In preparation for its summer tour in London, Cal Poly’s Jazz Band produced a night of melodious and spectacular jazz. In listening to the trumpets blast, the saxophones swoon and the steady beat of the drum as it mixed with the rest of the ensemble, it was a night full of sweet and soulful music.
“We’d like to take you on the wings of song and take you away from your wretched lives,” director Paul Rinzler said.
The band did just that as audience members escaped into two hours of fine-tuned musicianship. Rinzler’s greeting set a relaxed and friendly tone to the night. A sense of intimacy between the band and audience was created as the music had toes tapping and heads bobbing along.
The opening number also helped set the tone, appropriately titled “Attitude Dance.” It was powerful and poignant. Vocalist Rachel D’Orazio maintained a full and soulful strength in the lyrics. As the songs continued to play, the audience was able to feel as if it had been transported into a movie scene where double doors opened to a glamorous hotel lobby. In the slower songs, like “Night Flight,” the audience was taken to an underground jazz club.
Each number featured solos that showcased the talent of the players behind each instrument. Mechanical engineering freshman Wyatt Boyd played a solo with his alto saxophone. In describing his particular solo, he remarked how much he enjoyed the drama it can create.
“Jazz is a way to show emotion and convey feelings,” environmental management and protection sophomore Marissa Kuntz said.
Like many of the audience members, Kuntz was in attendance for the jazz styles class offered at Cal Poly.
“It’s really cool to use the knowledge we have been learning in class and see it play in real life,” she said.
The music was loud and full of energy from the start of the show until the end, yet it still provided a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the sounds of a group of talented musicians. The two groups that performed in the middle of the show previewed the sets it will be taking as part of its tour in London this summer. Friday Combo, which featured a group of five musicians, was intimate in how small it was. No instrument outplayed another but rather had a blend of beautiful sounds.
“Aleppo at Midnight” was like rich dessert, starting with an upright base, then slowly adding drums to keep the beat. With the addition of a bass guitar and mixing in the alto and tenor saxophones, the Combo was sweet and delighting.
The next group, the Tuesday Combo, added a pianist into the mix. Watching civil engineering junior Matthew Seno dance his fingers across the piano keys was as mesmerizing as the music he was playing. Both groups were entertaining and are sure to be a hit during its London shows.
The Jazz Night was unlike most music concerts. There was a strong sense of camaraderie among the band. During the University Jazz Band I’s performances, the trumpet and trombone players could be seen dancing along to the music.
One song, “Perfect Ending,” had a trumpet and a trombone player going back and forth in what sounded like laughter coming from their respective instruments. In perhaps the friendliest of moments, the entire band and audience sang an impromptu performance of “Happy Birthday” to computer science senior Max Linsenbard.
Cal Poly’s Jazz Band put on a spectacular night of music. Energetic, yet relaxing, skilled, yet authentic, the group set out to provide the audience with a fun night — and delivered.