Faculty jazz sextet performs at Paul Creative Arts Center

By Jason Reuter
On February 13, 2014

Those looking for a night of good music gathered Sunday night to watch several of UNH's resident musical artists perform at the Bratton Recital Hall on Feb. 9. The group performed selections by the great Hank Garland. 

Resident guitarist, David Newsam, played a set entitled "Jazz Winds From a New Direction" in his feature performance as part of the Faculty Concert Series. 

Special guest, Ed Saindon, was featured on vibes. According to the concert program, Saindon has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan. He is currently a professor at Berklee College of Music, where he has been teaching since 1976, and is a sponsored clinician by both Yamaha and Vic Firth.

The other musicians who performed - David Newsam, guitar, John Hunter, bass and Les Harris Jr., drums - are all resident artists at UNH.  Associate Professor of Music David Annicchiarico made a guest appearance on the piano.

The first half of the concert was devoted to Hank Garland's album, "Jazz Winds From a New Direction." Newsam explained in-between songs that Garland, who is often associated with traditional country artists such as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, had a strong passion for jazz music. The 1961 release of the album launched Garland from a nationally known Nashville country artist, into a diverse and respected bebopper career.  

Newsam demonstrated his practiced ability while playing the fast-paced bopping song, "Riot-Chorus," which was one of Garland's personal compositions featured on the album. In John Hamond's linear notes from the original Columbia LP, included in the concert program, Garland wrote this song after his group, under the name "Nashville All-Stars" at the time, went to the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. The festival was later closed due to riots that broke out, and the "Nashville All-Stars" were not able to perform.  

During the second half of the concert, Newsam played better known jazz standards including "SKJ", made famous by Wes Montgomery, and "Lullaby of Birdland," by George Shearing.

This section stared with a beautiful Brazilian Duet entitled "No na Garanta," by Guinga. This duet features Newsam, on a classical guitar, and Saindon on vibes. This piece was spectacular to listen to live, and did a great job of drawing the audience back in after the intermission.

After the Guinga's song, Newsam plugged in his hollow-body guitar and the group started to swing. 

Each of the artists had improvised solos, and the rhythm section interacted with the soloist, playing off their lyrical and rhythmic ideas. Watching the musicians trade fours, which is when one performer plays for four measures then hands off the solo to someone else, was a delightful experience for the listener. Harris, drums, played some of his notorious four bar breaks, adding splashes of excitement to the tune. 

The next concert is Feb. 14 at 8 p.m., and will feature faculty compositions. The concert is free and no tickets are required. Email music.info@unh.edu or call (603) 862-2404 for more information.

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