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ISSUE 118 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 3/4/2005

Flute frenzy

By Jarvi Kononen
Contributing Writer
and Bryan Stevenson
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 4, 2005

With the Lion’s Pause transformed into a candle-lit, smokeless jazz club, flautist Galen Abdur-Razzaq drew deep from the well to bring some fresh soul to a relaxed crowd of students and faculty Wednesday night.

Looking to break your neck? Galen is not your man. Searching for that permanent groove? Only solid soul sounds so smooth. Galen’s trio – composed of flute, contrabass, and percussion – performed a variety of jazz charts.

Listeners enjoyed original compositions as well as jazz classics from composers ranging from Thelonious Monk to Bobby Timmons.

In between songs featuring nimble melodic introductions, note-heavy bass solos and steady, supportive drumming, Galen shared his thoughts on the importance of jazz to the African-American community and on the importance of music to any society.

“Jazz was created solely and wholly by African-Americans,” Galen said. “As a result of my heritage, I’ve often been asked, ‘Do you play legit?’”

Throughout musical history, jazz artists have had the validity of their art form questioned. Due to jazz’s origins and inception in African-American tradition and culture, much of mainstream America turned its back on jazz music until white performers adopted it. To this phenomenon Galen responded, “One of the quickest ways to insult an entire culture is to insult its music.”

While the Pause’s atmosphere was a bit more sterile than more firmly established jazz clubs, Galen and his fellow musicians filled up the space with their spirited performance. And yes, cheesecake was served … and it was delicious.

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