Vanguard University Jazz Studies presented “A Flavorful Jazz Appetizer” at Newport Mesa Church Tuesday evening, featuring their Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo.
Being that it was the first concert of the year, as well as the first time I’d ever heard Vanguard Jazz Studies perform, I walked in not really knowing what to expect. I’m no jazz expert by any means, but I do enjoy the genre, so I was excited to see what Vanguard would be performing.
The Jazz Combo played first, starting the concert off strong and smooth, with Natt Adderley’s “Work Song.” I was immediately impressed by how great it sounded, particularly the trumpet, played by Willy Leguizamon. The next song, “A Day in the Life of a Fool” was equally enjoyable, and even added a little spice to the appetizer.
Two of the Jazz Combo’s song choices featured vocalists. Jazz songs with vocals tend to be my personal favorites, so my expectations rose when Isaac Brandt walked on stage to perform “A Foggy Day.” I was a little disappointed, therefore, when Isaac’s microphone seemed too quiet to match the power of the instruments. The same could be said for Bekah Uhi’s rendition of “Misty.”.
Brandt and Uhi themselves, however, gave excellent performances, and the concert would not have been as wonderful without them.
The Jazz Ensemble played the second half of the concert, and finished off the night just as strongly as it had begun. Every song they played was performed with enthusiasm that was met with the audience’s applause.
The song, “Peg,” was the second to last song played, and definitely an audience favorite. It featured a riveting guitar solo, performed by Aaron Dowd, who really amped up the energy in NMC.
When the concert ended, the audience gave a much deserved standing ovation, and while Jazz studies did not perform another song that night, I’m sure that everyone who had the pleasure of being there will be looking forward the next Jazz Studies event.