I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Pacific Lutheran University to attend their University Jazz Ensemble's final performance of the semester. The concert was Wednesday, April 22 at the Karen Hille Phillips Center which was a really nice venue, seating was great and everything was really easy to see and hear. PLU's Professor of Music and Director of JAzz studies, David Deacon-Joyner was directing the jazz ensemble with one performance being guest conducted by incoming Professor, Dr. Ron Gerhardstein. Overall the performance was very concise and very entertaining. Dr. Deacon-Joyner started the evening off with a tune called Hindi Gumbo by Fareed Haque, arr. Joe Duran. This is a song you just want to jam to and it almost doesn't even feel like a jazz song with the electric guitar riffs and funky bass line. It almost felt like Oprah was directing the show with all the solos be tossed in left and right but there were three notable solos I feel I have to mention or I wouldn't be giving the proper credit and that would be the trombone, tenor sax, and drums. They all absolutely took crowd for a ride.
The next two performances, When I fall in Love by Victor Young/Edward Heyman and The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife are some Jive Ass Slippers by Charles Mingus were both great because there was a lot transitions in them. Love, definitely made use of the band's ability to switch tempo and dynamics. The song starts off slow and soft, reminding me of a serenading smoky lounge, perhaps during a snowy winter evening in the city, but as we progress the band would bring the forte and the faster tempo. Fisherman's Wife also started off soft and slow but picks up much quicker. There is a few switched from major to minor with some sax and trumpet improvisation highlighting the song. The last piece before intermission was a real treat, Hop, Skip, and Jump from Ray Brown. This was definitely another song highlighting the talent of the saxophone and trombone players.