Jazz combo performs for audience using improvised versions of songs

Tom Smith, sophomore secondary education major, plays trumpet during the Nov. 29 jazz concert.

Tom Smith, sophomore secondary education major, plays trumpet during the Nov. 29 jazz concert.

Scott Hasty

Spicing up evening, the Missouri Southern Jazz Combo presented its fall concert on Nov. 29 in Webster Hall auditorium.

The free event featured three Jazz groups: The Monday Combo, The Tuesday Combo and The Wednesday Combo. Each band played a series of jazz pieces that included swinging music and improvisational solos from each member of each combo.

“To play jazz you need to be in a good mood,” said Levi Randolph, freshman music education major and saxophone player.

Pieces played were “Another Blues,” “Ode to a Flugelhorn,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Blues in F,” “One Foot In The Gutter,” “Top & Bottom,” “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “Serenity.”

“‘Serenity’ was probably my favorite song that they played,” said Kara Wilson, freshman political science major. “I hadn’t quite heard anything like that before.”

The combos performed were completely improvised. Playing by ear, each time the jazz players performed the music it became an original piece.

Instruments found in the performing combos included a piano, string bass, trap set, trumpet and saxophone. Each were allowed “solo time” to perform. What created a new twist was these players went from playing as a group to playing as individuals. Playing solos one after another, they managed to keep a steady beat.

“It was really cool how that even when one soloist finished, and another soloist started his after that, it sounded natural,” Wilson said. “Jazz is a lot of improvisation and is one of those kinds of music that comes from the heart.”

“I really enjoyed hearing all the solos,” said Caitlin Allen, freshman biology major. “When you hear each one, no matter if you hear the song again, it is never going to sound the same again.”

In the pre-combo presentation, Philip Wise, director of jazz studies, described how in performances such as the Jazz Combo, Southern’s jazz studies program continues to grow in both “quality and quantity.” That through improvisation, this concert exposed the “great” talent in jazz that Southern has to offer for musicians and audience members alike.