Thursday, December 1, 2011

Students improvise in the CAVE

Jazz combo class performs last concert of semester, features two groups

By Dianne McGinness, A&E Reporter

Members of the Pacific Lutheran University jazz combo and audience members alike moved to the music during the jazz combo’s final concert.

The concert, a part of the jazz series at PLU, took place in the CAVE in the University Center Tuesday.

Students in the jazz combo performed songs by a number of composers including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ray Noble and a final song by Herbie Hancock.

Around 50 community members and PLU students attended the concert.

In previous years, the concert has been held at Northern Pacific Coffee Company or Java Jam. It was moved to the CAVE to accommodate students and community members.

The jazz combo is a small ensemble at PLU that focuses its attention on learning how to improvise.

“Playing in the jazz combo is such a different experience than playing in a big band,” Director of Jazz studies and Professor of Music David Deacon-Joyner said. “They have to do a lot more heavy lifting.”

Senior Eric Lundquist, who plays trumpet in the jazz combo, has been involved in the jazz program since he first arrived at PLU four years ago.

“First we figure out the rhythm sections and that gives us the number of combos that there are going to be,” Lundquist said adding that there were three combos one year, the largest number since he has been a student here.

Along with attending the regular class during the semester, students are also required to rehearse outside class.

“We don’t have to use class time for rehearsal,” Lundquist said. “Instead we can perform for each other and get feedback on our pieces.”

This year, the concert featured two combos, “The Jacob Powell Combo” and “The Eric Lundquist Combo” for which students selected their own repertoire. Each of the combos were made of four to five students.

The concert featured students on saxophone, flute, piano, bass, trumpet, drums and clarinet.

First-year Bruno Correa played drums for each of the combos.

“I recommend jazz combo to anyone who has played in high school,” Correa said. “It’s a great experience.”

At the end of the concert, the two combos joined together to perform one final song. Both groups had selected the same song to perform so instead of making one group give up the song, the groups decided to have a “good old fashioned jam session,” Deacon-Joyner said.

Each combo has a group leader who is charge of organizing rehearsals, picking the songs and finding recordings they want to do.

“If they’re picking tunes and hanging out and listening to jazz recordings it becomes part of society and their community,” Deacon-Joyner said. “The students pull together toward a common goal.”

The jazz combo is open to all levels of musicians on any instrument.