and reached a climax towards the end, his felt like it was straight out of a movie and was very riveting. I could see myself listening to such a song in the future as it triggered a multitude of emotions in me.
The third song in the set was named ‘Guernica’ and was written by John Hart, I found this especially intriguing since Guernica is also a peace painted by Pablo Picasso. This painting portrays a strong powerful political statement; it was painted as a reaction to the Nazi bombing practice in Guernica. This therefore meant that this song must have had some sort of heartfelt sound to it as the title suggests sorrow and regret. I also made the quick observation that the same person that had composed this piece was also the faculty member in charge of the band.
This was interesting mainly due to the fact that we can truly imagine his vision through his band, which is an incredible process to see. The song itself was exactly how expected it started of very deep and slow, projecting deep emotion and a heartfelt mood. The music reminded me of scary movies and there build up towards the end and this song was building up slowly towards the pivotal point of the movie. The final song of the band was ‘Blue Connotation’ and it was omposed by Ornette Coleman. Even before the song had started I remembered hearing specifically about Coleman in class where he was one of the founding fathers of Avant Garde Jazz.
A period in jazz where musicians especially Coleman attempted to alter, extend or even break down the norm in jazz music. The song had a very energetic start with the trumpet and saxophone, which gave it a refreshing start it reminded of a fast paced scene in a movie where we are chasing down the villain and the plot is on a long fast spiral. I love how towards the end we get a large bang with a drum solo and then it finishes off ubtly with everyone playing. This made me feel like we finally got to the end of a long chase.
The Frost Jazz Sextet was a fun experience as it had a lot of solos from each player and it was therefore unique and fun. It was fascinating that most of the composers were around my age and they were capable of creating full-length pieces to highlight their particular emotions. The first song Wait a Minute’ was written by Jonah Udall who was the bands guitar player. Upon first listening to the band it is really difficult to exactly pinpoint where Udall was exactly playing since the other members and heir instruments overshadowed his instrument.
Often I’d find myself listening more to the drums or piano and completely forgetting about the guitar. There was however a brief moment when be played his solo where I was able to listen to his true talent ad appreciate his presence in the band. The second song from the frost jazz sextet was called ‘De- separated’ this was composed by Alec Aldred who was the bands trumpet player. This was apparent from the beginning as he started and was the single consistent player during the whole piece. He also had a lot of nice solos that were loud and very echnical and as the piece went on he picks up the pace and delivers a strong ending.
The song had a very slow start where they each slowly began to play; this was a dramatic start to the piece and threw me off a bit, as was not expecting it. As the piece went on, the members picked up pace slowly and slowly until they were completely submerged and going at it. I found this confusing at first but the affect made sense to me after and was very effective. ‘Magic Number was the third piece from the program and it was suddenly apparent that it was heavily geared towards the bass player Lowell Ringel. Here the bass player was truly able to hone in his proficiency.
This instrument similar to the guitar was difficult to focus on, but as the piece went on it was easier to identify and listen to. He was able to hit everything from high notes to low notes, which was quite intriguing since it was a nice change. The song also consisted of both slow and fast tempos at different periods within the song, this mixed in with the high and low notes was a stimulating change keeping us gripped to the end of our seats waiting for what was to come. The song gave me a kind of desperate feeling as if the composer was ager to reminisce on a better time and it therefore felt a little dark and desperate at times.
This made me also reminisce about old memories and took me back to my younger days. Kyle Swan wrote the fourth song, Kyle’s Creation’ from the frost jazz sextet and he was the bands drum player. The way this song progressed was quite interesting, the song had a strong start, which was rare as compared to the other records, and this was carried through the entire record, as it was strong and fast throughout the song. This was expected since drummers tend to be very violent and stout with their playing, and this ranscended into the song.
There was also this one point within the song where all the instruments dropped except the piano and then they slowly came back into the song, first the trumpet then the drums. This felt great since I felt like everything was dropped both literally and figuratively and it brought about a relaxing mood. The finishing was also quite captivating, out of nowhere he suddenly stopped which actually caught me of guard and it was confusing at first but later I understood the effect it left on the audience and me. The fifth song was written by David Leon, titled ‘It Never Leaves me’ and he plays the saxophone.
In my opinion the saxophone is one of the most important instruments in a jazz band as it gives depth and a whole other dimension to the music that is played. That is why I was excited to listen to a track written by a saxophone player and assumed he’d have a solo just like everyone else did. Before the track even started the title had me expecting a really dark and deep song. I did not expect a trumpet to start the song but even so, his playing was very slow and gradual as were the large majority of this song and this left a very heartfelt ambience in the hall.
This was especially pointed out when the drummer switched from his normal sticks and started using brushes on his drums; this created a distinct calming sound that set the tone. Keelan Dimick wrote the sixth song, ‘Turkish Wonderer’ that was changed from its original name ‘Cellatyrcica’ and he was the piano player in the band. This song in general felt very cultural right from the start and was incredibly heart felt. It started off with a subtle piano solo, which was nice and sincere. This song took me back and reminded me of some certain memories from my childhood.
I reminisced back to a time when I was a kid and we travelled back to my home country of Morocco. It is such a diverse and different place and I related it heavily to this song, and I therefore felt calm and happy when I heard it. It did however have an abrupt ending, which didn’t make sense to me since the song had a smooth composed tone. To Conclude, I found this experience very thought provoking and amusing, before this concert I had never before been to a jazz concert nor have I ever heard jazz music being played live, this was therefore an incredible first time experience.
It was also a whole experience where both bands offered a unique experience. The Stamps Quintet offered me an experience where they can project different composers musical pieces as well as perform pieces from older times. This meant that I was able to listen to pieces that were played in the 60’s and that are rare to listen to now. The Frost Jazz Sextet portrayed to me that jazz is still alive today and that people our age are able to perform and truly portray what they are feeling through this platform.