Jazz Combo assembles major performance


Margo Levitan, Entertainment Editor

Music to my ears.

With all of the hard work put in to the Jazz Combo Fest on Dec. 19, the event is bound to be a night of entertainment for everyone.

“The idea of a combo is that it’s a combination of instruments, not that it is a combination of different music styles,” Charles Abplanalp, one of the instructors for the Jazz Combos, says. “While all of the music is jazz, the combo groups themselves differ depending on the amount of people.”

Typically, these combo groups have around five people, each performing two pieces. However, both the structure of the music and the preparation for this production differ from bigger bands.

“Every player has a lead sheet, which has the chord changes and the melody,” Abplanalp says. “From there, you make your individual piece yourself, learning to make music as you go along.”

Unlike other performances that have specific notes to follow, jazz embraces the art of improvisation, combining various jazz skills in a jam packed performance.

“I’m preparing for the show just by practicing daily and jamming with other musicians to keep my ears and musicality up to speed,” senior Joey Bonansinga says. “This allows for me to freely express myself through improvisation.”

By creating the jazz combo groups, which have less instruments and less people, it allows students to have creative control as well as a way to showcase the art. Unlike bigger bands, students involved in the jazz combos focus on creating a night full of musical surprises.

“During rehearsals, we choose our tunes, work on arrangements and refine our improvisation and jazz theory skills,” junior Jonah Karsh says.

The Jazz theory skills allow for the students to implement a variety of styles into their performances, unconfined by prewritten notes splattered on the page. This performance highlights the improvisation and freeness of jazz, allowing for students to apply the theory of jazz they do with it what they seem fit.

“In big bands, we mostly just play notes on a page,” Karsh says. “In combos, there is a lot more space for improvisation and creative expression, which is cool.”

With the variety of music and skill level, the jazz combo fest creates the perfect atmosphere for a night of unique improvisations and a showcase of the jazz genre of music. With around 30 to 40 kids involved, there is a lot of talent to go around.

The Jazz Combo Fest takes place on Dec. 19 in the Terrace Dining Room and will last approximately an hour and a half.