First Live Performance Review – Jack Williams

The first concert that I had ever been to at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts – in hindsight a highly regrettable fact – was surely an incredible experience. The Emory Jazz Big Band came together in a tour de force on Tuesday, April 19th to awe an Emerson Hall audience of 100+ music lovers as part of the Music at Emory Concert Series. The band invited special guest Tom Hall to play alongside them, and even featured some professors as part of the Professors at Play!

On a personal note, I am not one to fall easily for new things. However, just a few minutes into Easy Money, I was spellbound at the fact that students that I have worked with in my philosophy, economics, and Spanish classes could be such talented artists. One friend, for example, seemed as if his trombone was an extension of his mind and body, not an external instrument. In a way, you could say that he was the perfect “actor” – putting on a wonderful show by becoming the role; not by playing the role. The spotlights would highlight the soloist – drawing all of the audience’s attention to the movement of his fingers, facial expressions, heel taps, and body movements to the tune. While one player was in the limelight, the others would be dimly lit in the background, as their instruments were dimly audible. It was very interesting to note that the lights followed the beat and the introduction of new instrument groups. It really added to the show.

I was immediately eager to learn more. The only way for an individual to get so good at something is to practice, and usually that takes place alone. Yet, unlike golf (my sport of choice) – where one plays as an individual – these artists were performing as a group, and they were smooth. This particular jazz big band would not have performed with such style without having a singular individual at front line trombone. Neither would he be able to play with such capability had he not had the entire band behind him supporting the sound. The personal style was not all that the audience heard or noted. The “supporting actors” in a way, truly made their lead even stronger. Loved it!

29. June 2016 by John Williams
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