Frost jazz faculty recital spotlights musicology

“Musicology is cool.”

Frost department chair John Daversa’s statement was proven true during a music faculty recital on Monday night. Students packed the Clarke Recital Hall to watch jazz faculty and musicology professors show off their skills.

One of Daversa’s own compositions, “The Turkey Song,” kicked off the night.

Daversa (trumpet) and associate musicology professor Melvin Butler (tenor sax) used alternate fingerings and trills to mimic the squawking of the title bird. The sextet was rounded out by Tim Smith (electric bass), John Hart (guitar), Martin Bejerano (piano), and John Yarling (drums), which created a beautiful harmony of sound.

Professor Gary Lindsay then brought a whole new gang of musicians to play his arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Just Squeeze Me,” featuring jazz vocal professor Kate Reid.

Lindsay writes his 4-horn lineup like a mini big band, complete with sax solos and big brass hits. Dante Luciani (trombone) soloed hot and high, effortlessly gliding between the high and low registers with his smooth, bright sound.

Assistant professor Chuck Bergeron (double bass) cooled the band down with a fantastic mellow solo. On stage, Brian Lynch (trumpet), Stephen Guerra (tenor sax), and Stephen Rucker (drums), along with Bejerano, created an accompanying smooth tune.

After the two larger groups, Bejerano lowered the volume but amped up the talent with a trio cover of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays.”

To begin the piece, the pianist played an unaccompanied solo. Slowly, the intensity rose as Yarling and Bergeron began to play to form a medium-swing groove. Bergeron’s use of syncopated and tuplet figures gave the tune a unique flavor.

The next two pieces were an original soul-inspired tune by musicology professor David Ake (piano) and an intimate duet treatment of “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon),” between Reid and Hart, which was timely considering Monday’s eclipse.

Lastly, Lynch performed “Fuscha/Red,” his own composition featuring himself on trumpet and a trio of bass, drums and guitar.

Lynch’s use of electronic pedals and distortion allowed the mood to shift from ethereal and alien, to fusion-funk reminiscent of prog groups like Traffic. A wailing guitar solo by Hart and ripping lines from Lynch wowed the audience to a standing ovation.

There is no doubt that this concert has gotten the student body excited to see and hear more from the Frost School of Music.

Photo courtesy Frost School of Music website.