Jazz Combo showcases unique ensemble


Ryan Fischer

During “Mystery Time,” all members of the Jazz combo were given new sheet music and 45 seconds to compose themselves before delivering an almost impromptu performance, April 5, 2016.

Jazz Combo I filled the Jomie Jazz forum in more ways than one Wednesday night with its “Up Close and Personal” concert directed by Dr. Martin Saunders.

The combo’s large sound and 18-member ensemble had the room bursting at the seams.

“Due to a small scheduling snafu we had to move over here instead of our normal location in Smith Music Hall,” Saunders said.  “So, in order to make this work we have got a slightly different set up than we normally do.”

The concert began with this disclaimer and following statements contending the show would be full of out of the ordinary circumstances.

“This will be an adventure in sound and the fusion of sound this evening with an 18-member big band in this smaller space,” Saunders said.  “At any rate, we are going to have fun and we hope everyone enjoys it.”

The set opened with a few modern pieces, closed with a modern jazz three movements arrangement, but had a twist in the middle.

Jazz I members were given a song they had never seen before to play during its concert.

“Whether you can call it threats or promise, I have told these guys that at one of our future concerts we were actually going to hand out a piece at the concert for them to read and perform. They have 45 seconds to look over it,” Saunders said.  “They didn’t do half bad.”

Students in the studio group agreed this impromptu public sight reading was out of the ordinary but exciting.

“It’s not a normal thing that you see in every concert, so that’s cool,” bassist Lars Swanson said.

Jazz I also includes saxophonists Jarohn Grandstaff, John Seals, Bobby Galloway, Jonathan Goff, Adam O’Neal and Beau Clayton, trombonists Joshua DeHaven, Joshua McCallister, Evan Kuhn and Bradley Brown, trumpeters Josie Fisher, Gabe Muncy, Justin Bahawi and Andrea Withee, pianist Tim Smith, percussionist Keith Burgess and vocalist KeAnna Georges.

Leah Cook can be contacted at [email protected].