The Keene State Jazz Combos kept it groovy with their fall concert Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Redfern Arts Center Alumni Recital Hall.
The ensemble consists of KSC music majors, minors, and other members of the college community with a shared passion for jazz music. The performance was split between the 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Friday Combo courses..
Beginning the night was “Chega de Saudade” by Brazilian Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Following was an arrangement by ensemble Director Steve Cady titled “Pentagony.”
“I think it is actually a world premiere [of my piece], I don’t think anybody’s heard that,” Cady said.
The ensemble also performed “Money” by Pink Floyd, which featured vocals from junior Trevor Adams.
Sophomore saxophonist Miles Johnstone said that this piece was highly anticipated yet the most challenging.
“We’re finally playing it… and that one’s a lot of fun for everybody,” Johnstone said. “ [It] was a little challenging just because of lining the rhythm with everybody… but we were able to get it down.”
The second half of the performance included “Valentine” by Icelandic singer Laufey and featured vocals from sophomore percussionist and music major Victoria Young. She also arranged the piece, Cady said.
The ensemble closed out the performance with “Dull Pants,” which was arranged by senior Trevor Senecal.
“[It’s] an original composition by Trevor Senecal who’s a veteran of the band and trumpet player,” Cady said. “That’s an original piece and world premiere on the program which is cool.”
Jazz Combos made it to the stage Saturday night after only rehearsing one hour every Friday this semester.
“It’s been a bit of an interesting term though, because we [had] two Fridays which there have been no class,” Cady said. “Between that and other students missing a week here and there, it [was a challenge].”
Johnstone agreed that cancellation of class was an obstacle to overcome.
“I’d definitely say missing those rehearsals was kind of a blow… but you know we got through it,” Johnstone said.
Johnstone mentioned that it is his first semester with the ensemble and that he enjoys the close-knit environment.
“It’s definitely something new for me since I’m mostly in large ensembles, it’s more of an intimate setting where you get to work closely with your peers which I appreciate,” Johnstone said. “Everybody tries to be encouraging all the time, especially when you’re soloing which can be nerve-wracking.”
Cady hopes that the audience left with a better understanding of jazz music and the creativity that goes into it.
“[I hope] that they would like to come back and hear another one and they might have a slightly improved [and] broadened understanding of what jazz music might represent,” Cady said. “… If people come to it, I want them to have fun… just ‘cause it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not difficult but you can [still] learn from it.”
Nicole Dumont can be contacted at