BC jazz ensemble plays a local gig


Amber Hayden

(Front to back) Sean Fontes, Larry Fernandez, Marcus Aguilar, and Jorge Santos on trumpets along with Oscar Aguilar on bass play for guests of Le Corruse Rouge on March 18.

Mason J. Rockfellow, Reporter

Bakersfield College’s jazz ensemble performed a set of songs by Duke Ellington at local restaurant and bar Le Corruse Rouge on March 18.

Kris Tiner is an instructor at BC who teaches jazz ensemble, jazz appreciation, and music appreciation, and also teaches the trumpet at CSUB. Tiner and the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop got together to make this performance possible for the BC Jazz ensemble. Tiner tries to get the jazz ensemble out to play for the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop at least once a semester so that the students can get out in the real world and perform away from the school vibe.

“It’s nice to get the students away from playing at BC and get the feeling of playing a real gig,” said Tiner.

Tiner has been playing with the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop for years. Tiner even performed with the beginning jazz improvisation class before the BC’s jazz ensemble’s performance that night, while the BC’s jazz ensemble talked among themselves, went over their music and watched Tiner perform. It helps that the workshop is all for the educational aspect of jazz, so the workshop is all for giving the BC jazz band a spot to play, explained Tiner.

The jazz ensemble performed a series of songs composed by Duke Ellington, including “Sunset and the Mocking Bird,” which had only been handed to the jazz ensemble two weeks before the performance. But the jazz ensemble was good enough to play so they decided to play it for the show, explained Tiner. The song featured pianist Joey Hernandez.

Guitarist Amanda McCaslin strayed from the guitar and pulled out the banjo for the song, “Portrait of Louis Armstrong,” in which the jazz ensemble was also accompanied by Tiner on the trumpet.

Oscar Aguilar was filling in for Adam Zanoff on bass, and even had a bass solo during the song “Happy-Go-Lucky Local.”

Brett Clausen, who plays for the Bakersfield Symphony, accompanied the jazz ensemble, and for the song “Jeep’s Blues,” Clausen had an alto-saxophone solo.

Tiner was very happy with the jazz ensemble’s performance. He said the songs they played in the set were hard to play, due to the fact that Ellington’s music is filled with all types of different coloring from Latin based music to swing music and more.

Tiner explained that because the songs are filled with a lot of different coloring, which makes the songs difficult to play, this music needs musicians to be very versatile. He also mentioned that these songs can’t just simply be played, they need to be performed, and the musicians really have to put themselves into the music.

“I’m very proud of these guys and I’ve been wanting to do an Ellington concert for a really long time,” said Tiner.

After the show, a few audience members shared their thoughts on the performance.

Randi Speiler, a criminal justice major at BC, said, “It made me very relaxed and very comfortable.”

Mucio Martinez, English major at BC, said, “They have greatly improved since their last performance.”

The BC jazz ensemble will perform again on April 27, in BC’s new SPArC indoor theater, playing the songs they performed at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop and four or five more of Ellington’s songs.

They will also be part of a performance being put on by the entire music department at BC, which will consist of short sets by the jazz ensemble, choir, drumline, band, and chamber singers on May 2, also to be held in the SPArC indoor theater.

The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop is a non-profit organization that raises money through donations from the audiences of their performances and uses that money to sponsor students so that they can get private lessons.

The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop is held every Wednesday evening at Le Corruse Rouge. At 6:30-7:30 p.m. a beginning jazz improvisation class is held followed by a featured jazz performance 7:30-8:30 and from 8:30-10 p.m. is an open jazz jam for intermediate, advanced and professional instrumentalists and vocalists.

To learn more and keep updated with the BC jazz ensemble, go to bcjazz.org.