Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stetson Jazz Ensemble Concert 10-3-12

Joe Burns singing out
Palm Coast Jazz caught the first concert of the fall season from Stetson University's Jazz Ensemble last night in DeLand - a fine opening performance from the 19 piece unit led by Don Waldrop.

The concert was short and sweet - dominated by swingin' Count Basie charts from Sammy Nestico  - handled with finesse and soul by the band. The balance was especially delightful & lush during the quite, mellow numbers like "Li'l Darlin'" (Neil Hefti) and former director George West's neat arrangement of "Round Midnight" for the trombones.

Joe Davis wailing on baritone
Joe Burns and Andrew Fridsma listen while Tim Eggen lays it down

Frank Foster's crowd pleaser "Shiny Stockings" had panache, as did "Look for the Silver Lining", with a cool harmon mute solo from Tim Eggen. Joe Burns' displayed a clarion tone and well-honed technique during Nestico's "Rachael"; and a fascinating sound color brightened the rhythm section via Rahkeem George's tenor pan drum (Rahkeem also soloing well). 

Rakeem George adding a new texture on tenor pan

Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love" got the Nestico treatment along with superb sounds from trombonist Joe Warner. The 8 piece combo then took over with impressive drives through "Impanema" and "Ladybird".

Saving the best for last on a few fronts - Waldrop led the band through Bob Florence's "Cole Porter Stomp". Here the band was at it's tightest, swinging hard and filling the Stetson Room with layers of brass, wind and cymbals (drummer Joshua Albert rocked the whole evening) and letting loose with the most centered improvisations of the night from baritone saxophonist Joe Davis and Paul Kollas on the alto. The crowd was instantly on it's feet.

Joe Warner - trombone, Don Waldrop leading the Jazz Ensemble
The sound in the room is surprisingly full bodied. A thoughtful touch to the evening was to mic and skype the concert to long-time director George West - who is very ill.

Kudos and respect to director Don Waldrop, an A-lister from the Los Angeles music scene for 35 years (who among other things, recorded 11 albums with Bob Florence); and congrats to the band for the skilled performance. The next concert is in November - check the Stetson schedule for details. - PCJ

Some of the Stetson Jazz Ensemble brass section playing the last note of the evening!

No comments:

Post a Comment