Jazz Combo performs concert with new director

Jazz Combo I performed with new jazz director Colin Wood. Vanguard Photographer | Audrey Bergey

Jazz music returned to the Rhea Miller Recital Hall on Tuesday night featuring the SVSU Jazz Combo.

Colin Wood, director of jazz studies, played with the ensemble.

Featured music students were Alessandra Dronchi on trumpet and tenor saxophone, Quinton Larion on trumpet, Ryan Davidson on piano, Erik Gillette on bass and Connor Woolf on drum kit.

Music education freshman Connor Woolf performed with the jazz combo for the first time as a college student.

“With COVID taking my senior year of high school, I hadn’t played a jazz concert
in person in almost two years,” Woolf said.

“I was very grateful to have an audience that enjoyed the music. [I] can’t wait to play again with more musicians on campus.”

The program featured music by Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Nat Adderley, John Lewis, Kenny Dorham and Irving Mills.

“One of my main objectives in the course is to give the students the tools to learn and understand jazz repertoire, style
and language,” Wood said. “Jazz, along with popular music, is primarily an aural tradition, so we chose some of the songs
to learn by ear instead of using written music.”

The Jazz Combo had to adjust and take on the challenges Wood had to successfully explore and understand a variety of jazz
styles and improve on jazz improvisation.

“We accomplished these goals by playing songs from different periods of jazz history and studying concepts of improvisation as they relate to each tune,” Wood said.

Throughout the semester, the group learned what it was really like to play as a small ensemble compared to a big band.

“Any new musical group needs time to learn how to communicate and interact with each other,” Wood said. “This is especially true with a smaller ensemble like a jazz combo, as each individual student has a huge impact on the sounds of the group. I think this group has done a great job coming together this semester and forming a cohesive ensemble.”

Wood became a new faculty member of the SVSU Music Department over the summer.

As the jazz director, Wood learned more about the students within combo alone.

“I have worked with ensembles at many different ages, experience and ability levels before, but what I appreciated most about this group is their enthusiasm to try new things and support each other on the way,”
Wood said.

“The ensemble is a mix of older and younger students, but they all approach rehearsals as an opportunity to learn and move forward as a group.”

Audrey Bergey

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