By H. Suzie Lee
The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and Akron Symphony Orchestra orchestrated Orchestral Jazz together in EJ Thomas Hall for the concert ‘Jazz Meets Symphony.’
Jazz Meets Symphony concert was performed on April 14, 2018.
Christopher Wilkins was the conductor of the concert and Paul Ferguson, also known as trombonist, was the Artistic Director of the concert.
Sam Sandman, the school’s band director, also performed at concert playing Bari Saxophone from Cleveland Jazz Orchestra.
The concert’s first tune was Artistry in Rhythm by Paul Ferguson including piano solo by Theron Brown.
Beautiful yet mysterious jazz piano opened up the concert creating a silent atmosphere; however, the mood quickly changed with classical jazz rhythms.
Next was Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang Amade Mozart arranged by Ferguson. The piece started out as the classical, famous melody of Mozart and suddenly the whole vibe changes to Jazz.
String instruments were playing the famous melody and jazz instruments took over the whole piece in a different vibe; the piece went back and forth between Mozart’s classical melody and modern Jazz style.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik piece was a perfect example of how beautifully Jazz and symphony can blend in together.
Third piece of the concert was La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf arranged by Ferguson featuring Jack Schantz on flugelhorn.
While La Vie en Rose is cult-favorite, classic piece in jazz industry performed by Louis Armstrong and often gives more bright and swingy feeling, Jack Schantz’s flugelhorn solo was so mellow and beautiful that the audience experienced chills and melancholy emotion.
The concert continued performing in the following order: Astieri by Paul Ferguson, The song is you by Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II arranged by Ferguson, I’ve Got the World on a String by Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler, and Gershwin Medley by George & Ira Gershwin featuring Evelyn Wright, vocalist, Glenn Miller Medley by Ferguson.
After ten minutes of Intermission the concert performed pieces such as Three Pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra: 3rd movement by William Russo, Rays of light by Paul Ferguson, Dorsey Medley by Tommy Dorsey, Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael arranged by Ferguson with clarinet solo by Tom Reed, Just One of Those Things by Cole Porter, But Beautiful by Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke arranged by Ferguson featuring Evelyn Wright, vocalist, and ended the concert with Ellington Medley arranged by Paul Ferguson.
At the end of the concert, the audience were overwhelmed with the passion and energy that they received from the performers. They did not stop clapping and resulted in two encores from the vocalist Evelyn Wright.
‘Jazz Meets Symphony’ was truly an incredible, exceptional concert that will be remembered in many people’s memories.