Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Music / November 12, 2009

Jazzing up Kresge Auditorium

The Knox Jazz Ensemble came out onstage to a great deal of applause. About 30 seconds later, the director, Nikki Malley, followed. They were all ready to play. And play they did.

The first song started with everyone playing fairly loud to make sure that the audience was awake. It was, overall, a good showcase of a big band playing big band pieces in unison. It was a pretty cool opening song.

The entire show displayed the talents of each of the members of the band. Everyone played a solo at some point during the evening, and some people played more than one on more than one instrument. There were a couple of songs driven by single instruments, which gave them plenty of room to improvise and rock out.

The low point of the show was the slower songs. They tended to drag on, and it is much harder to play over the form. The musicality was still there, it just lacked the energy that some of the other songs had.

One of the songs that they played in the first half was arranged by senior Yumi Kusunoki, one of the trombonists. She had spent almost a year writing the arrangements for all of the instruments, and that isn’t easy. The song was very impressive.

The singer, senior Devan Cameron, was awesome. She was able to compete with the 13 people playing brass instruments and still sound good. She drove the songs she was in, and that is also not easy to do.

Overall, this was not a very long show, and the intermission sort of broke the momentum that they had accumulated over the first half.

The second half also opened with a loud song, with all of the brass musicians playing together. Most of the momentum that had been dropped by the intermission was regained by the second-half opener.

The last song was easily the best, as everyone got to play a solo during the course of the piece. Even the drummer, who rocked.

Overall, it was a solid jazz demonstration, and a job well done. I give it three harmonies out of four lack of blast beats.

Eric Denson


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