In-person jazz concert rescheduled

After being rained out once, the jazz ensemble regrouped for a spring term show

Isabel Ryan

The university jazz ensemble was set to perform in-person on April 8, but due to rain, the performance was moved to livestream for viewers at home.

The outdoor in-person performance was re-scheduled for May 5.

The live concert filled the greenery behind the Lenfest Center of the Arts. Socially-distanced and masked, attendees included both students and community members.

Robert Masi, ‘21, the group’s pianist, reflected on the meaning of performing jazz.

“Jazz for me is a highly outward and inter-active art form, and not having an audience for over a year has meant missing half of the performance equation,” he said.

In a time where livestreaming music and arts performances are more common because of COVID-19 safety guidelines, finding a space conducive to an outdoor concert was refreshing for bassist Walker Payne, ‘21.

“We’ve been working on [this concert] for months and actually being able to realize and share it for other people was one of my favorite aspects,” Payne said. “Being able to bring people together to enjoy live music and per-form for them fosters a sense of community and humanity with the audience that has been lacking lately because of COVID.”

Audience members were not asked to “mute their microphones” for the performance. Instead, they were encouraged to clap, make noise and join the band in the production of a collective, joyful sound.

The concert opened with a jazz quartet featuring Truman Chancy, ’22 (saxophone), Robert Masi, ’21 (piano), Walker Payne, ’21 (bass) and Will Morris, ’23 (drums). The audience cheered and expressed delight for many of their pieces, including Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy Mercy,” Freddie Hub-bard’s “Little Sunflower,” and Dizzy Gilles-pie’s “A Night In Tunisia.”

All performers wore two masks with a slit in the most interior mask to fit musicians’ respective mouthpieces.

The concert featured incredible soloists, recognized at the end of each composition as well as an original work of Chancy’s titled “Popping Popcorn.”

Audience members were encouraged to dance during the performance of Doug Beach’s “Latin Action.”

The power of the first in-person jazz concert since the beginning of the pandemic affected many in the audience, including Alexander Caines ’21.

“If you are not moaning and whistling with every change in tempo or rhythm at the jazz gig, you are either too young or don’t belong,” he said. “If you aren’t crying your eyes out or clapping your hands into dust between solos you’re either too young or don’t belong.”

At the end of the performance, when asked whether there would be any interest in a fu-ture outdoor jazz concert, the audience responded with a resounding “yes.”