A Night of Struttin’ with the CAC Jazz Ensemble

Audrey Bimbi, Cactus Contributor

I remember the first time I listened to Jazz music; in my Humanities in the Western World III class in the Spring of 2014. Just like any other form of music, I knew that Jazz told a story that the musician could not always put in words, yet I connected with it more. Therefore, when I heard that there was a Jazz Ensemble at CAC, you can just imagine my excitement; sadly, I missed most of the performances because I had other responsibilities to fulfill. Fortunately, this semester, I finally got the opportunity to enjoy a full performance which was held on the 19th of November, 2015. As I walked into the Pence Center, I got more and more excited when I saw the number of people who had come to show their support and enjoy an acoustic night.

The most fascinating detail I learned about the CAC Jazz band that night is the fact that it is composed of, not only CAC students, but also other members of the community who serve as mentors to the younger band members. This explains why, even though our band is not that sizeable, their sound is strong enough to tug at your heartstrings. It’s almost as if you are listening to one of those songs that make you feel like a main character in a musical and just want to dance (even if you have two left feet). Well, at least that’s how it was for me. I am also glad that I knew little or nothing about the original performances of the tunes they covered, because I didn’t have to compare (a bad habit I have); all I had to do was to sit, relax, and enjoy the performances just the way they were.

The night’s lineup included Charlie Parker’s My Little Suede Shoes, Marcus Miller’s Tutu, which was one of my favorites, Carl Strommen’s Ben’s Blues, to name a few. My absolute favorite of the night was The Wayfaring Stranger, a traditional tune, to which Shea Tafoya, a former Vista Grande High School student, lent his vocals. The tune also featured solos by Logan Blevins on the tenor sax, Mason White on the trombone, and Zach Silva on the alto sax. I got so excited when they played The Wayfaring Stranger because I had no idea Reggae and Jazz could come together to produce such a beautiful sound.

For what will go down as a wonderful and a memorable night for me, I would to think Rick Moore, the CAC Director of Bands, and the talented band members. Knowing that the night’s performance was a live recording makes me wish the ensemble all the best. I really hope greater opportunities open up for them after this.