It was as if audience members at the Feb. 5 LCC concert hopped into a time machine and traveled back to the lively, distinct bebops of jazz.
LCC’s Dart Auditorium awakened the hits of late great jazz icon Duke Ellington with the help of a former bandmate Sherman Mitchell.
As a part of the campus-wide Black History Month events, the concert honored music of the past.
Although the LCC faculty jazz quartet is no stranger to the upbeat bouncy tunes of jazz music, the night’s agenda was especially full of talent, welcoming a special guest.
A gentleman dressed in a burgundy suit jacket, complete with a handkerchief in the left pocket, took the stage. Back in the day, Sherman Mitchell sat next to the Duke himself, alongside other hand-picked members of the infamous orchestra.
In between songs like the 1943 “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and the light airy “Daydream,” Mitchell told trivia-worthy personal stories of music and what it was like back in the jazz days.
“I haven’t forgotten this music, but it seems like everyone else has,” Mitchell said as he worked to bring back the relevance of jazz in today’s diverse music scene.
Playing both the flute and trombone, Mitchell made an excellent addition to the already successful faculty quartet, composed of Dennis Therrian on piano, Mike Daniels on drums, Jon Gewirtz on the sax and Ed Fedewa on the bass.
The quartet was clearly honored to take the stage with Mitchell and his highly admired jazz resume. Therrian talked about the caliber of Mitchell.
“He’s played with so many people, (he’s) humble, but an incredible man,” Therrian said.
Concert-goers included families, music students and aspiring musicians.
LCC Experimental Music major Michael Steibel attended the concert with the rest of his class. Being an Ellington fan, Steibel said he enjoyed the set list of the performance.
“It was really cool how they did music on just him because he’s got a lot—a lot of music,” Steibel said.
With over 1,000 compositions, his defining song “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” Grammys and Academy Award wins, Ellington is to some the epitome of jazz.
Although he passed away in 1974, Ellington’s vibrant compositions and love for music lives on.