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The Lookout | May 26, 2019

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Local jazz comes to life in Dart

Local jazz comes to life in Dart

Michael Steibel
Freelance Writer

The LCC Jazz Band, directed by Jon Gewirtz, played a unique set of songs at Dart Auditorium Oct. 5.

The entire program, performed by students, community members and a faculty quartet, was either written or arranged by a local composer.

The audience was invited to witness an original composition come to life. Musical ideas were put in the hands of other musicians and the concert goers watched it develop live.

Shawn Bell is one of the newest additions to the LCC music department. He is a trombone instructor and composer for the LCC Jazz Band.

“My favorite part about being a writer is putting it together,” said Bell. “Sometimes work shopping it, and sometimes just … Here it is.”

However, music takes on a different role when put into the hands of the musicians. During the first part of the program the LCC Jazz Band had its way with Bell’s compositions.

One of Bell’s more intimate pieces took the audience through an escapade of melodies titled, “Hymn for the Lovers.”

This was among the LCC Jazz Band bass player Will Schneider’s favorites.

“There is a lot of space to move on Hymn,” Schneider said.

Bell gave some insight as to what he needed to be prepared for that afternoon.

“We (Jon Gewirtz and I) had to elongate some sections; make opportunity for soloists,” Bell said.

“But the actual nuts and bolts of the arrangements had stayed the same.”

No matter who the players were, the music didn’t skip a beat. After a brief intermission the journey continued with the LCC Faculty Jazz quartet a.k.a. Layers.

Playing a mix of originals and arranged, Bell’s professionalism as a composer was evident.

Breathing a new life into Al Green’s song, “Let’s Stay Together,” it hit hard as Bell catered the melody line through his trombone.

Green’s feel-good song was an appropriate ending for the performance. Listeners left with a satisfied Sunday afternoon of live jazz.

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