Laying down ‘Live’ grooves

fahima paghmani

Jazz admirers gathered in the Saville Theater on Nov. 13 at City College to listen to the fine tones of the Jamie Valle Jazz Quartet, while KSDS Jazz 88.3 FM recorded the live 90 minute performance.   

It was as though New Orleans came to City College, and guests varied in makeup and age.

The stage was set up with the finest instruments, the background displayed an appealing burgundy and chocolate design and the lighting was dim, complimenting the stage, instruments, and performers.  

All performers were set in front of their instruments, with great anticipation of starting the show, which began at exactly at 8 p.m.

City College sampled a bite of jazz music from world class musicians: guitarist Jaime Valle, bass player Bob Magnusson, drummer Richard Sellers, conga player Jean Perry, and pianist/percussionist Allan Phillips.

Diverse sets of music were played, pieces which came from South America, Central America, and Latin America. Words are not suited to describe the tones that were delivered;

All instruments were used elegantly and timely, the sounds from a guitar, bass, drum, conga drums, piano, and percussion filled through the walls of the theater. This gave guests a significant role in the show, by nodding their heads and tapping their shoes at the pace of the music, encouraging the performers to keep playing.

Every artist had a significant role, and each had their own solos which brought a pleasantly intense attention.

Carol McFarlane, Valle’s special guest, sang three songs, pleasantly hitting every note appropriately.

McFarlane’s songs twirled in English and Portuguese, giving guest a surprise in each song.

By the end of the concert, guest came to the realization, the most diverse and challenging genre of music is jazz.

To be able listen or to play a piece of jazz harmony is stimulating and rewarding. Not only is jazz soulful, rhythmic, and rich; it’s full of culture and character.

“Blues is the foundation of jazz,” Valle said about the concept of jazz. “You have to be intimate with your instruments. You will slowly start expressing yourself. It becomes very enjoyable when you start expressing yourself.”

“Jazz is the outcome of art. Every jazz musician has their own interpretation of art and something that many people may not know about jazz is, most pieces are improvisation,” Phillips, the Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe of our time said.

“I am like a sponge. I grasp from many different people. Whatever comes to my mind when I am playing came from a wide variety of artists,” Phillips said. “If you can feel how spontaneous it is, once you jump into 12-bar blues,” he said, as a tip to new jazz listeners.

We should all be like sponges and soak into diversities of music by tuning into Jazz 88.3 FM to listen to the soulful, rhythmic, and rich jazz music.