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1  In-Class Critiques / Jazz Concert Critiques / Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25 on: April 11, 2010, 07:17:08 pm

I was able to attend “The Cotton Club” concert on the McCarty Theatre, room 6120 of Miami Dade, Kendal Campus. Being that this was my second concert, I was expecting for it to be something like my first concert which was the Jazz assemble concert, but on the contrary it was very different. To start with, the setting was not the same. This setting was more like a small band. It did have a pianist, one drummer, a bassist, one saxophonist, a trumpeter and one trombonist. There were five microphones in the front stage and one to the side. I was not sure why so many microphones were needed, but I figure there would be use for all of them. The band members were on the stage when I walked in and it was a surprise for me, there were no students all members looked like professional players. As soon as the music started I knew it was going to be a night to remember. The sixth microphone was being used by the mistress of ceremony, who started trying to get the crow into it from the beginning by letting us know what was coming. Now that I am a little be more educated on some of the jazz rhythm, I was expecting from the beginning to be able to tell what style of jazz was being played, for some songs I could tell, but not for all of them. As soon as the first song started to play, I started to see movement in the crowd not knowing that some of the performers were located within all of the people in the audience, they all started to walk toward the center of the stage, I believe three of them came from behind the stage and two from the front and side of the audience, as they were moving they were singing. It was a very nice song, very smooth and a little slow it sounded like the blue, just like a warm up song for something bigger to come. One thing that I like very much was that the mistress of ceremony was introducing the songs with a little history; she also mentioned a few names that are now very familiar to me, like Nat king Cole, Duke Ellington, Michael Jackson, and Billie Holiday. After the first song she actually gave us some information as to how the cotton club started. She mentioned that it started in Harlem, New York, where black performers were being watched by a rich white audience. I am glad to see the evolution of jazz where there are no colors but just music compare to back then. The subsequent songs were played and almost every singer had the chance to perform their own solo. Ali Stewart performed “Straight Up and Fly Right” which was a very good performance; although I think that I was able to notice that in this performance she missed a note. In this song we had he chance to see the trumpeter Mike O’Donnell; perform his solo with a mute plunger in his trumpet. Cedrick Davis performed a very familiar song, Frank Sinatra’s “Fly me to the Moon”. I have heard this song many times before, being that I come from New York. They were all great performers and very professionals. In my opining there were two singers that deserve great recognition for the way they performed, the first one is Kim Bankston, he sang “unforgettable”, “Satin Doll”, and “Route 66”, they were all great performances, he also played a little Piano, and even the vibraphone. It was worth it to see him performed. The second person was Deborah Powell, she performed “to close for comfort. “Smile” and “GOD Bless the Children” I loved her voice she was able to hit very high notes without any problems. As for the musicians, I love the way they played, but the band director Mr. Tom McCormick stole the show, he performed various solos, people loved the way he played.
The closing of the concert was very nice, they performed the same song that they introduced the concert with, “It Don’t mean a Thing”, but this time it was different, all of the singer went into the audience while they were singing, looking for people to get into the groove and they asked for people to sing along with them, there is a little part of the song that they were asking people to sing, it was ‘it don’t mean a thing if you don’t have a swing”. Only one person was able to sing it with the jazz rhythm, he was pretty good and everybody started to clap their hand when they heard him sing it.
In conclusion this has been the best concert I have been in so far. it was very nice and the music was enjoyable.

2  In-Class Critiques / Jazz Concert Critiques / Re: MDC Jazz Band 2/09 on: March 01, 2010, 04:40:36 pm

I had the great opportunity attend to my first ever Jazz concert. It was the Jazz Ensemble Concert, on Miami Kendall campus. Being that is was my first concert I did not know what to expect. I was not sure if I was going to like it or not. As soon as the musician came on to stage, I realized that this band was mainly composed of students who were very young and looked very eager to start playing. The band was composed of a pianist, two guitarists, a drummer, three trumpeters, 5 trombonists, five saxophonists and the director the settings of a big band. It looked like they were all ready, because it did not take that long for them to set up and start playing. In less than five minutes they started to play. The first song of the concert “Basie Straight ahead” sounded like a warm up song. It was very moving but somewhat slow. All of the musicians were performing very well, but somehow I figure they were a little nervous. The song was moving along very well but the crowd did not actually get into it until  almost at the middle of the song, when David Hernandez playing a baritone, got up to perform a solo, he did very good and the crowd started to clap as he sat down. The first song was finished and I guess then the band started to feel more relax. (One of the things that I did not like from the beginning was the dependence that I saw in the band towards the director). The second song came (Steely Shuffle), and it was almost the same as the first song but more moving. To me the band looked more confident. But the same thing happened like in the first song; David Hernandez got up and performed another solo. I was hoping to see more participation from the other band members, but that did not happened until later. In the third song(Sentimental Journey) there was a little bit more action,  David Hernandez performed his solo and right after I believe, Pedro Ramos and Julio Mejia started sort of a battle, they exchanged notes, In my opinion this third song was very well performed. but  the best performance came on the fourth song (Chameleon), that is when the real action started, first there was and exchanged combination between Deandra Mendez playing alto 1 and I believe his name is David Gonzalez playing alto 2, they were going at it very good, after that we had an exchanged of notes between Kenneth Torres and Brandon Bryant, I believe these are their names, I could not tell which one was which, but they did a very good job, thereafter we had another vey good performance between Pedro Ramos and Julio Mejia, playing their trumpets, by then the crowd was very deep into this concert and even did a stand up ovation for the performers. The fifth song was a little bit slower and only the bass or guitarists performed a combination by themselves, but it was also the introduction of the start of the night. Jessie Jones Jr. did a solo toward the end on the song.
The band rested and then came the old-timers, right there and then I knew that the beautiful sound of jazz was going to become alive. This time it was only the pianist, the drummer, the bass and Jessie Jones Jr. playing the saxophone. The first song “Just Friends” was an introduction Jessie Jones started then the pianist (Mr. Tomasello), the bass (Mr. Bonelli), and later a kind of mix of saxophone with drum (Mr. Cotman), I was very impressed to hear such as beautiful sound as they were all playing. The second song “Stardus” was a very nice piece, slow and a little mellow, I loved the way Jessie Jones made the saxophone sing, it was very impressive. On the third song “Take the A train”, Jessie Jones did a very good performance, where he played the flute and did a vocal flute combination, I am not sure how he did that, it’s not easy to play instruments and at the same time try to do a vocal, like if he was a ventriloquist. His performance kept getting better and better, but I was vey surprised in the sixth song that he played, toward the end he called one of the students Deandra Mendez to come to the stage and try to follow him. He started to play and she followed him pretty good, I was very surprised how she was able to improvise and try to keep up with him. At the end of that song people were enjoying every minute of this concert and he asked everyone to give a round of applause to that young lady for being talented and playing with him. After the seventh song “Yardbird Suite”, the concert was finish and I was very please that I have attended such as exiting concert.
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