Photo courtesy of Allie Mcswain
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— On Sept. 26 in Terry Concert Hall, the JU Jazz Faculty put on a show featuring some of their latest work.
Among the works performed was their new single, “Vitamin G,” which was released that night.
The band, Delfini Jazz, is composed entirely of JU faculty.
Members of the band include John Ricci on saxophone; David Champagne on trumpet; Scott Giddens on the organ, although on the album he will be playing the piano; Gary Starling on guitar; Rick Kirkland on drums; and Stan Piper, who could not be at the concert, but will be on the album on bass.
The band is to release their extended play album, or EP, titled “Project Alpha” in November. They have been working with Dolphinium Records to produce the EP.
The cover of the album was created by the students of the JU art department, with the band’s aesthetic in mind.
Allie McSwain, the president of Dolphinium records, explained how the collaboration began.
“We started working with the JU Jazz Faculty last spring originally for a commercial recordings class and have been working on the final production stages these last few months,” she said.
The label works by scouting for talented recording artists who are actively performing original material, which are then brought back to a board to decide whether the artist fits Dolphinium’s vision.
The night consisted of a number of original songs, some composed by the members of the band.
The song “Ballerina” was composed by Ricci. Ricci dedicated the piece to his wife, who was a former ballerina and now works as a teacher. Other songs, such as the newly-released “Vitamin G,” were composed by Giddens. “My Feet” was composed by Champagne.
Audience members included family, friends, and students of the band. Some of their students didn’t go to Jacksonville University, but had come specifically to see them play.
“We hadn’t actually rehearsed until today [Sept. 26], so sometimes that nervous energy makes for a fresh performance,” Ricci said.
For some in attendance, jazz is more than just music.
Alison Rhodes is a student of one of the band members.
“Jazz is a triumphant music,” she said. “It is a democratic music and it’s just a way of self-expression to give people who don’t have a voice a way to express themselves.”
The newly renovated Terry Concert Hall hosted a large crowd to soak up all the music. The main focus of the night was to showcase the talent of the JU Jazz Faculty band and to raise awareness for their album.
McSwain says to expect a variety of song types from the EP.
“Vitamin G is a up-beat, crowd-engaging song,” she said. “But, there are a couple slower ones within the album that will lead you on to other places.”
Lauren Polimeno, a JU student, enjoyed the variety the concert offered.
“I thought it was a unique experience and it gave me a new outlook on jazz music,” she said. “There were plenty of variation between the songs they played.”
Following the concert, there are a number of events happening in the Performance Art Series showing off what Jacksonville University’s students and faculty has to offer. To join the mailing list and for full calendar listing you can email [email protected]
Delfini Jazz’s “Project Alpha” will be released this November.
“I hope people could see how universal jazz language can be,” Ricci said. “That the audience can understand the story behind the writing, that they will have a connection, learn something new, and that they appreciate jazz that much more.”