Jazz Combos, music faculty delighted Black Box audience
By Mary Norris
USC Upstate Jazz Combos performed an intimate concert at Chapman Cultural Center’s Black Box Theatre last Tuesday.
Latin jazz combo, Meg Swinney (voice), Kaylan Pinckney (voice), Colton Conner (drums), Ian O’Donnell (guitar), Alex Middleton (violin), and Mason Painter (bass) performed first. They opened their set with “Dindi”, a piece by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
O’Donnell’s nylon guitar soothed the crowd as Pinckney delivered Latin flavors with a warm voice. The combo, under the direction of Shannon Hoover, performed pieces in their original languages, some in English translations, and even some Cuban pieces.
As the Black Box lights reflected off of the drum kit’s silver rims, the Latin jazz combo played smooth syncopations to relax and enchant the audience.
The second Jazz ensemble, directed by Dr. Nolan Stolz, performed blues-based jazz tunes and a medley based off of George Gershwin’s “Rhythm Changes”. With Korey Hawkins and Craig Ravan on guitar, there were plenty of guitar solos to go around, each with its own distinct sound.
Vocalist Stanley Martin did some scat singing on multiple pieces, and even led a jazzed-up version of “Meet the Flintstones” during the “Rhythm Changed Medley”. As part of this ensemble, Stolz had each performer lead a song in performance. Stolz also drummed for the group.
Suzette Cloete (violin) and Painter (bass) participated in leading as well, and Stolz appeared to thoroughly enjoy performing with his students.
The show was closed by a faculty jazz trio consisting of Adam Knight (guitar), Shannon Hoover (upright bass), and Stolz (drums). The trio performed “Invitation” by Richard Carpenter and “Just Friends” by John Klenner.
Each faculty member had at least one opportunity to improvise solos for the audience, marking an impressive end to a night that journeyed through multiple jazz styles and cultures.