Jazz band students showcase original works
Webster University music majors showcased their talents in front of a crowd of about 37 people at part one of The Jazz Combo Concert on April 2. The event was held at 7 p.m. in the Community Music School.
“The event is good for our students to show their talent as musicians,” Paul DeMarinis, director of the jazz program, said. “They worked so hard and they’re dedicated to their improvement into the music.”
Participating students were divided into four groups. Dre Concepcion, flute; Andrew Vogel, tenor sax; Kierston Rose, vocals and piano; Guy Cantowine, bass; and Kevin Cheli, drums, performed first. DeMarinis directed the group’s performance.
The group did a rendition of “It Could Happen to You/Fried Bananas” by Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen and Dexter Gordon. The group also performed a song written by Rose called “Want the Change.”
“I have been writing songs for 32 years,” Rose, a junior Music Technology/Jazz major, said. “I did this song with another group I was in and I wanted to put another texture on it with the flute and saxophone player.”
Madison Boan, vocals; Jacob Herberlie, guitar; Jacob Stergos, bass; and Steve Haake, drums performed second. Christopher Braig directed their performance. They did their versions of “Wave” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and “Summertime” by George Gershwin and DuBose Hayward.
Willie Akins, a St. Louis jazz legend and Webster Groves native, directed the remaining groups.
“I picked the songs from my own collection and a variation of tunes,” Akins said. “I picked the best tunes that each group could play like ‘How High the Moon’ and ‘Sleeping Dancer Sleep On.’”
Akins said it wasn’t hard to direct two different groups.
“Both of the groups were good, but it was bass player, Mark Wallace, who was the foundation in each of the groups,” Akins said.
Wallace, senior jazz performance major, said it was fun to perform with two different groups.
“It was exciting, but busy, having two hours of rehearsal every week,” Wallace said.
The event ended with a performance of Charlie Parker’s “Diggin with Diz.”
DeMarinis was very pleased with the turn out and his students’ performances.
“The more you perform and the more experience you have will make you a better musician, and (you will) sound better,” DeMarinis said.