Milestone reveals authors’ fears

By Ivan Cazares 

A group of Elans shared their fears and aspirations through short stories and poetry to celebrate the newest issue of Milestone in the S2 Recital Hall on April 16.

Milestone is a literary magazine that has been published at East Los Angeles College for the past 70 years.

“That’s over 60 years of giving students an outlet,” English professor Dustin Lehren said. Lehren served as an adviser in this year’s issue.

This was the first year that the selection process was handed over to a committee of students. Students from English 32 promoted the magazine and encouraged others to submit their work.

“Allowing students to submit work online and the use of social media to promote Milestone paid off,” Lehren said.

English 32 students also took on tasks such as copy editing. However, the layout was handed over to the school’s graphic artist.

Milestone publishes art, photography, poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

“The fear of failure stood out in this year’s issue,” Lehren said.

“Milestone gave me the tools and opportunity to express myself,” Matthew Mejia said.

Mejia, who recently transferred to Cal State Los Angeles, had some of his work published in a collection of poems titled “Reflections and Illuminations.”

The book features poems written by more than 50 poets from four different countries.

Mejia said that he has always had a hard time speaking in front of others, and that he remembers the day that he first was able to overcome his fear.

“On November 26, 2013, I was giving a presentation for Milestone and it was the first time I heard myself yelling,” Mejia said.

“Although it might sound cliche, dreams really do come true. They might not all come true, but some do,” President of the Speech Club Israel Beltran said.

He also said that one must put in the effort to make his or her dreams come true.

“Milestone is an outlet for those who want to be taken seriously. We want to start a deeper conversation,” Lehren said.

The group that presented answered questions from the audience.

Students and members of the East Los Angeles community can submit work at

The deadline for submitting work for next issue has been extended to April 23.

East Los Angeles College celebrates, explores Black History through dance, music, spoken word

UPLIFTING– Dance group JazzAntiqua performs "The Spiritual Nature of Jazz (excerpts from "Song in a Strange Land") during  the third annual Black History Project at the S-2 Recital Hall.
UPLIFTING– Dance group JazzAntiqua performs "The Spiritual Nature of Jazz (excerpts from "Song in a Strange Land") during  the third annual Black History Project at the S-2 Recital Hall.

UPLIFTING– Dance group JazzAntiqua performs “The Spiritual Nature of Jazz (excerpts from “Song in a Strange Land”) during the third annual Black History Project at the S-2 Recital Hall. CN/Justin Quebral

By Cortez Cruz Serrato

The third annual Black History Project celebrated Black culture with dance, music and spoken word last Thursday at the S2 Recital Hall.

Performances by jimbe drummer John Beatty, Roberto Chavez’ jazz band, Gospel singer Phillip Brandon and Jazz Antiqua exhibited the wide range of African and Latin- American performing arts.

East Los Angeles College adjunct dance professor and Black History Project founder Wanda-Lee Evans found it important to have a variety of acts.

“African American culture is a very diverse culture and there are many different aspects.From John Beatty’s performance to Jazz Antiqua, we saw not only variety, but an evolution of African American culture,” Evans said.

Evans said the event is not only to celebrate African American culture, but to appreciate other cultures and people with different ethnic backgrounds.

“All of our histories need to be shared and the more we share, the greater understanding we have of one another,” Evans said.

Professor Nader Haddad’s spoken word performance focused on the evolution of Malcolm X’s teachings and also of what kind of man he really was.

“Most often students are not taught about Malcolm and if they are it is a watered down or ‘whitewashed’ version of him,” Haddad said.

Professor Roberto Chavez and his jazz band played their own spin on Afro-Latin American music.

The band used a wide range of instruments from the common drum set, bass guitars and trumpets to bongo drums to give its performance an authentic Latin flair.

First Friday Jazz concert explores latin influence

Blown Away- Trumpet players Paul Litteral- Kentucky, right,  and Konstantins Jemelijanovs  play "Night in Tunisia" at the First Friday Jazz Concert in the S-2 Recital Hall on March 6.
Blown Away- Trumpet players Paul Litteral- Kentucky, right,  and Konstantins Jemelijanovs  play "Night in Tunisia" at the First Friday Jazz Concert in the S-2 Recital Hall on March 6.

