Deep and soulful, there really is no other music genre quite like jazz. On Friday, Dec. 1, the Keene State College Music Department presented performances done by the Jazz Combos, in a performance directed by Scott Mullett. Mullett could not attend the performance night.
The three featured jazz combo ensembles still performed without a hitch and the night continued on smoothly, led by senior music performance major Eric Dill, who performed various instruments in all three jazz combos.
“I got told this two days ago,” Dill said about emceeing the event and announcing each song to be performed.
“They were just like ‘Hey, do you want to talk for [the performance]?’ and I was just like ahh ahh okay!”
Dill said his experience with acting and public speaking helped him during the night, but it was very different going up on stage without a script or something written out.
First year music performance major, Nicholas So, was part of the audience and thought the performance went great, and thought Eric also did a great job taking over announcing performers and songs.
“He did a great job keeping everyone together. You could tell how hard he really had to work for it.” So said.
“I thought that they really enjoyed the music, and that kind of reflected on the audience, they kind of grooved with it.” So said.
Mullet mentioned the importance of exposing musical students to the “more raw emotional language” of jazz music.
“When you travel the world, this is what people identify as American music, is jazz,” Mullet said. “I think any American musician should know some of this ‘language.’ To try and express yourself on a level of this difficulty it’s just mind-boggling. I think it’s really important to have some of this understanding.”
Mullet also noted that jazz has a unique spot for “the freedom of soloing,” and how they might play something one way one day, differently to the next day or performance.
Each jazz combo featured various instruments and nearly every performer had a solo feature throughout the performances.
“All of the solos are on spot,” Dill said, “Usually in rehearsals we do solos all the time… we play a song and everyone gets a solo.”
So said of the many solo performances that took place throughout the performances that “They did really well. Everyone got the spotlight, but no one got the spotlight too long.”
Mullet said he was not worried about the students performing without him there, saying he knew they would perform just fine.
Of the students he works with, he said he loves working with “young cats” and that their eagerness to play is a great way to end his teaching week.
“They enrich my life. I kid you not,” Mullet concluded. “They really just make my musical life more interesting because they are learning new things and they’re always excited, they are always ready to go.”
Meridith King can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org