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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Combo Night musicians had the chops for cool jazz

Three jazz combo bands filled the Fullerton College Campus Theater with fantastic guitar riffs, bass lines, and saxophone solos this past Thursday evening on Nov. 9th.

William Overholtzer, in spotlight, performs a solo on his alto saxophone. Photo credit: Jacob Gamboa

It was the annual Jazz Combo Night, three bands each performing their own arrangements of songs. The songs included the genres of jazz, contemporary music, some blues, and old school rock.

The first group “Combo 3+5” consisted of drums, bass, guitar, piano, and sax, but also featured an electric violin played by Kira Markman.

This gave the band’s jazz flow a folksy flavor. The blend of the high violin and the solid trombone and saxophone was pleasant to the ears.

The first song they performed was “Ready and Able” by Jimmy Smith, and allowed everyone to have a solo. Madison Holland, guitarist, had a very clean tone, and played her solo with a bluesy style. The audience loved it.

The next song they performed was more laid back, with some latin influence. Kaylah Ivey wrapped up the song with a stunning drum solo.

Next was a funky, groovy song that began with Lilly Wolfinger on bass. She had this funky bass riff, which was accompanied by the drums and then the whole combo. William Overholtzer, alto sax player, had a nice solo during this funky melody and added layers of soul to the song.

The director for “Combo 3+5”, Mike Scott, came up on stage to introduce all the bandmates and spoke about the songs they had just performed.

“Combo 2” then took the stage. The ensemble consisted of Chris Alcantar on guitar, Mark Ortiz-Payn on piano, Alex Grant on bass, and Timothy Jones on drums.

“Combo 2′ performed a much slower, mellow type of jazz. In the first song, Ortiz-Payn and his piano took center stage and led the jam.

combo two
Mark Ortiz-Payne playing the piano during the "Combo 2" performance. Photo credit: Jacob Gamboa

Alcantar’s guitar playing was less bluesy and more just like a big solo, he was hitting notes all up and down the fretboard of his guitar. His solo drew big applause from a big crowd.

At the end of their first song, “Moanin” by Bobby Timmons, the band created a really swift crescendo to finish the song. Starting from a real soft volume to loud and powerful.

Next song was in-line with more of a classic rock and blues sound. It was much faster and had more of a set structure to the music.

Once “Combo 2” finished, their director came up on stage. Dr. Joe Jewell introduced his band members and began discussing the songs they had just played.

“I don’t want to get too complex on this for your concert reports, trying to keep it simple,” he joked. Many students were in attendance for their music class since they are typically required to attend a school concert and write a paper about it.

Dr. Jewell and “Combo 2” ended their performance with a very slow, mellow piece that was almost experimental with a slow tempo. The tempo allowed the musicians to experiment more with their performance and was less limiting.

“Combo 1” was the final act of the night. Bass, drums, piano, guitar, trombone, and alto sax rounded out the group. Both of the previous bands had music stands and sheet music, but not these guys. They had nothing to reference, no sheet music, this was the real deal.

combo 1
"Combo 1" rocking out and getting the crowd going. Photo credit: Jacob Gamboa

The crowd immediately got into it as the band started their classic jazz with an upbeat tempo.

Angelo Pizarro absolutely rocked it on the piano. He was everywhere. Everyone was on their A game but Pizarro was incredible.

Cole Sainburg kept the rhythm on the bass as he started on a traditional stand up bass and then switched to an electric one.

In the final song, Nico Vasquez drew major cheers from the crowd during his intense drum solo. He was playing ferociously and kept the beat strong.

The three combo bands put on an amazing show and it was a great experience.

The Fullerton College Music Department has many more concerts this season and you can find out more information on their website.

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    Fine ArtsNov 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you