Blown Away– Trumpet players Paul Litteral, right, and Konstantins Jemelijanovs play “Night in Tunisia” at the First Friday Jazz Concert in the S2 Recital Hall on March 6. CN/ Danny Vasquez

By Alexa Santana 

 First Friday Jazz offered a taste of Latin culture to East Los Angeles College at the S2 Recital Hall this past Friday.

The L.A. Mambo All-Star Orchestra gave a wonderful performance.

Roberto Chavez Jr., also known as Bobby, professor at ELAC and UCLA Extension, is the orchestra’s musical director.

Ten pieces that incorporated a variety of Latin culture played during the two-hour show.

The show consisted of Latin Jazz, Afro-Cubano Jazz, Mambo Swing, Mambo and much more.

The orchestra did a splendid job and delivered such a great performance.

Chavez is fortunate to be directing a talented group of individuals that have professional experience.

Members of his group have had the chance to work with stars such as Whitney Houston, Ray Charles and many more.

Chavez did a great job of incorporating the history of Latin music. Before the start of each song, Chavez went into detail about where the music originates from and how it has evolved.

In Chavez’s Bolero piece, El Dia Que Me Quieras, he explained that the music originally came from the country of Cuba.

It found its way into Mexico and eventually Mexican composers changed Bolero music by slowing it down. It is now played this way by Cubans.

This piece stood out from the rest because Chavez’s father, Roberto Chavez, was the vocalist.

His voice was soft, and gave a romantic and intimate feeling to the song.

Having his father be part of his performance showed the love of music they both share.

The crowd responded to his father’s singing with a standing ovation.

Roberto Chavez Sr. was a big influence for Chavez and was the one who introduced him to music.

Dancing also played a part in this piece, and other pieces as well.

Students from the Dance Department added to the Latin jazz concert.

The Latin Jazz piece “Night In Tunisia” had a powerful beat that captivated the audience

It was so impactful that it brought chills to the body.

Latin Dream is a song from Brazil. It started off soft, and had a romantic tone. The saxophone solo made the song stand out.

Along with that, the flugelhorn solo, which was played by Chavez himself, added intensity to its softness.

Of the whole performance, the least interesting was the Afro-Cubano.

It wasn’t a bad performance, but rather it sounded as if it were calling out an army.

What was great about the overall experience was the variety the show offered.

Chavez made sure to have the audience’s attention throughout the entire show and did so in such a great way.

At one point, the audience played a part in the performance.

During a Mambo, Perez Prado Medley, Chavez informed the audience to perform a loud grunt that was needed as part of the song.

He also brought a sense of humor which made the show more fun to watch.

Not only is he the orchestra’s music director, but he also played the trumpet and the flugelhorn.

Chavez is a music educator and jazz ensemble director with 24 years of experience in the United States Army Band Program, professional bands, universities, private schools, and private studios.

Chavez’s wife had a great influence on him and was the one who encouraged him to put the band together.

First Friday Jazz is held every first Friday of the month at the S-2 Recital Hall.

The next First Friday concert will be held on April 3.

Tickets are $6 for students with their student ID and $12 for the general public.


Choral concert calms the night

By Sergio Berrueta

A chorus of sopranos, tenors and baritones enchanted the night at the Annual Christmas Choral Concert on Dec. 8 at the S2 Recital Hall.

Conducted by professor Dr. Anthony Lupica and accompanied on piano by Dr. Lucy Nargizyan, the East Los Angeles College Choir and Chamber Chorale delighted the audience in a sentimental night of classical arrangements.

The ELAC College Choir began the night with two songs by Johannes Brahms, “In Stiller Nacht (In the Still of Night)” and “Wie Lieblich Sind Deine Wohnungen (How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings).”

These two set the quiet and somber mood for the beginning of the choir’s set.

ELAC’s Chamber Chorale helped to make the sober mood ever present later on.

