At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3, the Trinity University Jazz Ensemble performed its annual fall concert in Ruth Taylor Recital Hall. The concert featured 10 pieces performed by the ensemble punctuated by an intermission performance featuring a small jazz combo.
The first performance of the year for the ensemble also marked the first with their new director, Chris Magee.
â€œMagee has provided the band with a different environment,â€ said sophomore drummer Ben Whitehead. â€œHeâ€™s done a good job of bringing everyone together as a group.â€
The ensemble practiced four hours per week under Mageeâ€™s tutelage in preparation for the performance.
â€œWeâ€™ve come a long way since August,â€ Whitehead said.
The group did encounter some challenges. The ensemble was lacking in numbers for this particular concert and was forced to do some recruiting calling to local Jazz players to fill the void. The band also consisted of numerous first years.
â€œ[The first years] have hopped in and done a great job and been great additions to the band,â€ Whitehead said.
The ensemble has also benefitted the first years looking to experience and learn the jazz idiom.
â€œThe experience has been helpful in learning how to play different styles,â€ said first year bassist Brian Shrock. â€œOne of the most rewarding aspects has just been getting better.â€
The Jazz Ensemble performed jazz standards such as â€œIn a Mellow Toneâ€ and also more challenging pieces such as a Woody Herman arrangement of â€œFanfare for the Common Manâ€ by Aaron Copland.
The small jazz combo that performed during intermission featured bass guitar, guitar, drums, two trombones and a trumpet improvising over jazz standards such as â€œStraight, No Chaser.â€
Mageeâ€™s particular favorite songs were â€œThe Heatâ€™s Onâ€ which opened the concert and â€œNo Greater Bebop,â€ played at the performanceâ€™s close. These pieces were especially effective because they left room for improvisations by the bandâ€™s many soloists.
â€œGood pieces [of jazz] are vehicles for improvisation,â€ Magee said.
According to Magee, the Jazz Ensemble provides students an opportunity to enjoy one of Americaâ€™s oldest art forms.
â€œJazz is alive and well at Trinity,â€ Magee said.