Jazz band ends semester on a good note

SING FOR THE MOMENT – Special guest, Vanessa Castaneda passionately sings "Our Love is Her to Stay" with the help from the ELAC Jazz Band, last Friday at the jazz concert. CN/ Ariana Renteria

By Ariana Renteria

The East Los Angeles Jazz band ends their last jazz concert for the spring semester with great potential.  The band waited on stage as the lights faded down, the blue mood lights faded up and Director Bob Dawson walked on stage sporting a black suit and a yellow tie.

The band came together last Friday.  Dawson began tapping his foot and the band began their first piece very appropriately named “Celebration.”

People’s heads began to bob up and down with the music in delight as the band executed the song.  As their second song began, it was as though the atmosphere could almost be reflective to that of Disneyland’s New Orleans Square.

The music bounced freely, sweetly and flirtatiously.  Couples had their arms over each other’s shoulders and friends and families were smiling, enjoying the swingy tempo.

Special guest Vanessa Castaneda, a former ELAC student now in her last year at Cal State Fullerton, performed two songs about love, with the band.  Her first song titled “Our Love is Here to Stay” had a bold cheerful sound.

She was elegantly moving about the stage and engaging the audience with her voice and joyful disposition.  As Castaneda took on the more methodical second song “Good Morning Heartache,” her facial expressions and voice complemented the song beautifully  creating a forlorn feeling in the room.

The band went on featuring many solos from the band.  “Psycho Phunk” completely rocked out on every level.  The song began with the drums, played by Michael Wachs. Alfredo Valdez, who much like Lisa Simpson, took on the sax with a passion, encompassing the smooth sound of the tenor saxophone.

Yet, the song was not complete until Moises Chavez skillfully brought down the house with his funky bass guitar solo.  Chavez, who is a guitar player, agreed to take on the bass when the original bass dropped out.

After Chavez’s solo, the audience roared with an applause.  He was without a doubt one of the highlights of the night.  Eleven pieces were performed.

One of which was a medley of four popular  1940s tunes that included “In the Mood,”  a classic Glenn Miller song, and “Sing Sing Sing” by Benny Goodman, which many might recall as the song from the Chips Ahoy commercial.

Jesse Gonzalez, a music major, had nothing but good things to say about his first  attendance at an ELAC jazz concert.  He said “I enjoyed it very much.  The 40s medley did it for me, it was a very good compilation.”

Much like Gonzalez, Jimmy Martinez was also impressed with the concert.  “I loved it” he said “it was amazing.  I highly recommend that other students attend [these concerts].”

Although the jazz band will not be performing any time soon, the performing arts center will not be lonely for the upcoming Friday nights.  This week’s performance will feature the concert band and next week will feature the Latin Jazz Band.

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