City College jazz band “Monday Madness” lights up stage at Soho


Malin Ensgård

Justin Claveria plays his saxophone along with the jazz band “Monday Madness” Monday, March 9, at the Soho Restaurant and Music Club in Santa Barbara, Calif. “The thing about Justin is that he practice everything he plays. That is why he makes it seems so easy,” said the composer Isaac Jenkins.

GRADY OLSON, Channels Staff

Led by the legendary musician and composer Isaac Jenkins, City College’s jazz group, Monday Madness Big Band, cooly rattled Soho’s walls Monday night.

In the small venue, abstract paintings of landscapes and portraits interrupt the blue painted walls. The ceiling vaulted high by wooden beams that can barely be seen from the dimly lit dinner tables, the big band showcased their talents to a diverse crowd of jazz enthusiasts.

Introducing the band was KCSB’s own Stanley Naftaly. “He is a genius, I’m telling you, the man is a genius,” said Naftaly of Jenkins. “So why don’t we give him a huge f—ing hand.”

Jenkins started out the show with a first set consisting of mostly traditional big band ballads. Easy listening, swaying songs such as “One O’clock Jump” by Count Basie and “Is There Anything Still There?” by Ray Brown were the first two songs of the set.

The second set after a ten minute intermission was a little unusual as Jenkins described it. Featuring fast pace, hard horn blowing, and fast picking of the base, the second set showcased more of Jenkins style.

Not being able to hide his enthusiasm, Jenkins even started a two-step shuffle while he was conducting. “I like to introduce challenging arrangements into that second set,” Jenkins said.

The tenor saxophonists, Justin Calveria and Andrew Martinez, were in the spotlight throughout the show. Calveria swept the stage during his slow sensual solo in “Is there Anything Still There” in the first set.

But it was during the last tune of the night “Black and White” where the two awed the crowd. Bouncing back and forth with each other’s solos that consisted of so many sixteenth notes, their fingers became a blur and ending with playing simultaneously until their lungs gave out. The two capped off the night with a sweaty, out of breath bang.

Calveria has been with the band just for three months but this doesn’t worry Jenkins, who has been working with Calveria for many years in other projects.

“He practices for hours a day, all of these guys do. That is how they are so good, it’s a discipline,” said Jenkins of Calveria.

Monday Madness’ next show is on Monday, April 13 at the Garvin Theatre. Legendary performer Ray Brown will be playing vibes and possibly other instruments.