On April 27, the Spring Jazz Ensemble Concert, “Insert Title, Hear,” was filled with features and fun upbeat ensemble moments.
Scott Meier, Ph.D., conducted the ensemble.
The ensemble opened with “Sha-Boppin’” by George W. Russel, which included solo work by Mercyhurst alumnus Dillon Shidemantle on flugelhorn and great improvisation by Morgan Dowches on alto saxophone.
The trombone section was phenomenal towards the end of the piece during their solo part.
During the ensemble’s first feature piece, one of the trumpet players, Shidemantle stepped up to the front to sing “Knock on Wood” with whole-hearted enthusiasm.
The tune was over all too quickly, and the audience enjoyed the fun and engaging performance with Shidemantle fronting the band.
The next two pieces, “Grace” and “Julian,” featured one of the night’s guest soloists, saxophonist Bethany Dressler.
Dressler had arranged the chart “Grace” as a saxophone duet, which was performed with Meier.
It was a wonderful piece and the light melodies danced from the duo.
“Julian” was upbeat compared to the former piece, and featured an Afro-Cuban jazz style.
This piece featured Dressler as the soloist, and the solo melody was passed around the ensemble from section to section.
The next piece with a vocalist was “How Long Has This Been Going On?” featuring Patrick Smith. It was the last vocal chart of the evening.
This tune was over all too quickly as Smith serenaded the audience with an emotionally moving performance.
The ensemble’s second to last tune of the night was “Spain” by Chick Corea and arranged by Paul Jennings.
This fast-paced tune made you want to get up and dance around with the groove put out by the rhythm section.
The ensemble held the attention of the audience with dynamic contrasts, which made it seem like a it would be a tragedy to miss even a single beat.
The Mercyhurst Spring Jazz Ensemble Concert was closed out with “Big Swing Face” by Bill Potts.
This tune, like “Spain,” displayed stunning dynamic contrast that kept the audience of the edge of their seats.
Every semester, the Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Meier, always leaves the guests beaming and feeling light-hearted on their way home.