Jazz combos present spring concert

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On Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m., audience members settled in for a night of improv and individuality in Russell Hall’s Bengtson Auditorium with the UNI Jazz combo groups. UNI’s School of Music faculty artist Chris Merz, along with graduate student conductors, organized this event to feature four groups of UNI students.

Leading off the concert was the Isaac Schwartz combo with a set featuring trumpet, saxophone and electric guitar solos. Their final chart, “Back in June,” was written by combo member Andrew Piper. Piper, who had played trumpet on their two previous selections, switched over to the piano to give this piece a melodic and resonant component. As the title suggests, “Back in June” portrayed melancholic and nostalgic emotions.

The Max McBride combo, which followed, performed the charts “Kryptonite,” “Echoes” and “Minorities.” Throughout their three pieces, the group demonstrated control over rhythmically diverse music. Their soloists and rhythm section dynamically complimented each other throughout the performance, which enhanced the emotion of the solo sections.

The Roomba Cats, the next combo to enter the stage, kicked off their portion of the night with a chart that began with only the wind performers, showing off the group’s control of tone and time. Their final selection was a fast-paced swing tune featuring technically challenging solos from saxophone artists Johnny Hartleip and Tyler Utter.

The Flat Earth combo closed out the night with both unison lines and improvised solos by voice artist Dakota Anderson and tenor saxophone artist Andrey Floranovich.

Concert attendee Holden Caloud, a junior history education major, said, “[It was] an overall great performance by everyone. I thought a wide variety of ideas were shown by the soloists.” In particular, Caloud noted Johnny Hartleip of the Roomba Cats, is one of his childhood friends. “It’s been great to see him grow and I can’t wait to see him do great things in the future,” he said.

“I think my favorite part about coming to these concerts is seeing students’ own arrangements and how they get to try them out,” Alayna Ringsby, a freshman music education major, said. “I feel like it’s a really good setting for them to do [so] and it’s always fun to see what they come up with.”