Msm Jazz Concert Report

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Manhattan School of Music may not carry the reputation that Julliard does, but the jazz performance on the 17th of October was more than impressive. The moment the concert jazz band hit a note, the atmosphere in the auditorium immediately transformed. The mostly empty seats, the lackluster walls, and the faint yet unpleasant smell: none of the negative first impressions mattered anymore. The auditorium was immersed with energetic music in which each and every note of every instrument could be heard, and that was all it took to place a smile on my face.

The program was focused on George Handy's jazz compositions, providing a wide array of his works from 1946 to 1955. It was predominantly lively and held a steady beat throughout all the pieces. The music itself seemed to tell a story as the texture continually changed simply with the playing of different instruments. The melody of the pieces seemed to jump from one instrument to the next. Even the bass had a shot at the melody as the performer plucked the strings as quick as she could. There were instances in which the music felt alive as it sped up or down with corresponding dynamics, and it really got the audience moving. It even felt as if the music brought the listener into the past, feeling the troubles of the composer. In fact, the narrator/emcee actually spoke of Handy's drug problems, which helped create a connection between the listener and the music. The highs and lows of Handy's life were directly translated into the highs and lows of the music. The acoustics of the auditorium were fairly good in my opinion, but I'm no expert.

The ambiance of the performance was very professional yet casual. They were strict with letting people in and out between pieces and the seating was very dim and quiet. However, there were those in t-shirts and flip flops, taking a break from the fast-paced New York City life. The audience courteously applauded after each piece and after each solo throughout the...
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