The halls of the Fullerton College Theatre were definitely alive with the sound of jazz music on Thursday Nov 12.
The show started off with a bang when the first combo of the evening gave their rendition of Miles Davis’ “Milestone” directed by Mike Scott. The song featured many solos for all seven members of the group. These solos allowed the musicians to really showcase their talents. Scott’s Combo kept the air light and the audience buzzing for more.
“They were able to play a large variety of sounds” said Gianina Guillot, who went on to describe the performance as going from a very “jazzy café sound” to “something you’d hear on a late night show.”
Dr. Joe Jewell’s Combo came in strong with the song, “Optimism.” Drummer Eddie Mijares lead the beat behind the kit. The eight piece group pulled off a smooth, low lighting feel topped off with a wonderful saxophone solo by Jonah Stoffers.
“It gets better and better each year.” said Dr. Joe Jewell in between songs while directing the second group of the evening. This is the 17th year that the Fullerton Music Department has put on its Combos Night.
Pianist, Tara Ortiz-Payne, tip-toed in for the group’s final piece of the evening – a beautiful horn and flute driven cover of T.S. Monk’s “Around Midnight.”
Director of the final group of the night, Bruce Babad, explained that his combo had only been practicing together for two days a week since the beginning of the semester.
“That’s all they get” said Babad, which didn’t seem to affect the seven-person combo that didn’t disappoint.
The group’s first song featured a savvy solo by Deandre Grover on tenor saxophone. He even stepped out of line and played to the crowd. The audience loved it and cheered Grover on.
Babad’s group stood out from the rest, playing not only jazz but fusing in a very rock-like sound throughout the show.
“All music should communicate” explained Babad, going on to say that the music needs to find a way to reach out to the audience. “In this case, I chose music that fits the group, but also music that would touch the people.”
The third song titled “Cry of the Waters” in English really pulled on the heartstrings with a sad, French-like sound. The song featured a beautiful harmony from Stacy Hwang on the piano and Alexander Goldman on the accordion.
The combo ended the night with an actual bang when Nico Vasquez shinned through with his incredible drum solo during their cover of John Patitucci’s, “Baja Bajo.” Vasquez really had the audience cheering him on.
“As Joe mentioned, this is our 17th year having Combos Night”, said Babad. “This one by far is the best one for all three groups.”