It wasn’t difficult to warm-up to the music of the Academy Jazz Band, whose performance in Kemper Auditorium last Sunday provided a nice respite from the cold and rainy weather outdoors. Three small ensembles preformed before the Academy Jazz Band took the stage. Positioned stage right, nestled among the music stands, was the opening ensemble, which began the recital with “Song for My Father” by Horace Silver. The piece contained unique parts for each instrument and soloists who displayed tremendous skill. These student musicians were Jon Weigel ’05 on soprano sax, Sam duPont ’04 on the trumpet, Ian Hafkenschiel ’04 on guitar, Nick Pappadopoulos ’04 on piano, Nate Greenberg ’05 on the bass, and Jason Duffett ’05 on the drums. The song served well as a pre-show and gave the audience a taste of what was to come. Although consisting of only four instrumentalists, the second ensemble filled the room with a nice, solid sound. Musicians Rohan Mathew ’04, piano, Tari Isham ’03, guitar, Alex Malozemoff ’05, bass, and Jamie Leggero ’03, drums, all did justice to “Straight, No Chaser,” by Thelonious Monk and “How High the Moon” by Morgan Lewis. The third ensemble brought energy to already lively songs when it played “Au Private” by Charlie Parker, “If You Never Come to Me” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, and “Scrapple from the Apple” by Charlie Parker. Again, individual solos brought a change in sound and the soloists hit all the right notes. Finally, the Academy Jazz Band in its entirety took the stage. Feet started tapping both on stage and in the audience, as the Jazz Band performed a Duke Ellington tune, “Ko-Ko.” The song was made available to the band through a program called “Essentially Ellington,” designed to bring awareness and performances of Ellington’s music to schools throughout the country. The saxophones, Anna Ho ’06, Robert Kim ’05, Sophie McCoy ’04, Morissa Sobelson ’05, Priya Sridhar ’03, and Gabe Worgaftik ’06 were “keeping it real” in the first row, with Ben Lasman ’06, Andrew Liao ’04, Han Lie ’04, and Max Parsons ’06 right behind them on the trombones. The trumpets brayed from the back, manned by Sam duPont ’04, Ben Heller ’05, Meaghan Kilian ’03, and Dan Serna ’04. Bursting out in a series of tunes with equal style and pizzazz, the band transformed the atmosphere of Kemper Auditorium to that of a jazz club. Performers also included Rashid Galadanci ’03 on the guitar, Rohan Mathew ’04 on the Piano, Jeremy Beecher ’04, Alex Malozemoff ’05 on the bass, Jeanne Allegranti ’03, and Andy Heighington ‘03 on the drums. Other songs performed were “Rockin’ in Rhythm” by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, and Harry Carney, “Lame Duck” by Jamey Aebersold, arrangement by Peter Blair, “I’ve Just Seen Her”, by Charles Strouse, arrangement by Billy Strayhorn, “Harlem Airshaft” by Duke Ellington, and “Bertha’s Bossa” by Jamey Aebersold, with arrangement by Peter Blair. Easy on the ear, light and carefree, the jazz selection from the recital was in itself enjoyable, and the tremendous performances enhanced its delight. The different rhythms, crooning saxophones, ringing trumpets, whispering cymbals, and deep bass all came together to form a unique style of music. The notes would switch from staccato and jumpy to smooth like molasses, changing from piece to piece or even within one song. Sometimes it seemed as if the audience was not in Kemper Auditorium on a Sunday afternoon, but in a smoky jazz club in a 1920s movie. Although the Duke Ellington pieces posed a great challenge, as the famous composer wrote his songs for the individual musicians in his band, the soloists and the Jazz Band proved up to the challenge. While some of the musicians seemed tired, and others seemed to be enjoying themselves, the energetic music kept the concert going. The Jazz Band itself worked together extremely well, handling abrupt stops, multiple parts, and complicated rhythms with poise and grace. On the whole, the musicians’ talents shone through and made the jazz concert an enjoyable hour on a rainy Sunday afternoon.