Twenty-one musicians took the stage of the Redfern Arts Center Main Theater to illustrate various genres of jazz during Jazz Ensemble’s spring concert on Wednesday, April 26.

The performance consisted of 12 pieces with a brief intermission to split the set and was led by Director Steve Cady.

The ensemble opened its performance with Composer Don Menza’s “Back Home.”

Following was Composer Sammy Nestico’s “Whirlybird” which Cady described as suitable for bigger ensembles.

“There’s a couple of pieces [in the program] that you would’ve heard played by the Count Basie Orchestra [a bigger, Grammy award-winning jazz band from the swing era], including ‘Whirlybird,’” Cady said.

Additionally, Jazz Ensemble performed Victor Young’s “When I Fall in Love” featuring a saxophone solo from senior Hannah Webber.

Following intermission, the musicians welcomed the audience back with “On Green Dolphin Street,” an original score by Polish filmmaker Bronislaw Kaper but arranged by composer Les Hooper. The piece also featured a solo by senior percussionist Alex Vance. “One of my favorite big band charts ever is ‘On Green Dolphin Street”’ by Les Hooper… I just adore that arrangement,” Cady said.

The performance also featured Canadian jazz trumpet player and composer Maynard Ferguson’s “Dance to Your Heart” and Benny Carter’s “Meetin Time.”

“The second to last number… ‘Meetin Time’ is not a very difficult or showy [piece], it just gets a strong, spiritual meaning for the band so we [were] looking forward to that,” Cady said.

Jazz Ensemble closed the performance with “Walk Don’t Run,” an original piece by Johnny Smith but arranged by Quincy Jones.

Going into the performance, Cady said he believed his students were capable of delivering an impactful performance.

“I [was] very confident, the band is in excellent shape and we’ve got a wonderful program,” Cady said. “We [were] in good condition and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the music.” In addition to introducing a few of the pieces in the program, Cady also took the time to recognize the graduating seniors of the ensemble: Webber, Vance, Andrew Cropper, Trevor Senecal, Michael Vlachos, and Rory Butler.

“I’m very proud of observing the veteran students in the band help the younger or newer members and also understand how to do things better and to understand how to interpret my requests and to help them understand the culture of the band,” Cady said. “… It’s one of the primary reasons that the band continues to be good and will be good without those seniors next year.”

Cady said that he hoped that the performance opened the audience’s eyes to the beauty of jazz music.

“I especially enjoy when people say after a jazz concert, “‘Wow, I didn’t know that I would like a jazz concert, but I really like that,”’ Cady said. “A lot of folks might not be aware of all of those sub-genres and sounds and feels… when they hear jazz music they think about a smoky club and a saxophone… they don’t realize it can be more powerful than rock and roll or more articulate than orchestral music or more passionate than popular music.”

Nicole Dumont can be contacted at

Share and Enjoy !