Art & Life

Guest artist Michael Giles joins Kirkwood jazz ensemble 

A funky night of jazz took place in Ballantyne Auditorium on Nov. 11, as the Kirkwood Jazz Band had their fall concert. 

This was the first concert with Blake Shaw as conductor, after he took over for Kirkwood’s former band director Joe Perea. 

Shaw conducted the 22 members of the jazz band in a show of ten songs, featuring a number of soloists. Michael Giles, teaching professor of music at Iowa State University, was featured in Saturday’s concert. Giles added a plentitude of saxophone solos of his own, striking awe in the members of the audience.

 The auditorium was taut with energy through each of the ten pieces performed. The selection featured classic jazz songs such as, “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock and “Take the A Train” by Duke Ellington and Billy Strahorn. To juxtapose the jazz, the band played the classic “Norwegian Wood” of The Beatles. Shaw’s band was faithful to The Beatles’ sound while adding in their own twists and styles. 

As a whole, the selection of different styles, songs and genres gave the concert a unique listening experience, making it nearly impossible to not tap your foot along. The praiseful hoots and hollers of the audience became a symbiotic relationship of the jams of the band.

The jazz band has seen a few changes under the direction of Blake Shaw. This is the first year this number of songs has been performed in under an hour. 

In previous years, Kirkwood had two separate jazz bands. With scheduling differences this year, the band was combined into one. This has lead to the band having a surplus of players at certain instruments. 

The concert also saw performances from the CR Big Band which is also directed by Shaw. This fall jazz concert is the first of many for this school year. This semester will also see performances from the Kirkwood Concert band.  

Categories: Art & Life