**The jazz concert included one original composition.**
With a loud and piercing trumpet note, Vincent Monaco, Instructor in Music, starts the faculty favorite song “I Mean You,” composed by Thelonious Monk. Jesse Williams, Adjunct Instructor in Music, strums his blue bass and nods his head in time with the rhythm while Robert Baughman, Adjunct Instructor in Music, plays an upbeat solo on the piano. Underscoring these various instruments is Bill Reynolds, a friend of the faculty musicians, playing a steady beat on the drums.
“I Mean You” was one of ten songs played by two faculty ensembles at Friday evening’s Faculty Jazz Concert in the Timken Room of Graves Hall. Monaco, Reynolds, Baughman and Williams, along with saxophonist, Joel Springer, Adjunct Instructor in Music, and trombonist, Peter Cirelli, Instructor and Chair in Music, composed the brass-centered ensemble. The second group was a quartet comprising Raleigh Green and Peter Cicco, Adjunct Instructors in Music, on guitar, Dave Zox, Adjunct Instructor in Music, on bass and Reynolds on drums.
The brass-centered ensemble began the concert with a five-song program that included one of Baughman’s own compositions, “The Rule of Law.” Reynolds began the song with a complex and lively drum solo before the brass instruments quickly joined in. Strong drum beats pervaded the tune, with trumpet and saxophone solos providing a light contrast.
“I try to write something for every faculty jazz concert… I may choose to title a piece to honor a person (i.e. family members, friends, jazz pianists Bill Evans and James Williams, McCoy Tyner, etc.) or an idea (i.e. ‘the Rule of Law’ which refers to how we are governed in our nation) or maybe use a play on words,” wrote Baughman in an email to The Phillipian.
The quartet played jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans’s “Time Remembered” in the second half of the concert. The piece started with a mellow swish from a drum brush used by Reynolds, contrasting with the loud drum cymbals of “Seven Steps in Heaven,” by Victor Feldman. The sweeping of the brush on the snare created a watery vibrating background, complementing the slow melody of the guitars played by Green and Cicco.
Green said, “I got a real soft spot for ‘Time Remembered.’ It is harmonically very intriguing and has a lot of key changes. It is just a lot of fun to play with a lot of lyricism.”
The quartet played “Will You Still Be Mine?” written by Matt Dennis, to end the concert. The song’s cascading guitar notes contrasted with the previous, peaceful “Time Remembered.” Additionally, a steady beat on the snare created a subtle harmony for the swift melody before the piece closed with a quick guitar note.
“[Playing a jazz concert] is always an adventure. Part of the trick is to make great music with very little rehearsal, so a lot of decisions were made beforehand, some of which happened. If they don’t happen, we’ve got to figure out how to work it on the fly, which is part of the fun,” said Green.