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The Milton Measure

Seniors Get Jazzy for Project Season

by Jack Delea on Friday, May 19th, 2017

As seniors complete their final month at Milton, many find themselves exploring their passions for senior projects. Some are working in pottery, some are recording podcasts, but Wes Hudson (I), Peter Duke (I), and Teddy Beaudoin (I) are working on project that cannot be explained so simply.

For their senior project, Wes, Peter, and Teddy are taking pop songs, new and old, and reworking them to be played like jazz tunes. “Our end goal is to have a set of about 7 or 8 songs to play that hit on a few of jazz’s subgenres like funk, Latin, and straight ahead swing,” said Wes. Each of these subgenres feature different moods, grooves, and other stylistic nuances that will reshape the songs that they perform. The group plans to record the tunes and perform them in King Theater later this spring.

“I always wanted to do a project like this because I had a passion for music, and I didn’t want to be constrained by [the jazz curriculum] in the type and style of music we were playing,” said Teddy. “I absolutely love jazz, funk, afro-cuban, and a bunch of other styles of music not often listened to by our peers, so I thought by changing recognizable songs and putting them in these genres, people would be more inclined to listen to the music we love so much and actually appreciate it.”

“We’re trying to take the music we’ve grown accustomed to hearing and playing and merge that with a more popular kind of music,” said Wes. “We’re trying to draw inspiration both from traditional jazz and the current music we’re playing to get a cool fusion.”

Teddy mentioned that the group is also experimenting in 7/4, a time signature not often heard in pop music. A 7/4 time signature means that there are seven quarter notes in each measure. Spencer Evett (I) worked with a similar concept in his performance at the Ryles Jazz club when he and several other jazz group members played “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder in 7/4.

The group actually got their inspiration for the project from Chloë LeStage (I). “We knew we wanted to do something as a trio but we weren’t sure what; [Chloë] then proposed transforming pop music to jazz and we decided to follow through with it,” said Wes. The group’s past experiences of playing together as a trio gave them the confidence and incentive to work as a group once again.

Like any senior project, Wes, Peter, and Teddy’s project is a serious time commitment. “We have been meeting three to four times a week,” said Teddy. “Each meeting encompasses a couple of hours. We spend our time in three main areas. One would be discovering pops songs to play and learning their chord changes and melody. The second would be arranging those songs into a style or even meter of our choosing as well as creating a form that could include hits and other big band chart type characteristics. Finally, we practice, practice, and practice. An important aspect of all of our songs revolves around the tightness of our arrangements and groove. We want to appear as professional and as practiced as possible in our performance, almost like a three man big band.”

As the final two weeks of senior projects approach, Wes, Peter, and Teddy will soon be finalizing their tunes and preparing for their concert. Their combination of talent, chemistry, and passion will definitely come together to form a truly unique and exciting performance. For jazz aficionados, pop fans, or music lovers in general, the group’s concert will surely entertain.

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Posted by Jack Delea on May 19 2017. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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