In its performance of “Prayer,” the Chamber Chorale delivered a sadness upon the concert.

Composer Morten Lauridsen wrote the song after his infant son died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The piece asked for the Lord to watch over the child as he laid to rest with the chorale reflecting it by seeming to fade away altogether by the song’s end.

Soprano Bianca Galicia performed a solo of “Laudamus Te” without a flaw. She wowed the crowd, hitting high octaves that thrilled those in attendance with precision.

The concert also took dives into the songs focus on being lighter and carefree with the Choir’s performances of “What Is This Lovely Fragrance?” and “Jubilate Deo Omnis Terra, Op. 40b”

The Chamber Chorale followed suit on the first song of their set “Ubi Caritas.” The Chorale sang about the graces of God above with the sopranos excelling during the number.

With “Three Madrigals,” the chorale tackled the pains of falling in love, falling out of it and getting back into it with baritones getting time in the spotlight to showcase their voices.

The college choir and Chamber Chorale came together in the end to perform two Christmas carols arranged by conductor Sir David Wilcocks “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

These two brought the concert to a cheerful and joyful end compared to the soft and still performances featured.

First Friday Jazz concert series ends year on festive note


CHRISTMAS JAZZ—Vanessa Castaneda sings “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” in company with the ELAC Jazz Band at the First Friday Jazz Series Dec. 5 at the S2 Recital Hall. CN/JULIANNE OBREGON

By Sergio Berrueta

The East Los Angeles College Jazz Band rocked the final First Friday Jazz Concert of the season with an eclectic mix of big band jazz numbers and classic Christmas standards  Friday at the S2 Recital Hall.

Led by Music Department chair Robert Dawson, the band delighted the crowd in the midst of the chilly weather.

The concert kicked off with the Christmas classic “Sleigh Ride.” It was a high-sounding arrangement of modern jazz stylings with playful moments between the brass section and saxes.

During this number, the song dipped into big band swing stylings with the trombone section making them shine.

Other Christmas classics came later in the show to remind those that Christmas was in full bloom.

Alfredo Valdez thrilled with a beautiful rendition of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” on his tenor sax.

Valdez swooned the crowd with the sleepy and calm sound with the band accompanying him every step of the way to a small high-flown bridge midway.

It displayed the best of the band by sticking with the dreamy sounds of the Nat King Cole original.

In “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” the normally somber song became faster with rock undertones while keeping with the big band theme.

Guitarist Giovanni Espico came into the spotlight with a solo that  fit in with Van Halen rather than Christmas carols filled with trills and a wide array of chords.

The reworked arrangement gave the song a new vibrant feel rather than stick to the original.

The band also worked alongside ELAC alumna Vanessa Castaneda for two Christmas classics.

Castaneda was originally part of the Applied Music Program that pays for music majors to take one-on-one lessons and sessions with experienced musicians.

The program also helps them to be well-rounded in the music field to begin their career within it.

Castaneda’s stunning voice was brought out in “Christmas Waltz” with the band providing a light and breezy accompaniment to compliment her mezzo-soprano.

Castaneda sang the classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that brought the S2 Recital Hall to a standstill.

The song delivered a heartbreakingly beautiful performance with Castaneda dazzling.

Her vocals gave the song a lovelorn sadness to the piece with powerful prowess throughout.

Trombonist Tom Rocci came into the spotlight during the bridge to continue the lovelorn tone with a delightful solo.

Despite the myriad of Christmas tunes, jazz still dominated the night to give a send-off till next semester.

ELAC Professor and trumpeter Robert “Bobby” Chavez led the band in a cover of the Frank Sinatra version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

Chavez’s vocals fit perfectly well with the band’s big band accompaniment with a voice reminiscent of a laidback lounge singer.

The band got into a funk mood on “Psycho Funk” with trombonist Mike Julian bringing the funk on a satisfying trombone solo.

Espico’s guitar solo gave the tune the sound of the ‘70s with hints of Parliament in each chord.

