Jazz Band ignites Weis with precise, rhythmic sound

By Jen Lassen
Arts & Life Editor

Jazz is greatly appreciated at our University. Through efforts like the Jazz at Bucknell series and the Janet Weis Cabaret Jazz series, this genre of music is highly celebrated and valued on campus.

Last Friday, April 20 in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, the Bucknell Jazz Band performed its spring concert featuring guest artist Chris Vadala. Vadala, a soprano saxophonist from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is the director of jazz studies and saxophone professor at the University of Maryland, where he is also a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.

The Bucknell Jazz Band consists of 22 members; five of the current members will graduate this May.

The band is comprised of a saxophone section, a trombone section, a trumpet section and a rhythm section that includes piano, vibes, bass, drums and a vocalist.

In Friday’s concert, the band and Vadala performed 10 selections. The show began with “Manteca,” an upbeat, precise piece that showcased the band’s brass section.

“I’ve been to many of Bucknell’s student concerts and the Jazz Band is always my favorite! They play really fun music,” Chris Jarvis ’15 said.

An uncommon element of the concert included featuring combination soloist performances. Twin brothers Zach Berliner ’15, a saxophonist, and Josh Berliner ’15, a trombonist, performed a collaborative solo during the second song.

“Students this semester performed lots of different combos together; it was a great thing we did,” band director Barry Long said.

After the band performed their set alone, guest artist Vadala joined the stage and finished out the last five songs with the group.

Another part of the concert included the world premiere of “Birdie’s Day.” This piece, a rendition of the popular jazz song “Bye Bye Blackbird” directed by Rick Hirsch, was commissioned by the Bucknell Jazz Band during Vadala’s performance.

“I really enjoy the program. It’s a great way for us to have a ton of fun working on and performing some great jazz charts, improving our chops playing with fellow Bucknellians and getting a break from our other classes. Most of us in the ensemble are engineers, so this is a great change of pace from our daily classwork,” pianist Doug Bogan ’13 said.

“The concert was definitely one of our best, which is all you can hope for as a graduating senior. Having some professionals in the band definitely kept us really positive and high-energy,” Alexandre Apfel ’12 said.

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