Mardi Gras may be over but the celebration of New Orleans is still alive on campus.
Should you have been walking by Camp Concert Hall on the night of Feb. 17, chances are you may have heard the University of Richmond's faculty performance of the festive, foot-tapping sounds of the New Orleans Jazz Celebration. The Jazz Faculty All-Stars included Mike Davison on cornet and trumpet, Gene Anderson on clarinet, Ron Baedke on trombone, Russell Wilson on piano, Kevin Harding on banjo and guitar, Brian Jones on drums, and special guests Ben Anderson on brass bass, Andrew Schutte on string bass and Matt Jordan on cornet. The audience, ranging from kids to students to older adults, were treated to a time of story-telling, corny jokes, and stellar jazz pieces originally performed by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton, and Joe "King" Oliver to name a few.
Jazz rolled in from the streets of New Orleans and into the concert hall with the set of 11 songs dating from 1899 to 1928. While some may believe that listening to a jazz concert may be insipid or a waste of precious time for a young college student, this group deserves recognition. The crowd enjoyed the enormous talent and a lush description of the background of Louisiana jazz that these musicians took the time to perform amid their already hectic schedules as professors.
Renowned jazz pianist Russell Wilson gave a phenomenal solo showcasing his talent and the reason behind his reception of the 2002 Theresa Pollak Award for excellence in the arts. Each musician's talent was highlighted with solos throughout many a song, and an encore of "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Mama Don't Allow" left the audience wanting more of that vivacious, hands clapping, arms waving, New Orleans jazz. The Richmond professors and guest musicians characterized the truth in the statement: "Jazz musicians sing and play because they can't contain their passions. Their music starts in the soul radiates out in every direction."
Contact reporter Amanda Cannada at firstname.lastname@example.org