The tenor sax shined nicely on the thrilling “Ecaroh” and “No Lava.” Tenor sax players Valdez and Roy Aguila played to each other’s strength on each of the tunes.

On “Ecaroh,” Valdez led on with an exciting solo of high and lows that allowed Aguila to follow suit on his own solo that was on par with Valdez.

With “No Lava,” the two engaged in a duel of the tenors in this arrangement of Al Jolson’s “Avalon” played entirely backwards by the band.

The tenors dominated the bombastic tune with Valdez beginning his solo with a fast-tempo and making quick work with his hands running rampant on the sax’s body.

Aguila proceeded to one-up Valdez’s solo with playful improvisation to stand out among the band.

Valdez appeared halfway during Aguila’s solo to engage in a musical clash of notes before uniting together by the song’s end.

The band got sentimental on arrangements “Time After Time” and “Fool on the Hill.”

“Time After Time” delivered an upbeat and simple sound with Chavez providing a short and sweet solo with the band adding to the sweetness.

On “Fool on the Hill,” the band amazed the crowd with a rare arrangement by Count Basie of The Beatles’ tune.

It stuck to the tone of the original at the beginning, complete with Roy Aguila switching to the flute to give a taste of the former version.

As it proceeded, the brass sections led it to become a louder and more playful version with trumpeter Juan Gamez standing out on a trumpet solo.

The arrangement delighted, bringing the loud style of the other songs of the evening while also giving the sober hints of other performances.

As the concert came to a close, Chavez returned to the forefront to leave the audience in a sing-along of Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad.”

With a Latin jazz style with remnants of funk, Chavez gave an amazing trumpet solo while the band celebrated with nothing but pure delight.

The audience helped sing-along under Chavez’s direction and at the end of the concert gave a standing ovation impressed by the entire concert.

The First Friday Jazz Concert series is held every first Friday of the month in the S2 Recital Hall.

The concert series will return on March 6 with the LA  Mambo Orchestra.


JAZZ THE NIGHT AWAY—The ELAC Jazz Band performed “Psycho Funk” during the last First Friday Jazz Series of the season Dec. 5 at the S2 Recital Hall. CN/JULIANNE OBREGON

Chamber Chorale performs in student recital

DO RE MI AMAZING— Anthony Lupica accompanied by Lucy Nargizyan conducted the students of the East Los Angeles Chamber Chorale  Nov. 26 in the S2 recital hall during the showcase.

DO RE MI AMAZING— Anthony Lupica accompanied by Lucy Nargizyan conducted the students of the East Los Angeles Chamber Chorale Nov. 26 in the S2 recital hall during the showcase. CN/Ismeal Carrillo

By Rachel Acosta

A Student Recital was held in the S2 Recital Hall featuring music from students and a performance by the East Los Angles College Chamber Chorale.

The recital featured students from Anthony Lupica, Associate Professor of Music, Voice and Director of Choirs, Ken Nagatani, Applied Guitar, Lucy Nargizyan, Applied Piano, and Lori Stinson, Applied Voice.

The recital was free admission and offered a wide variety of music from the students that were singing, playing guitar and piano. The ELAC’s Chamber Chorale ended with a performance.

The repertoire featured different genres of music from both students in beginning and advanced music classes.  There will be another student recital on Dec. 10.

There was music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Francesco Molino, Johannes Brahms, and others.  With the theme of the recital being love, Hermik Hagnazarian, a soprano, sang a song by composer Roger Quilter called “Love’s Philosophy.”

Among the performers was Yunting Xie, an applied music student, who was awarded the 1st Prize in the CAPMT Honors Auditions competition this past weekend.  In the recital, Xie performed ‘Grande valse brillante in E- flat Major, Op. 18” by composer Fréderic Chopin on the piano.

When the students finished their performances, some went back on stage because they were a part of ELAC’s Chamber Chorale.  Joining the students was accompanist Nargizyan, and Lupica conducted.

Lupica introduced the pieces the Chamber Chorale was going to be performing and talked a bit about what the pieces meant.  One of the pieces they sang was by a favorite composer of Lupica, Emma Lou Diemer.

