Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, April 20
Gary Walters led off with a literally off-the-wall composition and presentation: "Wallpaper Music: Is Instrumental Jazz dead or is no one listening?" The audience is looking at Meredith Gilna's line drawings of seven instruments adhered to the wall of the stage above seven floor spotlights. A mime with a cardboard wand enters. He shines a spot on a drawing; the instrument is heard. Spot off, that instrument is silenced; another spot on, another instrument heard, etc. The mime is in a frenzy. He seems willy-nilly to be popping spotlights on and off and on and off but there's a melody to this madness as a haunting jazz line wisps and weaves. How do these players make it happen out of sight of the light, of the mime's pointing with the wand cum baton? Bravo to composer Walters; Chris Murray, trumpet; Joe Longardner, soprano and tenor sax; Sam Bivens, tuba; Nana Omori, jazz piano; Zane Merritt, guitar; Davison Robie, bass; Scott Comanso, percussion and Matthew Van Oss, mimist.
Frank Felice's "you drive Me nervous" plays off the title of Alice Cooper's original song from "Killers." Just a bit crazy is an understatement. Nothing is expected, anything can happen—and does. Thank you for the zany musical ride that you can't hum to but you're not likely to forget: Anne Reynolds, flute; Kent Leslie, horn; Davis Brooks, violin; David Murray, bass; Jon Crabiel, percussion.
James Q. Mulholland quipped, "If ever there was a composer at the wrong place at the wrong time," but his "Two Poems for Cello (William Grubb) and Piano (Anna Briscoe)," were lovely indeed as Gaelic interludes providing a return to what we usually expect.
Let's just say tenor Steven Stolen "owns" Michael Schelle's "Struwwelpeter." Seven vivid episodes of naughty children are portrayed through poems set to music and memorable acting. Richard Auldon Clark conducts Samantha Johnson, clarinet; Jay Young, tenor sax; Catherine Bringerud, piano; Victoria Sparks, percussion; Max Zheleznyak, violin; David Murray, doublebass.