By Chloe Sommer
The Davis High Jazz Band invited the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet for an invitational at the Brunelle Performance Hall on April 16. The groups joined forces to perform one of the jazz band’s favorite concerts of the year.
“The invitational was an opportunity to get together with other musical artists in jazz, and a chance to play and share music together,” DHS band director Thomas Slabaugh said.
The concert kicked off at 7:30 as the Davis High Jazz Band played a five-song set. The pieces featured various members of the band performing both written and improvisational solos. Two of the band’s saxophone players, senior Emily Rogers and junior Sophie Seng, even set their instruments down to sing for one of the numbers.
“I was really proud of how the band played,” Slabaugh said.
The Davis High Jazz Band closed their set with a 16-minute-long song titled “Channel One Suite.” The song featured extensive solos by senior Drew Thomsen on the drum set and Kyle Horn on the tenor saxophone.
“I think that our performance was the best we could’ve done given our practice schedule,” Thomsen said.
After a brief intermission, the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet played. Of the quartet, two are students from University of the Pacific studying music, and two were members of the Brubeck Institute, an extension of UOP specializing in jazz music.
The quartet–composed of a drummer, a bassist, a pianist / percussionist, and a saxophone player / vocalist–performed three songs for the high school jazz band and other audience members. Two of the three songs were composed by members of the quartet.
The four college students perform at high school invitationals frequently to help recruit students to UOP’s music program.
“We’ve been trying to reach out and find younger students who are at that pre-college age. This is probably our fifth or sixth recruitment trip this year,” said Jimmy Kraft, the quartet’s saxophonist and a fifth year music student at UOP.
After the Brubeck Quartet’s songs, the theater lights turned on and the stage was opened up to members of the Davis High Jazz Band once more. Both groups were given an opportunity to join forces and improvise together. The more casual performance setting is referred to as a “jam session.”
“I think I was smiling the whole time [the students] were playing the jam session,” Slabaugh said.
Throughout the three jam session songs that the bands performed, members of the Quartet and DHS students swapped instruments and improvisational ideas.
“It’s nice to have an opportunity to play with a group that is more skilled than us. It’s really quite inspiring, and I feel compelled to improve myself,” senior Nathan Puckett said.
The invitational served as necessary practice for upcoming performances as well. The Davis High Jazz Band will be competing at the upcoming Reno Jazz Festival on April 25.
“Anything that’s going to get a chance to play music with other people is always a good preparation opportunity,” Slabaugh said.