When introducing the pieces of music they would be performing, Lupica explained how the theme of the recital was love.  The first song was about love it was from man to God and from God to man; the song was “Ubi Caritas” by Ola Gjeilo.

“Prayer” by Morten Lauridsen is about parental love which was inspired by a poem that was written by Dana Gioia.  Gioia’s poem is about the loss of her child due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It was then turned to music by Lauridsen.

“Three Madrigals” it is by composer Emma Lou Diemer, it is a three- work movement about love, but each part signifies the type of love it is.

It was inspired by William Shakespeare’s plays and contains some texts from some of Shakespeare’s plays.

The first part of the three- part song is called “O, Mistress Mine, Where are you roaming?” and it is about youthful love.  The second song called “Take, oh, take those lips away” is about forbidden love.  The third song is called, “Sigh no more, ladies. Sigh no more!” the song is just about love, and loving each other.

Foundation awards Elans scholarships

By Russell J. Zazueta

East Los Angeles College’s scholarship recipients received $500 for their hard academic work on Nov. 13, thanks to the diligent fundraising efforts of the East Los Angeles College Foundation’s staff and Board of Directors.

ELAC President Marvin Martinez opened the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment Scholarships Ceremony (CCCSE), held in the S2 building Recital Hall, with an honorary speech dedicated to more than 120 scholarship recipients.

Martinez said, “Being a former college student who never received a scholarship, I really want to acknowledge these students because it takes a lot of effort, takes a lot of time.” Martinez is an ELAC Foundation Board member.

During his presentation on stage, Martinez said to the audience, “We’re giving away over $100,000 worth of scholarships.”

What Martinez is referring to is an endowment fund, or a type of fundraising savings account, that currently has over $1.8 million, all of which is designated for students.

The ELAC Foundation is allocating over $100, 000 of that amount to award students with a $1,000 scholarship for the year, provided that they meet a specific criteria.

Students are required to be enrolled full time, have a completion of 24 or more degree-applicable  units, have a Board of Governors fee waiver in effect and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA.

The $1,000 is then divided into two increments of $500 over the course of the Fall semester and Spring semester. Recipients who fall behind on the CCCSE’s criteria after a semester of receiving a scholarship, fail to qualify for next semester’s scholarship of the remaining $500.

Also welcomed on stage as a guest speaker for the ceremony was a former ELAC student named Bulk Lao, whom Martinez considered “One of our (ELAC) superstars.”

According to Martinez, he’s been interviewed by State Chancellor Brice Harris and has appeared nationally on Public Radio.

Lao spoke of his 2.14 GPA when he started ELAC, the hard work and perseverance it took to earn scholarships.

“Never give up and push for your dreams,” said Lao.

Foundation Development Officer Martha Pelayo presented the scholarship awards to the rows of recipients waiting on stage.

Many ELAC Foundation staff members, along with some board members, participated in the ceremony by handing recipients their scholarships and taking a snapshot with them and Martinez to commemorate the moment.

ELAC honors veterans over three days, three events

By Damien Guzman

East Los Angeles College honored veterans Nov. 12 thru Nov.14 with a Veterans Day celebration that highlighted veterans’ military stories. The event was hosted by the ELAC Veterans Resource Center and Veterans of ELAC (VELAC) and included a flag raising ceremony.

Veterans and staff members met at the S2 Recital Hall with guest speakers, including ELAC President Marvin Martinez, California State Senator Ed Hernandez and a few others. They each gave thanks to all veterans in attendance and around the world.

Staff member and veteran Bill Cushing told the audience the story of an old soldier and the fight for his country.

Alonzo Cushing fought 151 years ago during the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor this year from President Barack Obama for holding off swarms of enemies with a single canon before being overwhelmed and shot down.

Professor Bunnarith Chhun showed his appreciation for veterans after describing his tragic childhood in which some of his family members were tortured and executed in Vietnam.

After forces invaded Vietnam, Chhun and his aunt used that distraction to escape and come to the United States.

