Students and fans of jazz joined Fullerton College’s music professors in swinging along to the Faculty Jazz Cadre Concert at the Campus Theater.
The audience bobbed their heads to rhythms composed by Duke Ellington, John Lennon and Jeremy Kern as well as to several original compositions from the faculty.
The six-member faculty ensemble chose to begin the concert by performing Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin,” with Jamie Shew shining on vocals. Shew is currently the Coordinator of Vocal Jazz Studies at FC, but has also enjoyed a rich performance career. She also has released three albums to date.
Shew, having lost her husband to cancer a few years back, was reeling at being thrust into the singles scene again. She had been advised that the best place to meet someone new would be at a high-end grocery store.
It was this suggestion that inspired the performance of one particular song on the evening’s agenda, “Farmer’s Market.” The song was written by Art Farmer and was about a couple who actually did meet at a farmers market.
With his back toward the audience and the keys of the Sanford & Sons in plain view, sat the sock-less pianist, Jeremy Siskind. He performed a pounding, fast-paced rendition of his self-composed piece, “Piccadilly Circus” which his companion musicians were audibly impressed by.
The gap between songs consisted of faculty member introductions and friendly musician banter, which included Matt Johnson performing a routine drum fill. He was a stand-out presence and purposefully dropped the drumsticks during his intro, resulting in uproarious laughter. Johnson has been credited with having performed with Julie Andrews, Billy May and even toured with Emmy Award winning actress, Jane Lynch, as of late.
The mood throughout the evening was congenial and light-hearted amongst the artists and it was clear they possessed a long-standing camaraderie.
FC’s Jazz Studies Coordinator, Bruce Babad played on the saxophone jokingly dedicating the song “And I Love Her” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to someone in the audience.
“This goes out to one of my students and she knows who she is, If she does know who she is can she come up to me afterwards?” Badbad said, jokingly.
“Caravan,” by Tizol and Ellington was brilliantly performed by Babad, skillfully trilling on his sax, as Johnson rocked a drum solo. Dave Miller filled in the gaps on bass and was eventually introduced by Babad.
Throughout the concert there were subtle inside quips among the musicians that only a handful of the audience members responded to, as if being in the-know showcasing just how tight jazz artists have become. Especially, considering what sets them apart is musical and apparently comedic, improvisation.