Jazz Concert Report
On May 312012, The Jazz Station in Eugene hosted a unique and spectacular jazz concert in the history of Oregon dubbed the ‘Afterglow Party’. The performance was primarily a display for Harmonic Laboratory, a collection of artists situated in the University of Oregon and the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. The concert was located in the Hult Center Lobby and featured works from several promising musicians who came up with an assortment of unique musical combinations. This was an ideal chance to witness an extensive diversity of music, which for the beginner jazz enthusiast, was wonderful. However, it was not only the music but also several different works of art that made this show successful. The ambiance in the Hult Center Lobby was largely responsible for the success of the jazz concert. The management had installed dim lighting and added the sensitive touch of a candle on each table that gave the whole concert a romantic feel. Although the Hult Center Lobby was packed with revelers and artists, the atmosphere was generally peaceful and soothing. There was likeability and effortlessness in the way each of the performances took place.
One of the spectacular aspects of this performance was the addition of Harmonic Laboratory. The performance by this group was tremendously enjoyed because it seemed easier to listen and analyze the music. The first song that the group played captivated the whole crowd while the second performance was equally entertaining. Immediately the first song began, I realized they were singing several familiar tunes. In the music, I managed to grasp a basic right hand melody being played that gave the piece a lighthearted sound.
The next showcase was a quartet with a tenor sax, the piano and trombone. This performance could be categorized as my favorite performance in the whole event. The music had a supernatural and mystifying tune achieved by playing with minors. There was a strong prominence on the antiphony aspect (call and response) particularly at the start of the music. Using minor notes and keys generated conflicting noises occasionally in the process of the performance. In this quartet, the audience was given the privilege of viewing all the instruments on stage including the tenor sax, the piano and trombone. One skill the saxophone player was particularly adept at was the repeated use of sequential chords instead of the conventional ringing (arpeggios). The piano player would also play a strong tune simultaneously and then simmer down gradually. There was undoubtedly a rough feeling to this performance. The song would have made a convincing soundtrack for a James Wan movie such as Saw. This music had everything an accomplished jazz song should have and I was beside myself with satisfaction and admiration. Towards the conclusion, the music gradually developed its climax and then it abruptly ended.
The next performance was the whole group Harmonic Laboratory and involved all the instruments on stage. The song began slowly and disorganized but soon picked up into the conventional stay rhythm that is common to jazz. The trombone began and followed by the trumpet and lastly, the piano. This blend and the way the music was played gave off a genuinely depressed feeling. The sound was somewhat gloomy. The two instruments were also competing with each other and kept overlapping and increasing in volume. In between the pauses, the leader of the group casually talked to us, and he kept us engaged as they prepared the next set.
The song entitled ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong was played by a quartet having a drum set, a bass guitar and piano. The drum set started the piece and applied exceptionally strong kicks and snares to stress the melody. The bass guitar joined in a little later with a rougher accent after which Jeremy Schropp finally kicked in with the piano. All the players used a 4/4 time with a temporary interjection by the bassist who resorted to chords one and three using the right hand. The music was unquestionably a combination of soul and blues. It had strong beats and ostinato (repealed bass lines) that made most of the audience starts to nod their heads and tap their feet. Towards the conclusion of the song, the piano started to get more dominant by focusing on the right hand chords solely. The piano player injected freestyle notes using this new priority and slowly repeated several scales and notes. The piano generated quick scales and made use of the bottom chords. Ultimately, the piano man started to lessen his strokes, and the music grew fainter. In conclusion, the players made use of the ritardando technique that required a steady decrease in tempo.
The next session that began was created and mastered by Jon Bellona. This quartet was made up of a drummer, bass, and alto sax. The song started with the bass player repeating a bass line, followed by the entry of the drum player who merely used the drums sticks to dull the sound by hitting the side of the drum set. He repeated this style for two measures after which the sax man came in and played his piece for an extra two measures. After the sax completed the two measures, the drummer started again with some signs. This song was performed in 3/3 timing, and it absolutely held a cheery feeling. The feeling was similar to that felt when watching an actor in a 1950’s film walking down the alleys of Michigan while experiencing utter joy at the great occurrences in their life.
Bellona entered for a solo and worked with the bass and drums bringing up the background. At this point, the drummer mostly used the snares and cymbals. During this session, the alto sax takes over and cooperates with all the other instruments in the quartet. Several arpeggios appear throughout this song. The general trend of the piece, however, inclined towards AABA. Towards the conclusion, the drummer performed a rapid solo and followed by a rapid solo from the bass guitar. As the song begins to fade out, the drummer goes back to hitting his outer rim with accompanying sounds from the bassist. The bassist ends the song in the same manner he started it.
In spite of my poor musical knowledge, I had a fantastic time at the Jazz Station. This expression summarizes the skills and quality of the music and artists that performed in the concert. On a personal level, this concert offered me a revitalizing perception into jazz and the limitless potential for the harmony it can create. This was one of the biggest benefits of attending this jazz concert. I had the best occasion to listen to many diverse art groups perform with different levels of skills. One can listen to different types of jazz groups, different jazz music and settle on the best type of music and band. Some people seemed to prefer slow jazz, other funky and yet other fast-paced. Overall, there was enough entertainment for diverse tastes in jazz music. Another benefit of attending this jazz concert was that I had the opportunity to take notes that would be essential when writing an academic essay as I learnt new skills such as training my ear to grasp different sounds and techniques. Apart from this, I also developed a deeper appreciation for the diverse talents among jazz musician and for the musical experts who founded the versions in jazz that later became the world’s best musical expressions.