Gary Thomas trio ignites passion in Bucknell Hall

By Jen Lassen

Arts & Life Editor

Jazz music extends far beyond easy listening when watching live performers.

On Feb. 1, the Jazz at Bucknell series welcomed the Gary Thomas Trio. The trio, which includes saxophonist Gary Thomas, bassist Blake Meister and drummer Nasar Abadey, filled Bucknell Hall with tremendous sound and captured the audience’s attention for an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind jazz experience.

Phil Haynes, director of the University pep band and BIIE, lecturer in music and a Kushell Jazz Artist-in-Residence, warmly welcomed the trio.

The trio began with a slow, soft melody, making it obvious that something impressive would occur soon after they’d begun. Abadey created a steady rhythm that contrasted Thomas and Meister’s smoothness, yet for some reason this juxtaposition worked in perfect harmony, capturing the audience’s ears.

As the trio continued playing, the melody and rhythm sped up, growing more intense with each second of musical collaboration.

In their performance, there was no sense of individualism; each of the three musicians seemed content with sharing the spotlight with one another; no one musician overpowered the performance. Although there were points during the performance where either Thomas, Abadey or Meister were individually featured, none of them took up too much as a soloist. The collaboration was something the audience could both see and feel.

“I don’t always bring jazz that’s typical or easy listening; I want students to feel like they’ve gone to New York or Berlin to experience it,” Thomas said.

As the audience was watching the trio work their magic, they seemed to take Thomas’ comment to heart and really feel the music rather than just listen to it. Music, although powerful, is only as effective as the people who believe in it. Luckily, the Gary Thomas Trio was treated to a room full of believers and appreciators of the art of song.

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