Jazz band pays homage to late jazz legend Dave Brubeck in winter concert

Jazz groups performing in “An Evening of Jazz” on Dec. 8 paid homage to recently deceased jazz legend Dave Brubeck and Sir John Lennon on the 32nd anniversary of his death. Before a packed Rugby auditorium, Performing Arts teacher Shawn Costantino conducted the Jazz Ensemble, Studio Jazz Band and Jazz Band in the annual winter show for the jazz program.

The Jazz Ensemble kicked off the concert with “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver and finished their section of the show with “Just a Closer Walk” in memory of Brubeck, who passed away on Dec. 5, three days prior to the show. Jazz Ensemble trumpeter Charlie Andrews-Jubelt ’13 was featured in “Just a Closer Walk” as a soloist.

“I was really excited to have such an exposed and expressive solo in that piece,” Andrews-Jubelt said. “Our band was especially proud of that particular piece, so it felt good to lead the New Orleans style finale in honor of a great musician.”

On stage after Jazz Ensemble, the Studio Jazz Band performed a rendition of “Blackbird,” a Beatles song credited to Lennon.

“Everything in the show went exceptionally well,” Studio Jazz Band tenor saxophone player Zach Saunders ’14 said. “It felt like everyone played better that night than they had the entire year, and everyone played practically perfectly on charts that we could barely even finish a few days ago. I would say that all in all, it was an outstanding performance by everyone in Studio Jazz band and everyone in the rest of the bands as well.”

The Jazz Band closed the concert with six songs, which included “Groovin’ High” by Dizzy Gillespie and “Us” by Thad Jones. “Groovin’ High” featured Sinclair Cook ’14 and Bridget Hartman ’15, who play the alto saxophone, as soloists in the piece.

Costantino explained how the two solo parts of “Groovin’ High” play with and against each other, providing intricate melodies and harmonies throughout the piece.

Costantino also recounted his frustration when he was unable to conduct the jazz groups last year due to his health, and his eagerness to return this year.

“I really like the piece ‘Us’ because it showcases us: me working with the group,” Costantino said. “I enjoy working with these kids in class.”

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