By Marcia E. Gawecki
“Four,” a song by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, is considered to be among the lineup for the final Idyllwild Arts student jazz concert Tuesday night, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowman Arts building.
It stands to reason that Jazz Chair Marshall Hawkins would pick a song from Miles Davis. As a jazz musician, composer, and band leader, Miles is considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time.
It is also well known on campus that Marshall once played with Miles.
However, the details of the experience haven’t fully come to life. The jazz students say it’s a cool fact, and perhaps Marshall’s esteem is boosted even higher in their eyes. But they don’t push him for details.
Hopefully, Marshall will write about Miles in his memoirs one day.
In the meantime, however, we’ll get to enjoy “Blue Haze: Four” as one of the songs that will be performed by Marshall and the students tonight. The key word is “possible” because the lineup and music selection changes all the time. Sometimes, the students don’t know the lineup until just shortly before the concert begins.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Randy who plays the saxophone. “We know the music already. It’s just a matter of which order Marshall wants to take it.”
Walker, a graduating senior who normally plays guitar, will switch to bass for Tuesday’s performance because one of the bass guitar players hurt her finger.
“It’s a totally different instrument, but I’m up to the challenge,” said Walker.
According to the Jazz Education web site, “Blue Haze: Four” was recorded in 1954, just after Miles had overcome his drug addiction. It features Horace Silver, Percy Heath and Art Blakey.
Interestingly enough, “Four” was usally attributed to Miles Davis, but it was actually written by Eddie Vinson for Miles Davis. Today, both are usually mentioned as authors. This is an interesting solo, as Miles articulates almost aggressively. Miles’ solo features a hard sound right from the pickup, which he was not known for before.
Idyllwild Arts alumni Caleb Hensinger and Jacob Scesney will be also playing at Tuesday’s jazz concert. Both attend the Burklee School of Music in Boston. Caleb will likely do a nice job with Miles’ “Four,” since he has a similar round sound.
Caleb would play with Marshall and Paul Carman at Cafe Aroma on an occasional Tuesday night, and sometimes steal the spotlight.
“There was one woman in particular who would only come when Caleb was playing,” said Frank Fero from Cafe Aroma. “He really charmed the ladies.”
Another twist to the Tuesday night jazz concert will be a collaboration with a string quartet. The classical musicians include SaSa, Howard and Tiffany. The fourth one Randy couldn’t recall.
“Marshall is going to put us all on stage and build a symphony,” Randy said.
Whatever Marshall and company are up to will turn out to be a wonderful evening of jazz–with some surprises. Although the IAF Theatre in Bowman offers ample seating, it’s still best to arrive early Tuesday night.
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