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ISSUE 117 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/21/2003

Crowd savors sweet sounds of jazz sextet

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer

Friday, November 21, 2003

Members of the St. Olaf community were treated to the sweet sounds of a faculty jazz sextet on Thursday night in the Pause. The one and one half hour long concert consisted of a handful of tunes that ranged from fast swing to gutsy 12/8 to laid back blues. The performers included St. Olaf music faculty members Keith McCuchen on piano, David Hagedorn on vibes, Scott Kallestad on tenor and soprano saxophone, and Marty Hodel on trumpet and flugelhorn; non-faculty regional musicians Kevin Clements and Eric Hanson played bass and drums, respectively.

Audience favorites included “Change Up,” a fast blues number, “Train Shuffle,” which was done with a Reggae-style twist, and Chick Corea’s “Quartet #2.” The solos, harmonies, and overall flavor of these tunes made them especially memorable.

Another popular piece was an impromptu composition by McCuchen that was given the name “Untitled Tune in d minor” as it was introduced to the audience. While introducing the song, Hagedorn said, “This is something Keith wrote while we were rehearsing something else on Sunday.” That the players could perform a song spontaneously written only several days before the show was a sign of their proficiency and cohesiveness as a group.

The professionalism and musical skill of the players was evident throughout the performance. Hodel’s high notes, McCuchen’s rich chords, Hagedorn’s wild scales, and Kallestad’s smooth tone all made it clear that the audience was in the presence of master musicians.

Meredith Sorenson ’07 commented, “The concert was amazing! The amount of diverse talent we have here at St. Olaf is incredible. I couldn’t help but be completely drawn in by the energy and sensitivity of all the players.”

The concert was a great environment in which to hear professors, normally found in classroom settings, let their hair down for wild jazz solos. The stage dynamic was fun and laid-back, adding to the relaxed nature of the night.

All the performers played with soul and expertise during the concert, and their passion for music was evident to the appreciative audience.

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