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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Jazz Spotlight Concert Brings Life and Energy to Audiences

Christopher Ayers

One of the best sections of the U’s School of Music, the Jazz Performance Ensemble, had its first Spotlight Concert on Tuesday, Feb. 16, playing with a diverse and passionate style that never fails to disappoint its audience.

The night opened with Jazz Combo 1, a group of four students playing “Nardis” by Miles Davis. Its smooth saxophone piece, played by Candito Abeyta, was one of the most notable triumphs of the night, staying smooth even in its incredibly rapid and intricate runs. These sultry saxophone lines were complemented greatly by the light, airy quality of the piano breaks, brought to life by Sunghee Kim. This set was a perfect balancing point for the entire group, blending the high energy from the drums and the harmonies from the bass.

Next was The Red Hots, a token jazz combo who have gigs around the valley. They played a piece titled “Eraser,” which Thom Yorke, of the band Radiohead, wrote. His influences were evident through transcendent piano backups perfectly aligning with cymbal-heavy drum sets. During the set, saxophonist Hagen McCombs and trombone player Tom Call broke off into an exquisite duet.

McCombs’ passion for his performance was one of the best parts of this combo, from a simple visual point. The energy and emotion of his performance gave his piece a unique sense of personality.

The Jazz Repertory Ensemble was up next with a two-song set. Jon Kim, the pianist, had a knack for tone and excellently transitioned between the subtle, smooth backup and loud, clear, playful riffs with a little added flair. The rhythm section kept the energy bouncing, keeping the band together. The trumpet section of this ensemble was powerful, and their solos were always wonderful, very reminiscent of classic Jazz styles.

The show ended with a loose three-song set by the Jazz Ensemble, led by Kristopher Johnson, who was much more liberal with the artists, letting them find their own bonds within the combo and take their own direction with the piece. The trombones and trumpets were particularly powerful in this group, almost creating as rhythmic along with the drums. This set was the time for the bassist to shine. Chad Taylor was an excellent player, keeping a good blend of dynamics while still making his presence known, even on an instrument that often gets lost in the shadows of a song.

This showcase was a night full of music that transported the audience back to the swinging days of the 1920s. The next chance to see a jazz performance is on Wed. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

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