Community jazz band rocks out over the weekend

By Kevin Bartelt

The Community School of the Arts Jazz Band members nodded their heads and tapped their feet as they jammed to some powerful tunes this weekend.

The performance was at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building. Christopher Johnson directs CSJazz Band and is earning his masters degree in jazz studies. Johnson also plays trombone for the NIU Jazz Ensemble.

The CSJazz Band is comprised of 14- to 20-year-old community members who must audition to participate. The ensemble practices once a week from September to May and puts on three concerts.

“These musicians are young, and watch out this spring because they’re getting better each day,” Johnson said. Although the band is less experienced than ensembles at NIU’s School of Music, the audience responded to the performance with positive feedback.

“It was a good show for being so early in their season,” said freshman sociology major David Oliver. “I really enjoyed the piece that featured the trombone player. That was the best song they played.”

That piece was Makin’ Whoopee. Eddie Cantor created the track in 1928. The CSJazz Band performed Quincy Jones’ 1956 version. This slow, relaxing cover sounds almost like a lullaby. This soothing track featured trombone player Sean Holly.

Another great tune was Hay Burner by Sammy Nestico. This song was upbeat, varied greatly in volume and had no low points.

The concert was only 30 minutes long, but the band played several songs in that short time. The CSJazz Band will perform again at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 10 in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building.