The end of an era: Graduating U seniors blend jazz styles one last time

In a concert that marked the end ofan era for many graduating seniors,the U Jazz Wind Ensemble filled LibbyGardner Hall last Friday night with ablend of classic jazz standards as wellas original compositions and arrangementsfrom U students.The Jazz Wind Ensemble II, the firstof the two groups to play, featured aless traditional line-up of instrumentalists,with a rhythm section andonly four brass players. The result,however, allowed for a more harmonicallydense sound than a standard jazzcombo, while still keeping an intimateatmosphere that typical big bandscannot replicate.This was especially apparent in atune composed by the group’s pianist,Courtney Smith. The work was aclassic blues chart, with its cascadingpiano lines from Smith and screamingsaxophone solos from both Bo Stubblefieldand U faculty member BrianBooth making the song an auspiciousachievement.The group ended its performancewith “Road Song,” using an arrangementfrom the famous bebop g uitaristWes Montgomery. The livelinessof the tune contrasted nicely againstthe more subdued piece played immediatelyprior, and allow ed the rhythmsection’s guitarist Chad Stanley andbassist Joe Lujan an opportunity tosolo as well.The stage was considerably morecrowded as the nearly 25 members ofthe Jazz Wind Ensemble I began theirperformance. The first soloist in thegroup, saxophonist Andrew Kuhnhausen,delivered a dazzling performancethat reflected a musical maturity rarelyseen in young jazz musicians.Perhaps the highlight of the eveningcame about with back-to-back soloingbetween saxophonists David Holladayand Kuhnhausen. In the audienceit was possible to feel how listening toone another drove them both to pushthemselves into new musical territory,as was clearly shown by the musicthey produced.The ensemble concluded with anotheroriginal tune, this time “PelletGun,” which was written by thegroup’s guitarist, Daniel Featherstone.When Featherstone was asked by theensemble’s conductor, Henry Wolking,to explain the title of the tune,his response was “I bought a pelletgun and shot a bunch of stuff.” Thisvague explanation certainly did notdo Featherstone’s composition justice-it turned out to be one of thestrongest big-band compositions ofthe evening, and earned roaring appreciationfrom the [email protected]