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The Renegade Rip

The news site of Bakersfield College

The Renegade Rip

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Jazz players groove out

Bakersfield College’s Jazz Ensemble played a selection of pieces, including one by BC student James Russell on April 1 in The Outdoor Theater.

Russell, who plays alto saxophone, also had several solos that night.

He has been at BC for five years and has studied music for two-to-three years. He wrote the song “Ain’t No Sleepin,” the only song by a BC student played at the concert.

The song was written in a moment of simple inspiration. “I just sat down at the piano one day and figured out a riff, and it morphed into what was played today,” said Russell. He describes his piece as “just jazzy, nothing more than that.”

He enjoyed having his piece played live. “It was a blast having it played. It was fun. I never had that experience, to have something that you put so much time and effort to be played for the public. I’m a composition major so I just wanted to put on a concert.”

He described preparing for the concert as “a lot of hard work getting all those notes in, just practice, practice, practice.”

According to Russell, the difference between jazz and other styles is the improvisation. “You’re given a key then you blow your [chords] or whatever comes to mind. Jazz is cool like that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Jazz is a more free art form than classical music, or something like that.”

Russell enjoys this nature of jazz music. “It really lets you say what is inside. You can tell when someone’s up there just to play and when someone has something to say. You can tell.”

Joey Hubbard, a BC student who played vibraphone and marimba that night, has been playing mallets since his freshman year of high school.

He has joined jazz band at BC for the first time, and this is his first time playing a jazz concert.

He said about this experience, “It was a little nerve-wracking. It’s a new thing for me, improvising on the fly. It’s very challenging for me. I like notes showing you what to do. It’s a learning process for me. But it’s fun. I really enjoy it.

“There’s a lot of talent in the group. I’m just trying to follow what they do, and it helps me out with the improvising.”

Hubbard said playing the concert was “very exciting.” He called the concert “a little stressful but fun. I’m happy with how it turned out.”

Hubbard enjoys the challenge of playing the marimba and vibraphone. “There’s always more to do with it,” he said. “You’re always perfecting it. It’s always fun to play. You can mess around with it every day.”

For Hubbard, his favorite moments of the concert were the “Latin groove” songs.

He said it was “more fun for me, its very up-tempo and intricate.”

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