By Emily Pizza
The Jazz band concert Saturday was definitely a change of pace from previous concerts, as several of the band members were dressed up in drag. Stepping onto the stage, these performers looked completely different, but as soon as they started playing, their true identity showed through.
Their first song, Rooster Parade, required the audience to start the tune by clapping to the beat which definitely pulled them into the uphill of this musical rollercoaster.
The star of this song was piano player Ian Williams ’17, who moved his hands up and down the keys as if he was born to do just that. Even director Tom Evans couldn’t contain his impressed clapping as Williams finished.
The second song, Rivers, was another tune, which featured drummer Chris Monsour ‘16. Even though his legs and arms moved at lightning speed, his sunglasses gave him the appearance that it was just another walk in the park.
Baritone saxophone player, Lasse Grunewald WMU ’15 was also a spectacle in this tune; dropping to those low notes from an octave above was impressive to everyone listening.
A later piece, Freddie Freeloader, was slower and more bluesy than the earlier songs. While multiple soloists performed, two really stuck out. Alto sax player Joe Barth ‘14 moved up and down scales during his solo like crazy, and never missed a note.
Bass player Curtis Gough ’14 finished the song out with a solo that made everyone’s eyes bug out. His ability to move up and down his instrument showed a mastery that many players could only dream of.
For a chance of pace, a Latin piece, Fiesta Bahia, was thrown into the mix. The song took off so fast that I could hardly keep the beat. Luckily, drummer Monsour was able to keep it better than I could.
Barth one again showed his skills during his solo, moving through scale notes in a peculiar order that kept the audience on its toes, but never gave a wrong sound.
However, piano player Ian Williams once again stole the song with his solo that used every key on the piano, top to bottom.
The whole group, however, really showed skill in their unison pauses. As a musician myself, I can attest to how difficult It can be to get four people to stop playing at the same time, let alone 17.
Finally, the band concluded with an encore of “Walk The Dinosaur” featuring Brian Craig ’14 singing the lyrics and doing the dance up on the stage. The audience erupted into cheers at the end of the song and putting an end to a truly fantastic year of formal jazz band concerts.