On (please insert date), I happened to stumble on a 3 hour rehearsal by a jazz ensemble known as Gypsy deVille at the Clifton center in Louisville. Word had it that they were among the performed acts at the Django Jamboree/Music Festival in Louisville on November 12, 2011. This was to be held at the Cralle Theatre located at Wyatt Hall, Bellarmine University. The group played from classical to neo classical rhythms and sounds, which made their performance versatile and everyone had a good taste of their preferred source of romantic tunes depending on which period in history they belonged to.
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The jazz ensemble together with various individual talents locally auditioned and performed nine pieces for the concert. Full moon and empty arms, who can I turn to and drumology were the three different pieces of jazz music which made us enjoy the various tastes of Jazz. The songs were originally composed and performed by Frank Sinatra, Bill Evans, and Daryll White respectively. As expected, each of the songs has a story and theme and that is why their performance specifically caught my attention.
Full moon and empty arms was a slow and smooth flowing rendition. The ensemble’s consort made justice of the beginning and the resonating instruments created a somber mood associated with a romantic effect (Givan, 2010). The unique sound of an accordion and the piano marked the first chorus with a smooth texture and immediately, the tone changed and a staccato effect through the drums caused a breathtaking effect. This was used to mark the beginning of consequent verses. The saxophone undulating tone ensured the smooth flow of the percussive accompaniments all through until the sound of the accordion fading in the background marked the end. The instruments were well blended as if it was the actual show and I could tell this is a group that had practiced together for some time. The steady rhythm throughout the performance proved to wean the crowd and prepare it for next performances (Berliner, 2004).
After various short pieces were played mixed with auditions, the blaring horn drew our attention. An ascending sound of the saxophone and rumbling drums marked the beginning of who can I turn to. As opposed to the original smooth and slow version, the tempo was faster thus creating a certain aura of excitement. The periodical drum beats appeared to be faster and easily introduced the climax. All the instruments seemed to intertwine in sound at the very top then suddenly grew moderate with the saxophone taking up some solo playtime and joined rhythmically by the drums and piano. The electric guitar through its resonance easily identified the chorus and incited the crowd to clap softly in unison with the beat. The saxophone was the key determinant of the melody and a crescendo raised the tempo which ended on a high note. The sudden high ending made the crowd gasp. It was amazing.
After 20 minutes of live audition of new performers mostly from the campus, Drumology’s beginning dissonant tones filled the air. The blaring trumpet made no mistake of indicating the quick tempo. Succeeded by the trombone playing a quick paced solo tune and challenged by the piano made this interesting. The undulating saxophone played well in the background to try and give this piece the soft touch it needed. The wind instruments were often played in successive solo performance which were bridged by the piano and drums played softly. The same blaring horns marked the sudden end of the performance too.
The overall rehearsal made me realize either the piano or drums were used to create harmony and link one part of the songs to the next (Berliner, 2004). These instruments are the links which define the Gypsy deVille band way of performance. Their attempt to audition solo performances and therefore experiment with a variety of instruments with their skilled players made this a unique show. A polyphonic texture was consistently applied through alternating and blending the Piano and either the trumpet or drums. The melodies in all the songs except the Full moon and empty arm, remained bright. The first song was dull in my opinion and additionally fell short of the depth experienced in the last two songs which ended in a crescendo design that made the crowd ecstatic. However, the smooth flow and repetition as performed made the first song relaxing and good for the ear (Givan, 2010). I would recommend it is played at the end of the festival concert as opposed to introduction.
The rehearsal was generally enjoyable except for the few interruptions meant to rectify minor errors and lack of the right costumes by the performers. This would have passed for a successful concert based on its intellectual stimulation on various instruments and mode of play. I did not expect a rehearsal to be fun filled and enlightening. Full moon and empty arm made me realize how true it was that in my life, joyful moments and successes have occasionally been downplayed because I did not have the right people to share with at that particular moment. I think Frank Sinatra wanted to say it is pointless at times to have good times without people you care about.