Clark and co. put on a show

Lilly Montero, lilly.montero3@gmail.com

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LMC staff and students were treated to a jazz concert by the Mike Clark Organ Trio Tuesday, Feb. 20. What was initially going to be a ticketed event, not only became a free concert, but was also an opportunity for music students to learn more about jazz.

Professor Zilber began the evening saying that it was one of those “rare moments when my worlds collide.” A moment in which he could combine his passion for teaching and music into one.

He then introduced the headliner, Mike Clark, the famous drummer who helped develop what is known as the “Oakland sound” and rest of the trio including, Keith Saunders a famous pianist and Peter Barshay a famous bass player. Professor Zilber accompanied the group on the saxophone.

The group played a total of five songs with intermittent lecture and discussion allowing the students to really engage with the musicians and their art. The first song was “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” by Sigmund Romberg; the second “Loft Funk” a Mike Clark original; the third “Summer in Central Park” by Horace Silver; the fourth “Amsterdam blues” by Chris Potter; and the fifth and final song was “You Know I Care.”

Each song was notably different from the next which gave Zilber and the band the opportunity to teach the students about different kinds of jazz. The songs ranged from a jazz waltz, jazz “funk,” a song that was more bluesy and modern, to the last which was an iconic ballad.

The musicians seemed to enjoy teaching the students about jazz just as much as the students enjoyed listening to it. Mike Clark offered insightful and comedic commentary, often jokingly ending it saying, “Do you know what I mean? I mean I know what I mean” throughout the night.

And by the end of the night it did seem like the students knew what he meant. As they finished each song and broke down the elements of it piece by piece students could see what Clark meant when he said that, “the joy is in the blues of the music – it’s the gumbo of jazz”.

Clark’s “musical conversation” with the trio allowed students to really dive into the music in a way that they might not have been able to with a regular jazz concert.

Music student Will Manalili appreciated the music department bringing the concert to LMC.

“The concert is great to have for students cause you can give them something to learn without killing them with lecture,” Manalili joked, adding, “Since it was at school I was only a hop skip and a jump away” from real musicians.

After a night spent exploring what professor Zilber called “unfamiliar, uncharted territory” students left more informed and appreciative about jazz than before.

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