Writer – Craig Young
One of the best things about being a student at Florida State College at Jacksonville is that we have options to see and do things that other colleges don’t provide or advertise. Our music program is an incredibly hidden gem that deserves top billing on any local stage. Tonight, I attended October Jazz Concert featuring the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo under the direction of John Thomas. Opening with “The Queen Bee”, the Jazz Ensemble set the tone at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts at South Campus with an amazing musical selection that really showcased the talent that FSCJ’s music program contains. A real treat began with the work “Mr. Big” showcasing individual solos (in many cases, the student’s first solo presentation in front of an audience) all set to the impressive piano stylings of Royce Turner. Without hesitation or showing any nervousness they future musicians took their step into the spotlight and left the audience in awe. The program featured some really fun musical tests in the form of “Lil Darlin‘”, “Jumpin’ East of Java” and “It’s All Right With Me.” Mr. Thomas’s presentation to the crowd was fantastic also. Mixing humor with his on stage presence, we not only learned about what we were about to hear but in some cases the level of difficulty and finesse they students were working with to produce the production we were watching. Getting some spotlight time of their own was the Jazz Combo, made up of Louis Malone (Tenor Sax), Kizzy Graves (Trombone), Justin Roberts (Guitar), Robby Lee (Bass) and the all-star of the night Luis Ocasio on the drums. The combo worked the stage and the crowd toe tapped to the Ella Fitzgerald song classic “All of Me.” Before bringing the evening to a close, the Ensemble brought the show to an incredible end with crowd favorite “Caravan.” A fun night of music and entertainment, free to FSCJ students.
The Jazz Ensemble returns on Nov 18th with the Students Holiday Celebration. This is a fantastic opportunity to see fellow classmates creating something audibly unforgettable.