A nice, healthy dose of jazz

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By Corinne Love

The California State Sacramento Vocal Jazz team is all big smiles. (CSUS Jazz Studies)

By Corinne Love

They played a big show to a small audience, but it did not matter.

Cal State Sacramento’s C-SUS and the Sacramento State singers’ vocal jazz teams filled the Digital Library Auditorium with infectious energy on March 27.

The free concert was held by RCC-sponsored LIVE! On Campus Series! at noon, and although the day was grey and somewhat somber, the music inside the auditorium was anything but.

The jazz ensembles were led by Kerry Marsh, who also directed and organized the first CSU all star jazz ensemble in Fresno. It was also co-produced, by RCC’s own vocal jazz director, Dina Humble.

The ensembles were all dressed to perfection and performed a culmination of songs by Bobby McFerrin, Dan Gailey, Miles Davis, and Roger Kaas.

Songs performed were done in the standard vocal jazz style, which included vocal ad-libbing and “scat” vocalizing.

Vocalizing was not few and far between, as each vocalist showcased his or her own take on the vocal technique of matching syllables to instrumentation.

Amber Robinson, led “Widows Walk,” a seemingly melancholy tune, as the Jazz singers backed her up with scat and ad-libs. “Widows Walk” started off melancholy and smooth, soon turning into a heightened tension of percussion and piano solos.

As they transitioned into “Prince of Darkness,” a Miles Davis song, the piano slowly crept in as the drumming remained consistently upbeat.

It was similar to hearing a downtown jazz band, without the presence of the city. The audience showed a genuine appreciation for the teams.

As RCC student Annica Shumny said , she had “never seen anything like that before.” Shumny, like the majority of the audience, came to see the teams as supplements to their Music Appreciation class.

Students were in the audience jotting down notes, as the singers moved with the music and got into their performances.

Although the performers themselves were college students, the quality of the show was 100 percent professional as each singer displayed incredible vocal talent and control.

“Lil’Sunflower,” originally an aggressive big band tune, was morphed into an almost trip-hop escape. “But Beautiful,” one of the classic jazz standards, was executed nicely as the sopranos in the group, Jessie Clemens and Sherrine Mostin, hit some unbelievable high notes.

All of their voices together for “But Beautiful” created a rich and fluid melding of harmony.

If audiences wanted to take home the sounds of the ensembles to their stereos, CDs were available for purchase.

The concert was effectively impressive and short, clocking in at around 40 minutes.

Afterwards, RCC’s jazz teams took to the stage for a quick session of jamming and mingling with the singers.

The group performed a lively rendition of “Day By Day” and “In the Limelight.”

The composition of material selected for both performances were ideal for spring, although the drawback was no programs were issued at the concert.

It was a nice intermission from the hustle and bustle of college life.

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