Jazz It Up a Little

Freddy Greene, Kenny Durham, Ernie Wilkins and Benny Gilson were just a few of the greats brought to life during the jazz ensemble concert last Thursday in Krieg. As the audience sat and listened, heads bobbed, fingers snapped and toes tapped. I even found myself moving from side to side to songs I’d heard once before.

For those who are unaware of the world of jazz music (you poor souls), here’s a little history. Jazz is a music genre that originated from black communities of New Orleans in the United States during the late 19th century. It emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the bonds of African American and European American musical parentage.

With a performance orientation, jazz spans a period of over a hundred years, encompassing a very wide range of music, making it difficult to define.

Not to sound like a jazzhead or anything; jazz is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the mind, inspired by one’s passion, and willed next in playing music. Its unique expression draws from life experience and human emotion as the inspiration of the creative force, and through this discourse is chronicled the history of a people; musicians and those that follow the genre religiously can indeed be thought of as an artistic community complete with its leaders, spokesmen, innovators, aficionados, members, bands, supporters and fans.

Though last night’s performers were no Count Basie or Louis Armstrong, it was an enjoyable experience to listen to them. My favorite song of the night was “Haven’t Met You Yet,” because I couldn’t stop myself from singing. Plus, it was pretty funny watching the woman next to me squeal over her son, who was part of the group playing the song.

To be honest, this is the first jazz concert I’ve been to where the atmosphere wasn’t serious; it was a really fun time. Another favorite of the evening for me was “Delta City Blues.” It brought back memories of my grandfather and his brothers playing the song for our family during Thanksgiving, and it really warmed me up on the inside. I personally think Michael Becker would’ve been proud to hear them play.

All in all, I think that the event brought a nice end to the jazz ensemble’s year. Seniors were able to play one last time with their friends and for their family. In a way, it makes for a bittersweet moment.

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