Jazz day features famous trombonist

Grammy-nominated trombonist Conrad Herwig performs in front of a Saddleback audience on Jazz Day. (Courtesy of Vincent Neale)

David Gutman

The Jazz Day event began with music seminars and culminated in a concert featuring trombonist Conrad Herwig and the Saddleback College Big Band.

Herwig has recorded 17 albums as a jazz leader and many others as a featured trombonist. His latest projects, featuring remixes of classic styles, have all been nominated for Grammy awards.

Herwig has also recently been voted the number one jazz trombonist in the 2002 Drumbeat Jazz Critic’s Poll. Being in constant demand to play for audiences, Saddleback was very fortunate to receive Herwig’s services as a musician and a teacher, according to the jazz day program.

Starting earlier in the day, high school student’s participated in a day-long jazz camp. Classes were taught by Saddleback jazz instructors and even Herwig himself instructing the young trombonists.

Saddleback’s jazz studies department chairman Joey Sellers opened the concert.

“Believe it or not ladies and gentlemen, you are the jazz community and we appreciate all of you very much,” said Sellers as he closed the first act of the concert.

After a short intermission, the audience filed in a second time to welcome Herwig to the stage. The second part of the performance featured songs composed or transposed by Herwig.

Before every number, Herwig gave a short introduction and history behind the song. One song in particular had a very tragic back story: Herwig was touring with a close friend and they were composing a jazz album together. Sadly, during the tour, his friend was diagnosed with stage-four prostate cancer. Herwig described his last days with his friend, and how he had to finish their last song on his own, in their composition titled: “A Prayer for Passive Resistance.”

“This song is very dear to me because it is a way to remember my friend and it is in my opinion prescient with what is happening in Egypt right now,” Herwig said.

The concert closed with Sellers and Herwig thanking the audience and the other contributing musicians.

“Some people say jazz is dead, I don’t believe that at all. I believe that it is alive and well here at Saddleaback College,” Herwig said, as he thanked the audience a second time.

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