Free jazz concert filled nearly every seat

The Music Department’s third Concert Hour of the semester drew a crowd of over 70 students who came to watch music faculty members, along with one music student, perform an hour-long jazz concert on Thursday, April 21.

During the show, nearly every seat in FA 101 was filled. No students or audience members came in late and with the exception of photos, no one was using their phones during the concert. Although many students attended as a requirement for an applied music course, the demeanor of the audience suggested they wanted to be there.

Joey Sellers, Ariel Alexander, Larry Koonse, Richard Lueras and Drew Bock performing for Concert Hour on Thursday, April 21. (Kurtis Rattay/ Lariat)

Joey Sellers, Ariel Alexander, Larry Koonse, Richard Lueras and Drew Bock performing for Concert Hour on Thursday, April 21. (Kurtis Rattay/ Lariat)

The free hour-long show was played by Joey Sellers on trombone, Ariel Alexander on alto saxophone, Larry Koonse on guitar and music student Drew Bock on drums. Joey Sellers is the director of jazz studies at Saddleback College. Ariel Alexander is a music instructor at the college.

“You have Joey who is a super good musician, Ariel and drummer Drew who is actually a student in this class,” said Dylan Martinez, music student. “He is playing with them because he is super good.”

For one hour on Thursday, the large music classroom was converted into a dimly lit concert hall surrounded by blue curtains. Bright lights shined on the performers who played a total of seven pieces, each about five to 10 minutes long.

Each piece played had several solos from each instrument. The audience applauded at the end of every solo.

This Concert Hour consisted of pieces that were chosen to highlight the work and teachings of jazz musician and educator Lennie Tristano. He was one of the first jazz educators to use a “structured system” of teaching, according to a program with notes on the concert.

“Basically Tristano taught close to a thousand students and those students taught students taught students,” Ariel Alexander said during the performance. “We are all kind of disciples of the Tristano in third generation. It is amazing to see this one teacher’s influence generation after generation.”

The band played “Happenings” by Ariel Alexander, “Lennie’s Pennies,” “317 E. 32nd Street” and “Ablution” by Lennie Tristano, “Subconscious” by Lee Konitz, “Background Music” by Warne Marsh and “Sueños” by Joey Sellers.

Both Joey Sellers and Ariel Alexander were introduced to the school of Lennie Tristano by saxophonist Gary Foster.

“[Foster] is now in his 80s and he is a wonderful studio musician but also a great jazz musician,” Sellers said. “I actually studied with him and he said ‘you are done with me you are going to study with Warne Marsh now.’ Warne Marsh is one of the main disciples of Lennie Tristano.”

Tristano school is not an actual school, “it’s a way of teaching and way of conceiving music,” Sellers said before they performed the last composition.

Concert Hour comes from the music department’s applied music program, and is organized by Norman Weston, director of theory and composition.

The fourth and final Concert Hour of the semester will be performed entirely by students on May 12.