Jazz artist-in-residence performs Wayne Shorter repertoire

Jazz artist-in-residence Seth Ebersole (right) plays the saxophone, accompanied by bassist Javier Arguello (left). Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

SVSU’s jazz artist-in-residence Seth Ebersole performed his faculty recital Thursday, Nov. 7.

Ebersole played the tenor and soprano saxophones for the recital. He has been playing the saxophone for 18 years.

The recital consisted of music from the oeuvre of Wayne Shorter, who Ebersole said is one of the most prolific jazz composers.

According to Ebersole, Shorter’s influence on the jazz community spans 60 years and continues to this day.

“I chose one tune from each of Wayne’s most interesting periods as a composer,” Ebersole said. “These pieces are important jazz repertoire, and I’ve learned them as if they were any other piece that I’m working on – learn the melodies, memorize the chord changes, reference the original recordings, find a way I want to personalize it.”

Ebersole performed with musicians Rufus Ferguson on piano, Javier Arguello on bass and David Alvarez on drums. The final song of the night featured guest trombonist Gina Benalcazar.

The songs played throughout the night varied in style and form. One piece performed was blues, and another was a ballad, among other types.

Each musician also had a chance to be featured throughout the songs with their own improvised sections, making the pieces distinctive to the performers on stage.

Ebersole said the piece “Deluge” was the piece he most enjoyed.

“We’re doing one tune called ‘Deluge,’ which has been a favorite of mine since college,” he said. “It’s … a really soulful, darksounding tune.”

Ebersole said he believes it’s important for students to see their professors performing.

“The students at any music school should see their teachers performing regularly,” he said. “It helps reinforce that performing is the central part of music studies.”

He said he hoped his music choices piqued his students’ interest in Shorter’s works.

“This music will be more challenging to the audience than my past two recitals,” he said. “I hope that my students go check out the source materials after the concert and listen to Wayne for themselves.”

Brantley Wilson, a psychology sophomore, said the group worked together.

“The concert was really good,” Wilson said. “They’re all really talented, and it made for a great performance.”

Wilson said her favorite tune was the closing piece, “Lester Left Town.”

“This is music I don’t really listen to, and it surprised me how much I enjoyed it,” she said. “I especially liked how upbeat the song was, and I thought the repeated trombone and saxophone parts were catchy.”

Ebersole said he hoped the performance would resonate with the audience.

“Jazz is all about community and communication,” he said. “I want to do this each time I play. I want to feel like I’m singing and sharing a moment with the other musicians and the listeners.”

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