This essay is the finest example of a concert review of a jazz performance and it examines the overarching context of the performance and the individual songs. Different forms of music have different forms of live experiences, with the jazz musical experience constituting one of the most meaningful and magical…
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The concert I attended was at the Colorado State University School of the Arts. The concert was held at the Griffin Concert Hall, University Center for the Arts on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011. There were a wide variety of performers featured. The ‘Invitation’ was performed by Dan Kramer on the alto saxophone, Kyle Stand on piano, and Devin Arter on trumpet. The ‘Blues in Hoss Flat’ was performed by Alex Buehler on trombone, Dan Kramer on alto saxophone, Kirk Bakalis on tenor saxophone, and Devin Arter on trumpet. ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ was performed by Kirk Bakalis on tenor saxophone. ‘Collectivate’ was performed by Calli Dodd on alto saxophone, Dan Yolles on guitar, Kaelin McDonald on trombone, Luke Rose on drums, and Evan Gohring on bass. ‘Rain Delay’ was performed by Conor Sims on tenor saxophone and Andrew Deem on trombone.
There were a number of jazz styles performed in the concert. The first song played was ‘Invitation’. This is a song that was composed by Bronislaw Kaper and Paul Francis Webster and was first featured on Bill Evans’ ‘Intuition’ album. This song has been labeled post-bop as well as mainstream jazz. This song was highly enjoyable. In large part the improvisation was carried by the trumpet and fit seamlessly into the set. While much bop and experimental jazz can be trying on the listener, it’s clear that this is a much smoother variety of jazz. Even as it was originally written in the 70s the song has much in common with Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album in that it seamlessly melds smooth jazz melodies and rhythms with a multitude of instrumentation and movements. While the improvisation is an essential element it is not presented in a way that self-aggrandizes the player, but is instead placed into the song as a means of enhancing its tonal qualities. The song is generally upbeat and consistent in tone with a number of breakdowns that puncture the style, because concluding the work song. After ‘Invitation’ was completed there was a spoken introduction by the bandleader. The ensemble then launched into ‘Blues in Hoss Flat.’ This song was originally composed by Count Basie for his Chairman of the Board album and was later used by Jerry Lee Lewis. This song was perhaps more differentiated than the previous song and the improvisation more pronounced. In these regards, the song begins with a very noticeable and catchy melody that is cyclical throughout the song. This melody is punctured by down-turns in the track that open the way for improvisation from the trombone and alto saxophone players. While the previous track had seamlessly fit the improvisational elements into the melody, on this track they stand out more prominently. In terms of style the song exhibits a Big Band and swing style. The next track performed at the concert was ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’. This song was originally composed by George and Irwin Gershwin. This song marks a strong shift in the concert. While the previous tracks had contained upbeat melodies, this track was decidedly somber and reflective. In terms of jazz style it clearly implemented mainstream jazz elements. There was minimal improvisation on this song, surely reflective of the origination of the song as emerging from a Broadway musical. In terms of sonic qualities the track is highly reliant on the tenor saxophone that plays a low key and somber melody. It is perhaps the most poignant part of the night as it perfectly balances the upbeat opening and the fantastic conclusion. ‘
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