Bay School to host Jazz Ensemble

The Los Medanos College Jazz Ensemble is preparing for its upcoming performance at the Bay School of San Francisco Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., and Jazz band instructor Rob Dehlinger has been working studiously with the jazz musicians since the beginning of the semester.

Dehilinger said that the concert “should be fun because it’ll be a chance for the students to get out and play in the city.”

The Bay School is a private high school located in Presidio, near the Walk Disney Family Museum and Lucasfilm.

The Jazz Ensemble will be playing five pieces at the event; two of the pieces will feature a vocalist -— “Who’s Sorry Now” and “All the Things You Are.”

“A standard that any jazz player should know. So I picked that one in order to make sure the students were exposed to it,” added Dehlinger.

The band is also doing “Spring Can Really Hand You Up the Most” and “Sir Duke.” “[‘Sir Duke’] is one of my favorite Stevie wonder Tunes,” said Dehilnger, “And ‘Nutville,’ which is by jazz composer/pianist Horace Silver. It’s an energetic arrangement which features many soloists and gives them a chance to really work on their improvisation.”

The 20-student Jazz band is a combination of saxophone, trombone, trumpet, piano and bass players with an addition of a vocalist.

Dehlinger said he is delighted with the number of new members that joined the ensemble this year.

The band’s pianists, Israel Castro and Solomon Uhuru, both had never played for a jazz band before.

Uhuru doesn’t have any prior band experience or musical experience, but has a knack for playing by ear and has been doing so for the past four years.

“I never thought I would be playing in a jazz band,” said Uhuru, “I feel like a cool guy, and when I say ‘cool guy,’ I mean, I’m playing with a lot of talented people. It puts me on a pedestal.”

Castro had previously been a part of the Pittsburg High School Marching Show band prior to coming to LMC and has been enjoying the LMC Jazz band so far.

“Since I love music, I didn’t want to stop playing, so I joined Jazz,” said Castro.

“I love it,” said Kristen Harroun, another first timer and vocalist of the jazz ensembles, “It’s a lot of fun and I’ve met a lot of cool people.”

The Jazz ensemble holds practices every week on Tuesday and Thursday, where Dehlinger works with the students on ear training and improvisation, which is a “big part” of jazz band, according to Dehlinger. Many of the songs Dehlinger picked out for the Bay School performance will feature solos for part of this reason.

“He [Rob] distributes the parts, but if there is a solo part marked on it, you just do it,” said Tony Hedrix, trumpet player of four years.

Following the Nov. 11 concert, another concert will be held on Dec. 2 at LMC that will feature the Jazz Ensemble as well as the Jazz Studio Band, a band made up of LMC students, high school students and musicians from within the community.

Dehlinger said the studio band provides great exposure to graduating high school students and has high hopes for more members joining the LMC Jazz ensemble next year.

Hedrix encourages students who enjoy music to join the LMC ensemble.

“Here’s the place to be if you’re [a] music major,” said Hedrix, “if you really want to have fun with music.”