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Ira Sullivan and Frost Concert Jazz Band: An Evening to Remember Tony Wilson once declared: "Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented. Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does." I came across this quote several years ago but it especially grated on me as I made my way to the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall in the evening of November 29th.
But, I did have the ticket and a classmate of mine insisted, so off we went. I was expecting one of those obligatory events where we go through the motions and become glad when they are over. But I was pleasantly surprised when the curtain fell - so to speak - I found I quite enjoyed the affair and was delighted and inspired to some extent. I was particularly impressed with the Bird Count, the piece composed and arranged by Maria Schneider. I have watched this played once by a high school ensemble and I was mortified with the cacophony of sounds that came out of the performance. The thing is that this particular number includes numerous musical components. Besides the rhythm, saxophone and horn sections, it included several sets of drums. So an inexperienced or less talented jazz group could ruin the music. This is the case especially when jazz allows for improvisation from among the musicians and the music could be difficult to control. I was taken aback by the manner that the performance was executed. It was seamless, harmonious and, well... upbeat! For me, it set the tone for the performances throughout the night. It captured the very essence of American Jazz, carefree and engaging, to the point that the spectator is exhorted to stand and go swinging as well. ...
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