Hey ya’ll! I’m Vicki: class of 2019, ethnomusicology and applied-math economics double concentrator, and your blogger for the Music to My Ears column. I’ll be writing all about Brown’s diverse and bustling music scene each week, so stay tuned!
The Providence jazz community came together last night to welcome saxophonist Jimmy Heath (!!!) in the Brown Jazz Band‘s 29th Annual Eric Adam Brudner ’84 Memorial Concert.
The concert was packed with both Brown students and local community members, and rightly so: Jimmy Heath is kind of a big deal. As one of the originators of bebop jazz (think fast tempo, complex syncopation, crazy chords and chord progressions, and extensive improvised solos – basically modern jazz as we know it), Jimmy Heath composed tunes that remain jazz standards to this day. Nicknamed ‘Little Bird’, during his 61-year career, Jimmy Heath collaborated with jazz giants such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker.
The set list opened with Miles Davis’s Nardis, with solos by Peter Enriquez ’17 on electric bass, Alex Han ’18 on keyboard, and Kevin Hagerty ’18 on trumpet. Next up was Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life, with a pitch perfect, absolutely beautiful vocal performance by Marion Wellington ’16. The rhythm section wowed with Snarky Puppy’s virtuosic What About Me.
The second half of the performance featured, of course, Jimmy Heath. Jimmy Heath joined the big band to perform a few of his compositions, including Sleeves (inspired by the classic tune Autumn Leaves), Gemini (for which he switched over to soprano sax), Ellington’s Stray Horn (how awesome is that pun?), A Time And A Place (a foot-tapping, sassy tune, in which both Jimmy Heath and Yale Friend ’19 quoted Bizet’s legendary Carmen opera) and Gingerbread Boy. Obviously, Jimmy Heath absolutely rocked every solo, and Brown students delivered as well.
The Brown Jazz Band, under the direction of Matthew McGarrell, will travel to Berlin during the last week of March of this year to perform several concerts.
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