Jazz combo, ensemble dazzle audience in last performance of semester

By Juliana Liévano Uribe
Staff Writer

The jazz combo and jazz ensemble gave their last concert of the Spring 2017 semester on April 25, and the audience enjoyed every single tune. The two bands played at the Mainstage Theatre in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at University of West Florida.

The night opened with the jazz combo, which played “Passion Dance” by McCoy Tyner.  The group played seven songs that ranged from Stevie Wonder to John Williams. During a break, Neil Teller, alto and tenor sax, introduced the members of the jazz combo.

Joseph Spaniola, associate professor and director of jazz studies and music theory at UWF, recognized some of his students who will be graduating this semester, including Mayu Teshirogi, an exchange student from Japan. Teshirogi plays the bass in both the jazz combo and jazz ensemble and will be returning to Japan at the end of the semester. Spaniola said Teshirogi was the only bass player they had this semester.

UWF Jazz Band and Ensemble (Photo courtesy of UWF website)

The jazz ensemble began by performing “Ya Gotta Try…Harder” by Sammy Nestico. Spaniola said he always includes pieces by Nestico, and, to add more “fireworks” to the night, he surprised the audience by playing one piece with the ensemble. Spaniola said performing is not something he does often because he is a composer, and it takes a lot of time to practice. But for this concert he made an exception and played the trombone in a song called “Bloozineff,” composed by himself and J.J. Johnson.

“I like to play,” Spaniola said. “I was playing for other things this semester, and that’s why I didn’t have the chance to play before.”

At the end of the concert a loud ovation filled the theatre, and Spaniola decided they would play an encore, to the audience’s delight. The encore tune they played was “Canal St. Commotion” by Mike Carubia.

Attendees were happy to have come.

“I thought it was wonderful, and we’re very fortunate to live so close to a university that offers opportunities like that,” said Pensacola resident Marcia Rihm, who attended the concert. “The students are very talented.”

For more information on the jazz ensembles or any other music groups, see the Department of Music’s website.

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