On April 7, the Keene State College (KSC) Music Department presented Jazz Combos under the direction of tenor saxophonist Scott Mullett.

With the point of a finger from Mullett, the performance began. The Las Vegas Tango was the first song performed.

Colton Mccracken / equinox staff

Colton Mccracken / equinox staff

After the show, KSC senior Mackey Pope said, “I think the performance went pretty well. Everyone can benefit from more time practicing, whether that be scales, chords, melodies, riffs or transcribing, but overall the performance was well-executed with solid solos across the board from both the advanced members and beginners alike.”

The experience in the ensemble ranged from four-year members, to first semester members. Pope said, “I’ve been with the ensembles since my freshman year, second semester I think, but I was welcomed regardless of my jazz knowledge and playing ability.”

According to Pope, “Playing with Scott Mullet is a blast but it’s not just because he’s a renowned jazz musician who can drop very, very famous names. He’s a friend and mentor to all of us in the ensembles and he’s always teaching us new things, whether that be on-stage tips or practice room techniques.”

During the performance, the attire of the performers varied. From Led Zeppelin shirts to button downs, and even Hawaiian shirts, the only constant was the music and smiles.

In regards to the attire Mullett said, “I’m here to teach, not to make people feel bad. I don’t want to add any extra pressure for suit and tie.”

Throughout the concert, Mullett attempted to lighten the mood for his performers and audience members. At one point during the performance, Mullett said, “It is 8 o’clock, so that tells me that somewhere in the world, Kellyanne Conway has said something stupid,” after which the audience began laughing.

Audience member Jeff Kazin said comedy at a jazz event is common. “I’ve been to a lot of jazz concerts before and the director did a good job at using comedy to lighten the performance,” Kazin said.

During The Equinox’s interview with Mullett, he stressed the importance that music has in society. According to Mullett, “Everybody has a purpose on the planet, mine is to play music and teach. We must pass music down to the youth.” Mullett claimed onstage that “everybody has something to teach and as long as I am willing to learn from the students, I’m taught something new every day.”

In conclusion, the ensemble decided to go out in style by playing “The Chicken Dance.” Pope began hand gestures for clapping and soon enough, the crowd was playing along with the playful tune.

John Piatelli can be contacted at jpiatelli@kscequinox.com

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