DVC Jazz gets all funked up


Cooper Mead

Martin Lejano and Lucas James jam out at the DVC Jazz combo concert on March 10 in the DVC music building.

Cooper Mead, Staff member

If you had walked into the Music Building Tuesday night you might not even know what was about to take place. The only clue would have been a small unassuming table next to music room 101. This is however one case where it’s best not to judge a book by its cover, because it was jazz combo night at Diablo Valley College and the festivities were just beginning.

The Jazz Combo night is twice a semester in the unassuming music classroom, M101. The show was lead by DVC Music Professor Matt Zebley, though with only a half dozen lines throughout the show he left most of the jamming to the students, and jam they did.

The show began with the first of four student bands, the aptly named Phonq, getting things going with a rendition of “So What,” by Miles Davis. Phunq’s bassist, ironically also named Miles Davis, really shined during his solo in this number. Their next number really flexed their musical muscles, they were the only group with a vocalist that night, with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “So Danco Samba,” in its native Portuguese.

Their vocalist Scott Zhang danced through the difficult lilting lyrics of the Portuguese chorus. True to their name they rounded out the set with “The Chicken” by Pee Wee Ellis. “We wanted to do a funkier style song so we chose [The Chicken],” said Harrison Flynn, one of Phonq’s guitar players, and a 20 year old music major. “It’s got a heavy bass line and I got to rock a little bit more with my solo.”

Next up to the stage was the quintet of Thronwood Mango, featuring dual tenor saxophones. They immediately took advantage of their woodwind largess with Welden Irvine’s “Mr. Clean.” The chorus was a little tricky at first but, these guys got better with each and every bar they played. They then started in on their own version of “So Danco Samba,” The band ratcheted things up in the end with “Big Bertha” by Duke Pearson.

Each band, with each song, throughout the night had been stepping up their game. Meera, which is Farsi for pure sound, did nothing to disprove that trend as the next band up. The classic jazz quartet began with the equally quintessential Sonny Rollins piece, “Blue Seven” and subsequently sped things up with “Impressions” in a manner that would have done John Coltrane proud. “We wanted to challenge ourselves, so we picked hard songs to play.” Accords Navid Naima, 30 and majoring in music as well as playing the electric bass for Meera. However, their best song was a soulful original rendition of “Beauty and the Beast,” originally by Wayne Shorter. Matthew Bridges on the tenor sax really got down with this piece, which finished their set.

The house so full people were standing in the aisles when The Big Bad Four took the stage. These guys truly made this a night of funk, talking up the crowd before opening up with a guitar solo that left eyes closed to the sound and feet tapping to the beat. “Our ‘Night of Funk’ show took about a couple of weeks to program, maybe six or seven rehearsals together,”  said Martin Lejano, the 20 year old music major and Trumpet player for the band. The magic continued through their series of funk fueled escapades that had the house stamping and stomping, hooting and hollering before the night was through.