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Jazz Appreciation Comparing Two Concerts

1667 words - 7 pages

Jazz Appreciation
Aaron Wolf
12/1/10
The Comparison of Two Jazz Concerts

Jazz Appreciation class presented me with the opportunity to attend two, unique jazz concerts that differentiated in various aspects. I had the pleasure of listening to The Jameson Sanagin Aaron Wolf Duo and The Cuesta Night Band one night after the other. The differences between these concerts could not have been greater and while I closely observed the performers, their music, the venue and the audience, I found few commonalities between the two. Each was very intriguing to listen to, and the large range of differences between the concerts made it ...view middle of the document...

Most of the people who attended these concerts were older, and it appeared that the majority of them were between fifty and seventy. I was able to observe the audience at The Steynberg concert more closely because of the smaller environment, and noted the small number of students who dressed casually, in comparison to a greater number of older adults who dressed in formal attire.
One main difference between the two concerts was the musicians. The duo at the Steynberg Gallery was two musicians, James Sanagin who played the guitar, and Aaron Wolf who played the saxophone. They are much younger than the performers in the Cuesta Night Band, who are above the age of fifty. Aaron and James presented themselves in a laidback manner by wearing non-formal clothes, and talked casually about their music in between songs. This type of presentation was appropriate in such a small venue with only two performers and it emphasized the intimate, relaxed vibe I previously mentioned. Making brief eye contact with the musicians as they spoke between songs and hearing them talk in detail about their music created a close relationship between them and the audience. This relationship was substantial because I could see the performers up close and was able to observe the band’s musical characteristics more in depth.
The Cuesta Night Band, in comparison, is an orchestra that consists of eighteen male musicians who presented themselves and their music in a very formal manner. They wore suits and ties, and had an announcer who introduced them and talked about their music. This presentation functioned perfectly in such a large venue with a lot of viewers, but it created a distant relationship between the audience and performers. Listening to eighteen musicians twenty rows from the stage made it difficult to observe the performers and their musical characteristics in detail, greatly distinguishing from the small concert at the Steynberg Gallery.
These two concerts have very different musical characteristics and intentions for their music. The Jameson Sanagin Aaron Wolf Duo’s intention was to portray their music as an art to the audience, while The Cuesta Night Band was strictly meant to be for entertainment. I got this impression because of how the bands worked together to produce their music.
James and Aaron’s music was like nothing I had ever heard before. I viewed it as an interpretative art because of the duo’s unique stylistic qualities, and the variety of ways in which the two instruments played back and forth - the artistic venue also supported the band’s intention for its music. Their style was free improvisation combined with a few composed forms in the songs. I distinctly remember the second song they performed, “Common,” displaying these qualities very well. The song started off slowly, composed and consonant. As the tempo sped up, the performers broke off from playing in tune with each other and the music became more spontaneous and...

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