Mr. Sinicrope’s Classes Jazz Up King Theater
by Louisa Moore on Friday, October 25th, 2013
Last Friday night, parents, students, and alumni filled Kellner, as twenty-three students lit up King Theatre for the 23rd annual Fall Jazz Concert. Musicians from all three jazz groups performed a tribute to jazz pianist and composer Horace Silver.
Horace Silver, a well-respected hard-bop pianist, gained fame in the 1950s and ’60s. Born in 1928, Silver is still alive, although he suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Bob Sinicrope, Director of Milton’s Jazz Program, names Silver as “one of the most beloved jazz artists,” because he “bridged the gap between bebop and funky jazz, and his compositions had much appeal in their often simple yet very musical style.”
Composed of Class II student, Issac Ordonez, and Class III students, Bridget Condon, Katherine Holmes, William Powers, Benjamin Smith, Izzy Manuel, Natalie Perlov, Talia Rubenstein, and Sam Rochelle, Advanced Jazz I featured four of Silver’s tunes. While this group skillfully performed “Preacher,” “Toyko Blues,” and the aptly-named “Filthy McNasty,” their swinging and upbeat rendition of “Sister Sadie” was definitely an audience favorite.
Following these impressive renditions, Advanced Jazz II covered five more of Silver’s compositions. Alex Garnick (II) played a tear-inducing solo piano version of “Lonely Woman,” as his fellow members, Sahana Rao-Chakravorti (I), Nate Stanfield (I), Ian Kennedy (II), Kevin Reilly (II), and Michael Sabin (III), set up. In addition, they swung Silver’s standards “Liberated Brother,” “Doodlin’,” “Gregory is Here,” and “Nutville.”
Next, Charlie Blasberg (I) on piano and Charlie Janeway (I) on guitar kicked off the third set with a duo rendition of Silver’s “Peace.” Seniors, Scott Pederson, Corey Schwaitzberg, Johnnie Gilmore, Zach Hoffman, and Eric Menna, and junior, Miles Awofala, joined in, and the entire Advanced Jazz III group performed five more of Silver’s sets, concluding with one of his best-known pieces, “Song for My Father.”
Though the performers have a wide range of experiences, from just six weeks of jazz practice to years of training, Mr. Sinicrope believes that they all “have worked very hard during these first weeks of school to mount this challenging performance.”
Nevertheless, these jazz groups have certainly made these challenging pieces seem effortless. As a classical pianist who had a brief stint as a pianist in Class IV Jazz, I have a lot of respect for these performers. My classical training has taught me to learn and interpret the notes within the bounds of the composer’s and editor’s markings. However, these jazz students improvise, composing their own original music in the moment so that no two performances of any piece sound exactly the same. Despite this opportunity for individual creativity, all of the performers are still able to interact well with each other, creating a powerful collaborative performance.
These artists clearly captured the attention of the audience, who remained active, listening, and tapping throughout the whole performance. At the beginning of the concert, Mr. Sinicrope encouraged the audience to participate and “cross the moat” between the audience and the performers. The audience followed this suggestion, clapping and cheering after solos and sets. Next Jazz concert, I encourage even more students to attend and witness their friends’ amazing talents. Jazz with Mr. Sinicrope is one of Milton’s great traditions and an event that every student should attend at least once.
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