JU Student Jazz Combo Concert

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Illistration By: Matthew Martin

“When I think of jazz, I think of freedom; freedom of expression, of ideas and all creative ideals,” said Chavis Fulmore, senior music business major.

Floating off the walls of Swisher Theater was a cool, smooth sound on the evening of March 13.

Held by the Division of Music, the Jacksonville University Jazz Combos performed a mixture of melodies that were collaborated into three separate combos of students, featuring some faculty professors.

Returning for the second time from a hiatus off the big stage, the Combos performed the past couple concerts in the Phillips Fine Arts building, most commonly known as the “Black Box” which granted a jazz club experience, allowing for a more personal environment between the musicians and the guests.

However the larger stage at the Swisher Theater permitted the performers to showcase jazz’s variety through alternating tempos, sound and soul, specifically through their sultry solos. Some of the compositions were upbeat and energized, like “King Freddie of Hubbard” played by Combo One. Other compositions offered the audience a slower and calmer resonance, such as “Wave” played by Combo Three, coaxing the crowd to maintain a mellow mood.

Combo Two played a difficult, attention-grabbing “Blue Rondo a La Turk,” in tribute to Dave Brubeck, who died this past year.

“It is one of my personal favorite jazz pieces,” Fulmore said. “With his passing just recently, it was the perfect way for those musicians to show their appreciation for such a leading figure in the world of jazz music. ‘Blue Rondo a La Turk’ is not an easy piece of music to perform.”

Excitement rushed through the theater when faculty sat proudly behind their instruments on stage. Among the group was Richard Kirkland, adjunct drum professor at JU, who played a few pieces including “Think of One,” performed by Combo One.

“He was so into it,” Kevin Barth, junior aviation major at JU said. “He was one with the music and it came out.”

The audience varied between fellow instrumentalists, vocalists and other JU students; families, faculty and who could forget, President Tim Cost.

“It was a really good mix of sound,” Barth said. “It was my first time coming, and I’m really glad I came out. They did a fantastic job.”

Due to other events occurring on and off campus and because it was the week leading up to spring break, there were not as many warm bodies sitting in the theater’s seats as there has been previously. Although the crowd was somewhat thin, they were enthusiastic with their bouncing heads, tapping feet and were always eager to clap and shout a cheer of approval.

“I just believed the timing of the concert was unfair to the musicians,” Fulmore said. “They deserve to play in front of the biggest crowd for their dedication and discipline.”

Being proud and admiring the musician’s talent and hard work isn’t just for their family members.

“Taking a step back and watching your fellow peers perform is great because I see the improvement and development from all their hard work,” Fulmore said. “It’s something you can’t take for granted. You cherish seeing your friends perform.”

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