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Swaney 1 Sarah Swaney 800814849 Professor Cloer Music LBST Monday/Wednesday 9:30 April 22, 2014 Jazz Ensemble

le Concert Review I attended the presentation of "Stepping Stones to Freedom: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement, performed by Jazz Ensemble of the UNC Charlotte performing arts on April 22, 2014 in the Anne R. Belk Theater in Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. This performance included several songs by multiple artists. Corner Pocket composed by Freddie Green, A Night in Tunisia composed by John Birks Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paprelli, and Boplicity composed by Miles Davis are just a few to name from the ten pieces performed during the event. Clearly all of the pieces were jazz pieces from the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for equality in America. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this event put on by the UNC Charlotte Music Department. It was almost as though I became lost in the music and floated back in time to this era of injustice. Pictures from the Civil Rights Movement were displayed all throughout the songs, which also helped bring the history to life in present day and time. I was intrigued at all times. The faces of those playing the instruments were extremely entertaining. You could tell just by their expressions how emotionally involved they were with what they were playing. They were not just playing the piece, but they were truly feeling it in every way and ounce of their being. Their stage presence was confident and full of excitement, and they were clearly passionate about the music they were playing. The flow and transition between musical pieces was smooth and informative, as well as captivating.

Swaney 2 The jazz ensemble consisted of a pianist, percussionist, drummer, bass, guitar, trumpets, alto saxophonists, tenor saxophonist, trombones, vibraphonist, and a clarinetist. One of my favorite characteristics of jazz ensembles is the solos performed by various instrument sections during the pieces. Soloists during this performance included Alex Sherman on piano, Casey Blackwelder on trumpet, Jacob Drum on tenor saxophone, Daniel Perez on drums, Nathan Lloyd on percussion, and many others in the ensemble. Soloing is a key theme of jazz music, and is unique to jazz alone. The Anne R. Belk Theater is a medium sized room that included a lower seating section, an upper seating section, and even balconies overlooking the stage from the left and the right. Despite the relatively small ensemble, their music was not hindered by the size of the room. It also helped that when soloing, the soloists used microphones to help them stand out and be heard over the rest of the band. Although Ive never heard or been to a live jazz ensemble on the collegiate level, I attended and played in many jazz ensembles and performance of jazz ensembles while still in high school. In comparison to the high school jazz ensembles, the jazz ensemble of UNC Charlotte was much more sophisticated and truly excelled above any other performing group I have ever heard live. While I played in high school, we never truly accented or played the dynamics correctly. This jazz ensemble, on the other hand, proved how effective dynamics truly are in music pieces. I never realized until tonight that not playing the music the way it was written or the way it was intended to be played negatively impacted our band tremendously. The entire ensemble moved and played together effortlessly, staying in sync and coordinated at all times. I felt as though the whole purpose of this performance was to recreate the historical mindset and feel of the Civil Rights Movement. It was to reiterate the

Swaney 3 importance of this critical time period. Dareion Malone opened up the concert by reciting the Introduction to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, which really helped to set the mood and tone of the performance for the night. It talked about how, despite difference in skin colors, we all want the same things, and, We all want to love and be loved. The songs were performed immediately after the introduction, and were literally from this time period and helped to show the culture and environment. Music played such a vital role in the Civil Rights movement. It literally helped to integrate black and white by certain artists refusing to play for segregated audiences. I did not know this until attending the jazz ensemble tonight. It was also very educational. I was very impressed with the jazz ensemble, and they honestly exceeded my expectations of what I thought the night would be like. As Ive already stated, I love the soloing characteristic of jazz music. But I especially enjoyed that in the majority of the pieces performed tonight, the soloists completely improvised. In two of the pieces, the soloists simply soloed exactly the same as the initial performers did. It was very neat to have both new improvisations as well as previous ones throughout the concert. It was evident that the ensemble had put in countless hours of practice and preparation for their performance, and it was worthwhile. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate the jazz ensemble of UNC Charlotte at an eight. They were very elegant in their performance, and the music was calming and wonderful to listen to. Everyone in the audience seemed to be tapping their foot or nodding their head in beat or rhythm with the music. Anyone who attended or will attend another performance by this jazz ensemble will be very pleased and will leave knowing it was worth their time and money. The audience will become lost in the feel, sound, and historical context of the music.