Concert debuts new EOU jazz group

New jazz group

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 10.33.35 AMLA GRANDE — Three groups of Eastern Oregon University student musicians will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in an evening of jazz, traditional and modern music.

Jazz ensemble 45th Parallel Ensemble, directed by Matt Cooper, will headline the concert while the African Drumming Ensemble, directed by Luke McKern, opens the show in the Groth Recital Hall. A new, student-led combo known as 2/5/1 will debut that evening as well.

Cooper said that although several independent student groups have arisen in the past, 2/5/1 is the first in several years.

“This group promises to be a really fine one, with excellent players and singers who are very committed to rehearsing regularly and developing original arrangements,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing them perform around town and in the Northeast Oregon region in the future.”

The African Drumming ensemble will perform two traditional West African selections. 45th Parallel’s performance will feature a foray into the shuffle blues with Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff’s “Happy Feet,” two Brazilian choro pieces, “Eighty-One,” from the Miles Davis quintet of the late 1960s; the bossa nova standard “Manha de Carnaval” and John Coltrane’s modal jazz classic “Impressions.”

Members include Logan Greenwell on alto saxophone, Arthur Wohlleben and Jordan Hickey on trumpet, Stephen Peterson on trombone, Ludi Phillips on violin, Riley Sheehy on mandolin, Adam Lange on guitar, Mary Kellogg and Curtis Carson on piano and keyboard, Luke McKern on bass guitar, and Joey Lucius on drums.

Four members of 45th Parallel form the new 2/5/1 combo, which features Greenwell on saxophone and vocals, Carson on keyboard, Lange on guitar and Lucius on drums. The brand-new combo will perform two selections including the chestnut “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”

Greenwell, a history and music major from Tumwater, Washington, helped bring the group together this fall.

“(We) wanted a place to play music that we like, develop our skills in a smaller setting, and be able to play in the community,” Greenwell said. “This group lets us work on music at our own pace and find our own sound.”

He said membership in the small combo has enhanced his education. He said the group is focused on jazz but also covers music the members enjoy, for instance an original version of Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘bout you.”

“We all have different things we bring to the table that make us better,” he said “Playing music with a small group requires greater attention to detail, more confidence and learning to communicate well.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit EOU music scholarships or the Piano Fund.

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