Faculty Jazz Concert Highlights Talent

As a prelude to and in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. day, the Andover Music Department presented a Faculty jazz Concert last Sunday in the Timken Room.

“Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from [jazz] music,” the concert’s program stated.

Both the performers on stage and the program description itself emphasized jazz’s power to lend meaning and joy to humankind.

The first part of the concert featured Instructors in Music Peter Cicco and Raleigh Green on guitar, Bertram Lehmann on drums and Dave Zox on bass.

Following an intermission, a second band took the stage, comprised of Instructors in Music Bob Baughman on piano, Peter Cirelli on trombone, Lehmann on drums and Jesse Williams on bass.

The concert opened with Kurt Rosenwinkel’s “Minor Blues.” Green’s smooth steady guitar was accented subtly by Zox’s bass while Lehmann’s drums washed over the audience in waves of loud and soft rhythms.

Lehmann toyed with volume and created movements of heightened tension using the drum set’s cymbals.

With a cool and breezy energy to it, the piece set the mood for the rest of the concert.

Like all the music that followed it, “Minor Blues” was peppered with segments of improvisation. Cirelli, trombone player in the second band and Chair of the Music Department, said, “We communicate very well on stage. We often play tricks off each other and create little ideas in the middle of a piece that we elaborate on. It’s a lot of fun. It’s challenging, but always fun-oriented.”

Two of the concert’s pieces were written by one of the performers themselves.

Cicco wrote one of the pieces played by the first band, called “Yellow Ferrari.”

As Cicco and Green’s guitars climbed up and down the scale, Lehmann tapped out a steady beat that pulsed through the number.

“Vicissitudes,” the last piece of the concert, was written by Baughman and inspired by the phrase, “vicissitudes of life.”

According to Baughman, the piece channeled his reactions to life.

Many of the instrumentalists featured as soloists in the piece, showcasing their talents, while the number was punctuated by applause each time.

Cirelli said, “I really enjoyed playing Baughman’s ‘Vicissitudes.’ It was a lot of fun, especially with the improvisation portions.”

In addition to the performer’s expertise, many of the audience members also admired the instrumentalists’ choice of music.

Carl Johnson, W.B. Clift Head Music Librarian, said his favorite part of the performance was the grouping of the two pieces, Rahsaan Roland’s “Pedal Up” and Hugh Masekela’s “Until When.”

“I loved how [the musicians] moved seamlessly from ‘Pedal Up’ to ‘Until When.’ Instead of stopping after the first one, they moved straight into the second piece. I like the contrast between ‘Pedal Up,’ which was a very angular piece with a free jazz feel and many improvisations, to ‘Until When,’ which was mellifluous and provided a very smooth, supple harmony and calmer, softer, subtle harmonies,” he said.

Madeline Heijman, a timpani player from Amsterdam visiting family in Andover, said “Secret Love,” played by the first band, was one of her favorite pieces.

“I love that song. It’s been one of my favorites for a very long time and they played it so well. They were all great, especially the bass player [Zox]. He was fantastic.”