Jazz Combo incorporates global influences and original compositions in fall concert – The Lafayette

An upbeat mix of piano, drums, brass and bass echoed through the Williams Center for the Arts as the Jazz Combo gave their fall concert last Monday.

The concert featured nine musicians and incorporated music by Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver and Freddie Hubbard, as well as an original composition by one of the band members, Zach Freiheiter ’23.

Jazz Combo is a performance ensemble that focuses on different styles of music across subgenres of jazz music including swing, Afro-Cuban music, Brazilian music and more. According to director Thomas DiCarlo, the small size of the ensemble reflects the number of great groups in the history of jazz music, such as the Miles Davis Quintet, Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, involving five to nine. musicians.

“We usually include bass, piano, drums, and any horns or any other instrument that is part of the rhythm section. For example, last night we had steel drums, saxophone and myself on trumpet. This semester we have three drummers, two pianists, one among all the others, ”Freiheiter said.

Referring to the select pieces performed at the concert, DiCarlo said he wanted his students master the language of jazz and find out more about the “the idioms of jazz music, how to swing, history, the great composers, musicians, bands and songs of that great music we call jazz.

For DiCarlo, playing the right notes is only part of a great performance.

“Presentation, stage presence, fashion and communication with the public are the other elements of this equation. I help students correct notes, articulation, sound, intonation, mix, shape, arrangements, and so on, ”said DiCarlo. “I also teach them to run a music program, to have a flow between songs, continuity for the listener.”

DiCarlo further expressed that he wants the students to be independent and comfortable on stage, which translates into a great performance as well as a full experience for the audience.

The Jazz Combo fall concert was inspired by the world. Freiheiter noted that most jazz comes from African music which was adapted by the 20th century. musicians in America, and the influence of African music in their performance pieces is evident. Freiheiter’s original composition was inspired by Japanese composer Yasunori Mitsuda, who is best known for his works in video games.

“I absolutely loved his only song, ‘Memories of Dreams’. So I looked at the harmony of it and used a very similar harmony. I added a few parts, and used it as a base, and then I had to find a melody, ”Freiheiter said.

The flexibility and active involvement of the members in the choice of music and the direction of the group is another unique aspect that characterizes Jazz Combo. DiCarlo noted that students are strongly encouraged to compose their own music and bring it to class.

Likewise, Freiheiter noted that more than half of the songs in the concert were songs the members suggested to DiCarlo they wanted to play. For example, the piece “Nutville” by Horace Silver was a suggestion from drummer Jordan Leiber ’22.

“It’s a really fun way to do the set because if each person brings something they love to the table, everyone is going to want to do it right because someone really wants that song,” Freiheiter said. .

DiCarlo highlighted this sense of camaraderie among the members as one of the main reasons the ensemble works so well.

The performance was exceptional because not only was the music played well, but [the students] also had a stage presence which made it an enjoyable musical experience for those who attended,”Said DiCarlo.

Those interested in Jazz Combo can contact DiCarlo at [email protected].

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