He was appreciative and understood that without the veterans getting involved in his country, his freedom would be taken away. Vietnam was facing genocide as he escaped.

Veteran Tony Zapata, who served time in Iraq in 2003, became emotional while talking about his experiences. While serving in Iraq, he was involved in raids, security patrols and reconnaissance missions.

Zapata also discussed some of the issues veterans face post-war. He had a hard time talking about problems that many Americans don’t realize come after war, like restlessness, depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alienation.

He praised the veterans center for helping him get through tough times after he was done serving in Iraq. He is now a faculty member.

Zapata received a standing ovation from attendees and was embraced by colleagues after his speech.

“American people have gotten tired of so much war, but people do appreciate us and what we do for the country,” Army Veteran Marvin M. Smith Jr. said.

First Sgt. Raymond Eason is the ROTC instructor at Garfield High School. He along with four of his students, were given the honor of raising the flag for the first time.

“I get somewhat of a chill because I did post-burial duties and the cascades are always covered with the American flag,” Eason said. “It brings memories of people’s sacrifices for the country. That goes through my mind when raising        the flag.”

Tech Sgt. Damon Mazyck sang the National Anthem during the flag-raising ceremony at the ELAC Garden. As he sang, all the veterans saluted the flag.

“An overwhelming sense of pride comes over me when I look at those I’m singing for. It’s such an honor to be able to share my gift with Americans and Veterans, and I always wish to convey that prideful feeling to them,” Mazyck said.

“I believe honoring veterans is an essential part of American pride. This country was built on the backs of those who fought for all of the freedoms we have today,” Mazyck said. “Honoring them each year serves as a constant reminder that someone made sacrifices for our benefits.”

Chairs and tables were set up along with refreshments and coffee provided by Starbucks for people to meet and talk to veterans after the flag was raised.

Veterans Appreciation week came to a close when members of ELAC Veterans Center met at the Helen Miller Bailey Library for a workshop.

The members discussed how the resource center can improve services and introduced new plans for the future of veterans.

Several veterans agreed it was important for community colleges and other institutions to provide resources on campus as many struggle after serving.

ELAC student dancers exhibit style


FLOWING – Majestically flowing across the stage during the “Waltz for Perry” performance the ballet students show their grace on Thursday at the S2 Recital Hall. CN/ Jesus Figueroa


By Jesus Figueroa


A sold out crowd was in attendance for East Los Angeles College’s “Dance Discipline Spring Showcase” in the S2 Recital Hall Thursday evening. The music got the audience into each performance and brought enthusiasm to audience members through the varying styles of dance.

The dance showcased a variety of styles of dance throughout the 11 performances of the evening.

The most soothing performance was that of the Hawaiian hula entitled “Haole Hula” choreographed by Annie Yee.

Twenty seven Dance Specialties Hula Students performed the calming hula dance which filled the stage. It was the first Hula performed by ELAC which Yee choreographed.

The audience cheered as “Fall Out,” a hip-hop dance battle performance, ended. The performance was choreographed by Kristen Chew Reutimann and performed by 23 of the Hip Hop Dance students.

“Fall Out” had groups of dancers battling against each other performing move after move in unison. Some dancers battled fiercely on stage as the crowd cheered on and others would join in coming from off stage.

The dancers were energetic as they moved across the floor utilizing the entire stage. The flow of the dance steps had some of the dancers go from dancing upright to moving down and doing some moves parallel to the floor.

With a mix of Latin-American flair, with three performances danced to Spanish music, dancers entertained the audience complementing each others moves.

The first performance, “El Gallito” comes from the region of Sinaloa, Mexico and “No te Rajes Tijuana/Calabaceados,” both choreographed by Cindy Padilla as well, from the region of Baja, CA/Calabaceados.

The crowd had a blast watching the lively performers dancing in pairs or trios at a time taking center stage. The crowd erupted in applause after every performance.

“Waltz for Perry,” performed ELAC Ballet students and choreographed by Kristin Chew Reutimann, brought a classic aspect to the nights performance. It contained a very elegant style of dance moves that were slower than most performed that night.

