Thursday, December 6, 2007

A quick report on the Jazz Concert

This evening OHP, the Herbalist and I went all the way to Our State's Capital to hear a Jazz Concert in which my Sisteroutlaw*, The Fiddler, was performing. She is getting a degree in Jazz Performance (I think) at the University there, while also holding down a full-time job. What a great concert! The first part was two young men and one somewhat older one (joined in a couple of numbers by one more young man) and was billed as Jazz Vocals. It was a wonderful mixture of different types of songs tinged just enough with jazz sounds to be really fun to listen to. They started with two Christmas songs, Gaudete and Riu, Riu Chiu -- both of which, I think, have a bit of a jazz feel even when they're done by Authentic Period Performers. Then a Ghanaian Alleluia, two barbershop quartet numbers, Seven Bridges Road (introduced as an Eagles song. Who knew? Evidently, all but me and OHP, who both remembered it as a Dolly Parton song. The Eagles fall into that no-man's-land of popular music for me that lasts from about 1973 to 1988 or so -- in other words from when I stopped living in college dorms and barracks to when SonShineIn became a teenager). A Mel Tormé song, Born to be Blue, that I liked a lot. Mack the Knife and It Don't Mean a Thing. Good stuff! The Fiddler sat in on Riu, Riu Chiu and added a really funky sound to it.
After a short intermission came the Latin Jazz Ensemble which played great Cuban dance tunes. Also the bass from the vocal group was in this group and sang Besame Mucho -- a tune I recall hearing on the clock radio I told about a few days ago. Some of the songs were identified with Tito Puente which made me think about going to Little Tijuana in City of Lakes (it's a restaurant) -- there's a mural on the wall there showing a theater marquee advertising an appearance by Tito Puente. The Fiddler fiddled, drummers drummed, pianist played, guitarists, people blowing on things, even a gourd. Good stuff and some of the younger folks were dancing behind us.
The concert reminded OHP and me of the days when Sisterknits was at Rudy Perpich's Good Idea High School. They, also, had concerts at the end of the semester and, like these musicians, they were not only putting on a great show but showing what they had learned. The level of musicianship was often as high as tonight's, the youthful energy likewise (although some of the "youth" tonight were in their 50s, but I think playing music must keep you young). And, the slight tension because, even if you aren't being specifically graded on the evening's performance, it is sort of like a final exam. The Latin Jazz Ensemble was composed of people who are just completing a one-semester course in Latin Jazz. Most of them had not played in this musical idiom before and we were told that the drummers were not primarily percussionists and had only begun learning the drums they played a few months ago. All in all it was well worth the drive. Is there a college or even high school concert nearby that you could attend?

*I have two sisters-in-law, and I also have three sisters-outlaw, one for each brother. This one used to be married to Brother #2. He and their son also attended the concert so it was nice to see them as well.

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