Before taking Jazz class, my knowledge of this genre was minimal. During the class, six bands performed a total of fifteen pieces. Most of these compositions were by renowned Jazz composers like Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” and Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee.” However, one band stood out as they played original pieces written by their own members. This aspect left a lasting impression on me. For example, Alex Reiff, bassist in Krista White 3 PM Combo, composed a piece called “Preparation.”
In this report, I want to focus on two specific pieces that I particularly enjoyed.
The first piece is “A Phone Call with Janet” written by Jessie Crossen, a trombonist in the band Krista White 3 PM Combo. Interestingly, Janet is the mother of Aaron Smith’s trumpeter. The composition begins with the bass playing, creating a quiet and conversational atmosphere, as if someone is having a hushed phone conversation. As the trombonist starts to improvise, the rhythm becomes faster and the dynamics grow louder, resembling a heated argument. The pianist is the last to improvise, with softer dynamics and a slower rhythm, suggesting that the argument has been resolved. Ultimately, all instruments come together to end the composition.
The focus of my attention was the Sac State Jazz Combos Concert, specifically the performance of “Take the A Train” by the Oliver Graham Combo band. Coincidentally, just two days before the concert, I had learned about Billy Strayhorn, the original composer of the piece, in my Music class. I was eager to see how these musicians would interpret it. The composition begins with all instruments playing, followed by an improvisation by the pianist. The alto player then takes a turn to improvise. The guitarist and drummer have an intriguing and slightly unconventional exchange. “Take the A Train” is structured as a 32-bar composition, with the tempo increasing towards the middle and a consistent moderate dynamic throughout.
In summary, the concert offered an excellent opportunity to discover a new genre of music. I had never thought that Jazz could be appealing to me before attending this concert. It served as my introduction to the world of Jazz, and now I am enthusiastic about attending more concerts like it in the future.