Students enjoy a night with Grant Larson

Saxophonist impresses

Dante Harrold, @DanteHerald

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The Los Medanos College Honors Program and Music Department jointly sponsored An Evening With Grant Larson, a renowned jazz musician, in a well-attended concert Tuesday night in the campus Recital Hall.

Music professor Luis Zuniga asked long-time friend Dr. Grant Larson to perform at LMC in hopes that it would inspire students. For his part, Larson said, “The main thing I hope they get is to enjoy their time here.”

And enjoy it, they did.

Although many of the audience members were music students attending the concert for a class assignment, the general reaction to the program was positive, with most showing interest in the music and cheering upon each song’s completion.

“It was phenomenal,” said music student Richard Hayes, who explained that while he was there for a class assignment he would have attended the performance anyway. Hayes was not alone in that sentiment.

“I thought it was great,” added sophomore Marinelli Tellez.

Philosophy professor Edward Haven, who team teaches a class on the philosophy of music with Zuniga, said he hoped “students see what real improvisation looks like, improv jazz,” adding, “it’s kind of an enjoyable experience.”

Larson gave an improv performance on saxophone with bassist Aaron Shaul, drummer Juan Carreon, and trumpeter Steve Ernest. He also shared with the audience that he and his improv team got together only once, an hour before the show, to practice for the evening’s concert.

Throughout the show Larson explained why he selected the songs to perform: respect for the artists who composed the jazz he loves, as well as the importance of jazz musicians who are innovative at their craft, giving a new musical interpretations to old songs.

Among the songs featured were classics such as “I’m an Old Cowhand” by Johnny Mercer and “Strange Meeting” by Bill Frisell.

The musicians who performed were just as pleased as the audience with the outcome of the concert.

Shaul expressed surprise at the turnout, explaining the concerts he usually performs have many fewer attendees.

“It was way bigger than I expected,” he said. ”I think it went well.”

Larson said he was satisfied with the audience turnout and their reaction to his music, and looks forward to another concert at LMC in the future, “If they ask me back.”

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