Obama’s Catchphrase Inspires Faculty Jazz Concert

At Friday’s Faculty Jazz Concert, President Barack Obama’s catchphrase for the Affordable Care Act, “You Can Keep Your Doctor and Your Plan,” became the centerpiece of the night.

Bob Baughman, Adjunct Instructor in Music, used the saying as inspiration for an original new song. Baughman, who claimed that Obama has used the phrase 37 times, based the main phrase of his song “You Can Keep Your Doctor and Your Plan” on the line. He meant not to make a political statement, but rather to play on its ubiquity.

“Jazz artists’ compositions have at times referenced famous phrases and political figures, i.e., Herbie Hancock’s ‘I Have a Dream,’ Charles Mingus’s ‘Fables of Faubus,’” said Baughman in an email to The Phillipian.
With a strong theme and melody and bright piano riffs, “You Can Keep Your Doctor and Your Plan” elicited one of the most positive responses from the audience of the night.

The concert started off with “Driftin’,” by Herbie Hancock, played by a jazz quintet consisting of Vincent Monaco, Instructor in Music, on trumpet, Joel Springer, Adjunct Instructor in Music, on tenor saxophone, Baughman on piano, Jesse Williams, Adjunct Instructor in Music, on bass, and Bertram Lehmann, Adjunct Instructor in Music, on drums. The piece’s bluesy swing style distinguished it from Hancock’s better-known funk, pop and jazz-rock works.

A high, piercing trumpet note from Monaco led the piece. With solos from the piano, trumpet, saxophone, bass and drums, each of the performers had the opportunity to show off their individual talents. The saxophone played bright licks throughout each feature, holding the piece together.

Another faculty-composed piece, “Panorama,” by Peter Cicco, Adjunct Instructor in Music, was played by Raleigh Green, Adjunct Instructor in Music, and Cicco on guitar, Dave Zox, Adjunct Instructor in Music, on bass and Lehmann on drums. “Panorama” began with an upbeat guitar solo from Green. Full of chromatic scales and pentatonic themes, it contrasted sharply with the earlier pieces.

“The tune ‘Panorama’ came out of studying several different pentatonic scales and the chords that come from them. All the chords and melodic motives in this tune are derived from the same pentatonic scale built off of different root notes. Rhythmically, the melody is organized around the same pattern of eighth note syncopated accents, similar to how much Latin music is organized. The title ‘Panorama’ implies vast space, and there are many empty measures between each melodic phrase,” said Cicco.

“[‘Panorama’’s] strong bassline has a syncopated, asymmetric structure that is fun to play around with, especially on the drums. Otherwise, the tune is formally, unlike Baughman’s, very simple. That balance
is important,” said Lehmann.

“It was really cool to be able to hear a lot of the things I’ve learned come into play and also to hear some fresh ideas that really challenged me when I tried to wrap my head
around them,” said Arthur Doran ’15, who attended the concert.