Jazz students to feature student–composed pieces

Chronicle Staff

The first jazz concert under new Director of Jazz Studies Shawn Costantino will feature three premiere pieces Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Rubgy Theater.

“This concert is meant to introduce the new era in jazz at Harvard-Westlake,” Costantino said.

The emphasis in the performance will be shared by six groups, including both big band and small group performances something new to the jazz program, he said.

A saxophone quartet will play with minimal accompaniment, something that has never been done before in the program, Costantino said.

The saxophone quartet, the Jazz Ensemble, the Studio Jazz Band, the Harvard-Westlake Advanced Jazz Combo, the Jazz Explorers and the Jazz Band will each play three or four pieces.

Three groups will play popular pieces arranged by Tyler Gilmore, a friend of Costantino from the Denver area. Jazz Band will play an arrangement of the Sting song “Fragile.”

The Studio Jazz Band will play an arrangement of the classic Radiohead tune “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” arranged for four guitars and a rhythm section.
Several of the songs break free from the conventional Jazz style.

The Studio Jazz Band will play a song entitled “The Chicken,” which originally featured the late electric bassist, Jaco Pastorius.

The song is  part of the jazz-rock movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s.

The Jazz Ensemble will play a novel arrangement of the quintessential Gershwin composition “A Foggy Day.”

Additionally, the Jazz Explorers will play some original compositions from Jay Dockendorf ’07 including “Song for My Doctor,” written for former jazz teaher Dr. Jerry Margolis. 

The group holds practices every Friday after school conducted by Costantino. 
“The repertoire of the concert will be a combination of styles from older, classic jazz to newer, progressive, rock-oriented jazz,” Costantino said.

Tapes from the concert, as well as a recording session Dec. 9, will be submitted to Downbeat Magazine in hopes of winning one of their student music awards and to the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, Calif. 

Costantino has also secured monthly gigs for the jazz department at Vitello’s restaurant in Studio City starting Sunday, Nov. 26. Costantino, who plays tenor saxophone in addition to teaching the clas, and his band will play half of the show and a rotating group comprised of students in the music program will perfrom in  the other half.

“This is going to be a wonderful concert,” Costantino said. “I hope as many kids show up as Rugby Theater can hold.”