On Oct. 17, the University of Redlands Studio Big Band made up of a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students held its first performance of the year in the Casa Loma Room. The concert featured old jazz classics like George and Ira Gershwin’s “How Long Has This Been Going On?” to an oddity in Bob Seibert’s “Jazz Suite.”
The group played with the outstanding vocal talent of Macy Ritchie ‘24 on “Angel Eyes,” composed by Earl Brent and Matt Dennis, and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” composed by George and Ira Gershwin. The vocalist’s rendition of the latter may remind some people of the great jazz singers from the old days like Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Billie Holiday, to modern singers like Mavis Staples. Her voice was full of emotion and soul, and it had a profound impact on the audience. One audience member after the concert concluded had this to say, “I thought that the singer’s voice was just beautiful, I thought she did amazing.”
The band deferred from a more traditional jazz repertoire and played two pieces that were rather surprising as they are far from the normal music one would expect to hear. One was a cover of Steely Dan’s “Peg.” It was well-received by the audience and was suggested to be played by a trumpet player in the ensemble. The other was Bob Seibert’s “Jazz Suite.” It was arranged into three movements like a classical sonata, with Movement I being “Quick and Nasty,” Movement II being “Slow Blues,” and the final movement being “Swing Easy.” The audience was encouraged to clap between movements, as the conductor noted beforehand, “It’s not a classical performance. Feel free to applaud between movements if you’d like.”
When asked his thoughts on the performance, the conductor David Scott said, “It was a good performance. There were a few things that were (pause) not as good as they have been in rehearsals.” Regarding the brass section who had the most solos by far, Scott remarked, “I thought the brass played really well, the sax section too. The rhythm section was where we had most of the problems, but overall I thought it went very well!”
Audience members had similar feelings, with comments such as, “I liked all the performances, but I thought that the vocalist was the best,” and “I really liked the Steely Dan song. I wasn’t expecting that and I thought they did a really good job with it!”
Photos by Lane Eppenberger.