The Maryville College Jazz Band performed on Tuesday, Nov. 12, and transformed the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall into an intimate setting for jazz music.
The ensemble warmed up the audience with “Syeeda’s Song Flute” by John Coltrane, featuring soprano saxophone player Carrie West.
Senior and first-time jazz performer Eric Kearney performed a featured solo in the band’s second selection, “Cousin Mary.” The solo was an instrumental arrangement of a piece that usually features a scat singer.
Also notable were the solo and low notes that the Euphonium player reached in the song.
“Cousin Mary” was followed by the piece “Sugar” by Stanley Turrentine, previously performed in the fall Fine Arts Showcase by the Jazz Band.
Through the entire show the musicians gave an outstanding performance, soloists capturing each piece’s emotion. When there wasn’t a solo, the collection of musicians played with an almost tangible energy.
The first half ended strongly with the striding bass and frenzied paced of “Long as You Know You’re Living Yours” by Keith Jarrett.
Unfortunately, this strong finish was followed by a weak open in the second song of the second half with “Walk Tall” a smooth, upbeat piece by Cannonball Adderly.
However, the ensemble recovered with its performance of “Equinox,” featuring a solo by electric mandolin player Adam Loo, whose improvisation included a two-tone descending harmony and a delicate restatement on a single string.
The concert ended on a free improvisation piece, titled “Freedom Jazz Dance,” by Eddie Harris, where soloists played unrestrainedly during long sections of their improvisation.
Electric guitar player and senior Kacey Whitteaker featured rock elements in his solo that wowed the audience and, after short piano interlude by piano from director Dr. Bill Swan, the piece ended the way it began with a robust musical statement from the entire jazz ensemble.
The concert had a large turnout this year with an audience full of satisfied seniors, familiar with the jazz band scene as well as some newcomers pleased after experiencing the group for the first time.
“I really like how each instrumentalist was showcased,” said junior Emily Davis. “I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere the jazz band creates through their music.”
“’Tune Up’ was my favorite piece of the night,” said freshman and first-time concert attendee Bobbie Eckert. “I liked how the whole thing had this drive.”
“The trombone soloist Sam Turpen had some really interesting material in ‘Long as You Know You’re Living Yours’,” said freshman Heidi Vowell. “It was dynamic and really interesting.”
The ensemble is performing again for their spring concert next semester.