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Arts in Review

Live jazz at UFV with The Kegan Spence Quartet

Infused the evening with a tonne of useful information about jazz history and arrangement, as well as explanations about the discipline and the dedication of true musicians were The Kegan Spence Quartet, who played at UFV March 29.

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By Chelsea Thornton (Staff Writer)

On Tuesday March 29, UFV welcomed The Kegan Spence Quartet to play an hour long concert in the auditorium. They were at UFV for the benefit of this semester’s MUSC 150: Introduction to Music History – Music of the Twentieth Century. The group consists of students from Capilano University, and their familiarity with student life was apparent in their presentation. They infused the evening with a tonne of useful information about jazz history and arrangement, as well as explanations about the discipline and the dedication of true musicians.

The band used jazz classics to highlight important aspects of jazz music. After performing “Stella by Starlight” by Victor Young, the quartet explained what a standard is: a song that pretty much every jazz musician needs to know. The power of a standard is that it allows musicians who have never played together to do so. The quartet, for example, had never played together before they walked into UFV last Tuesday. The key is improvisation: although the arrangement of a song stays the same almost every time it is played, each individual can alter their own part and play off the improvisation of their band mates. The bassist and guitarist played two different versions of the closing harmony, altering it on the fly.

Although jazz music might not be the musical reference your mind first jumps to for the sixties, the quartet pointed to a jazz musician who captures the decade’s passion for the new and “anger for the world being all messed up.” Wayne Shorter’s “Wildflower” marked a movement towards a more abstract form of jazz, also referencing chamber and classical music.

The band also played selections from blues jazz, hard bop, and contemporary artists. Their passion for the music was evident: the upright bassist had a smile on his face the entire time, the guitarist appeared to be mouthing lyrics or notes, the drummer quintessentially laid back, and the saxophonist kept trying to squeeze on more song in at the end of the concert. Their passion comes from years of dedication and a grueling practice schedule: all the quartet members spend about four to six hours a day just practicing, and upwards of ten hours a day playing.

The audience took advantage of the learning opportunity, asking questions after every song. An important note to the aspiring jazz aficionado: be sure after every solo – it’s proper concert etiquette.

After the show, a member of the audience said: “It was a fantastic performance. It was great to hear jazz on campus. We should have more diverse music offerings at UFV.”

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