Jazz band brings warmth to a cold November night

Elizabeth Stoeger, Freelancer

The sweet rhythms of the Linfield Jazz Band were on display with selections that ranged from Count Basie’s band to Stephen Sondheim on Wednesday, Nov. 12, in Ice auditorium.

Those who braved the cold were treated to a selection of upbeat tunes that warmed the room and the crowd right up.

The concert began with a rendition of “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” originally by Count Basie which featured the band’s “own Count Basie,” who was replicated in freshman Ehren Cahill.

The band also played Benny Goodman’s “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” followed by “Ticker.” To smiling faces and murmurs of agreement in the band, conductor Steve Kravitz remarked that the performance of “Ticker” was “the best it has ever sounded.”

Both were smooth and nostalgic reminders of the bygone era of big band music, which the Jazz Band works to revitalize.

“Trumpets Forever” allowed the clear tones of the trumpets to work their sonorous magic.

“Jazz Police” sounded particularly impressive as it created a clean as well as energetic sound that invigorated the program.

First introduced by Ethel Waters at the famed Cotton Club and popularized by Lena Horne, the band played an irresistibly sentimental version of the classic “Stormy Weather.”

Most of the pieces served as showcases for students in the band.

Senior Katelyn Henson played two swinging solos on the baritone sax, sophomore Olivia Marquardt demonstrated her prowess on the tenor sax and senior Christian Santangelo displayed his technical ability on the drums.

The last section of the concert belonged to singer Izgi Gülfem Torunlar, a senior who will graduate in December. For the performance tonight, she said, “I had a lot of fun and I think the band sounded great.”

It was bittersweet, however, because it was Torunlar’s last concert before her graduation.

“This was fun and sad for me because it’s my last time singing with them and I wish I could sing with them forever.”

Originally from Turkey, Torunlar said, “I really wanted to learn about jazz because it’s an American style … so singing with them has given me the chance to learn more about the style.”

Torunlar charmed the crowd with a fresh, up-tempo version of the oft-played Stephen Sondheim classic “Send in the Clowns” which was followed by a catchy song with Latin rhythms, “Save the Last Dance for Me,” originally by The Drifters.

Torunlar’s vocals with the band behind her made the two a special pair.

The last song, “Diggin’ On James Brown,” was the perfect, upbeat way to end the evening of big band music. The band itself was in good form, which created a warm atmosphere that gave new life to music most college students and community members that attended the concert don’t often get to hear live.