On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the UNCP faculty jazz ensemble held a concert in Moore Hall.
The auditorium was loosely packed. Dr. Aaron Vandermeer on trumpet, Dr. Arnold on bass, Mr. Day on guitar and Mr. Walker on drums were the faculty included in the ensemble.
The audience was delighted to seven predetermined jazz songs ranging from funeral tunes to up-beat New Orleans party music. At the end, an encore not on the program was played: “Four” by Miles Davis.
Photo by Willis Glassgow
After the show, the performers spoke about how they choose which pieces to play, four of the seven being originals by the members of the band.
“We knew we had time for nine tunes and so we decided to let everyone pick three,” said Dr. Vandermeer, trumpeter of the band. “It was really exciting to learn new pieces. We all know about 400 jazz tunes by heart but by picking originals it forced us to practice.”
Walker’s original was inspired by famous jazz drummer Elvin Jones who, according to the New York Times, revolutionized the way drummers approached the drum set. The other three originals came from Dr. Arnold who wrote a suite of five dance pieces, three of which were included in the show.
‘Oscillation’ is the first in the suite and is meant to embody things radiating from the center. Next was ‘Linear Vectors,’ which was written thinking about things proceeding in parallel lines.
Last was ‘Rotation,’ which almost made the audience feel dizzy and was supposed to evoke the feeling of swirling around a center point. After the show students flooded to the stage to give their thanks.
“I really enjoyed it,” said a UNCP junior, majoring in Spanish, to the lead trumpeter Dr. Vandermeer. Several other students thanked Day, who in turn appreciated them attending and said he would see them in class.
One junior student at the show said “Jazz is all about shining a light on each individual instrument.” As it turns out, the UNCP Faculty have had an ensemble for about 30 years now, but have taken breaks as essential members of the band have left UNCP.
The main focus of the faculty has been on the student jazz ensemble. However, the students at UNCP seem excited to have the faculty composition back and performing. The next large event coming up is the Honors Jazz Ensemble, which is predicted to be a hit.