A belly dance entitled “Farasha Awakens,” performed by ELAC Belly Dance students and choreographed by Kristina Karmiryan, charmed the audience with smooth moves. The nine performers all danced in a row on stage to grab the audience’s attention.

The dancers sat on the floor as one-by-one the dancers jumped up to do individual belly dances before returning to their spot on the floor.

The many different styles gave audiences a small tase of all ELAC dance department has to offer.

The crowd once again erupted with applause and cheers as all the performers took the stage for their groups for their final bow.



ALOHA – The first Hula choreographed by Annie Yee, “Haole Jula,” brought a mellow island tone to the “Dance Discipline Spring Showcase” in the S2 Recital Hall on Thursday. CN/ Jesus FIgueroa

Jazz band fuses old, modern styles

LOAD THE CANNONS—Alto saxophonist and special guest to the Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project, Tom Luer, left, alongside tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman bring the song ‘Once in a While’ to an end at the First Friday Jazz Concert last Friday. CN/Erik Luna

LOAD THE CANNONS—Alto saxophonist and special guest to the Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project, Tom Luer, left, alongside tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman bring the song ‘Once in a While’ to an end at the First Friday Jazz Concert last Friday. CN/Erik Luna

By Sergio Berrueta

First Friday Jazz Concert at the S2 Recital Hall delivered, as Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project brought a mix of old and new jazz styles and arrangements.

Members included Glenn Cashman on tenor sax, Ed Czach on piano, Paul Kreibich on drums, and Luther Hughes on bass with special guest Tom Luer on alto sax.

As the concert started, the band began to play the Cannonball classic “The Work Song,” introducing the audience to the tributes and covers of Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane being played for the evening.

Hughes proceeded to introduce the band and give insight into the songs they will be performing.

“This next song is from our second album ‘Things Are Getting Better’ and is dedicated to McCoy Tyner, Coltrane’s longtime pianist, entitled…well, McCoy,” Hughes said.

The sounds of drums and alto sax rang through the halls with the samba inspired number leading to a riveting crowd pleasing piano solo by  Czach.

The next tune ’What Dolphins Say’, written by Cashman, provided a Latin Samba spin to the room inspired by the idea of aquatic life suddenly speaking.

The slow paced number brought a wave of relaxation and smooth drum brush hits, giving a sense of exploring the ocean world down below.

Quickly after, the band played a new arrangement on the classic love standard ‘Once in a While,” made popular by greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mathis.

The arrangement gave the slow and somber tune a new life by giving it a fast-paced bossa nova feel. The alto sax and tenor sax switched back and forth, taking the stage and delivering a fantastic duet by the song’s end.

The next song was an untitled free-form ensemble piece inspired by Cannonball. The piece allowed each member to fully express themselves with Tom Luer giving a tremendous alto sax solo.

After, the band proceeded to perform another original piece written by Kreibich entitled “Takin’ It Home.”

While explaining the inspiration for the song, Kreibich said with humor, “I’ve made dozens of dollars with the song, that’s why I love it”, with Hughes quickly replying, “I’m greedy too. I love this song because it begins with a bass solo.”

As they played, the essence of Coltrane oozed out with homages to the Coltrane classic “My Favorite Things,” with Luer and his alto sax once again stealing the show.

Hughes also got praised with his fantastic light bass solo with Kreibich’s tremendous mixed beats and use of percussion following behind.

The last tune of the evening returned to the bossa nova sound of earlier entitled “Capistrano,” written by Cashman with Luther humorously quipping “Of course you would write about Capistrano while living in Lake Elsinore.”

The tune itself was a light ballad perfected by Czach getting another turn in the spotlight by turning in a fantastic performance from his piano.

As the concert came to a close, Hughes decided there was enough time for one more number, the classic jazz standard “Limehouse Blues” as performed by Cannonball and Coltrane on Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago.

The number gave the feel of the previous free-form ensemble piece. Kriebich delivered a dazzling drum solo, giving the spotlight to Luer and Cashman’s stellar dueling saxes.