Big Bands bring jazz back to the City College Garvin Theatre stage

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW

From left, Simon Blondell and Eli Nania swap sax solos during the Lunch Break’s performance of Dan Gailey’s big band standard “Attack of the Tenor Titans” on Monday, Nov. 15 at City College’s Garvin Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. During solos, conductor Jim Mooy walked to the side to let the audience concentrate fully on the players.

Laura Luevanos, Staff Writer

Music resounded around the Garvin Theatre with mellow and playful tunes at the Jazz Ensemble concert on Monday, Nov. 15.

The concert featured City College’s big bands — the Lunch Break Big Band, the Good Times Band and the Monday Madness Band.

The night reverberated with viewers of all ages tapping along, cheering after each solo and group performance. The ambiance of the show was casual and welcoming with each band director “breaking the wall” between performers and the audience.

The directors explained the meaning behind each piece performed. The crowd was fully captivated by the music and stories.

It felt like a large group of people coming together to enjoy the artistry of each piece.

Favorites of the night were “The Heat’s On,” “Love is Here to Stay” and “In a Mellow Tone” which brought an array of upbeat swings of rhythm.

Many of the songs highlighted the work of performers. Multiple solos were given by students Leo Rubio on saxophone, Jay Real on trumpet and piano and Ethan Fossum on drums, just to name a few.

The “Good Times Big Band,” led by instructor Eric Heidner, brought many classics to their set. 

Heidner spoke on the passings of many renowned composers, educating the crowd on the history of each song they were going to perform.

The tune “I Remember Clifford” was dedicated to an old friend who had passed. 

It was a lovely way to remember their spirit and tie a song to one’s existence on earth. 

Lunch Break had a song that took time to get through to approval.

Their song “Attack of the Tenor Titans” was an opportunity to showcase the talent of the saxophone players. 

Lunch Break director Jim Mooy was looking for a way to feature his saxophone players in a song. With solos by Simon Blondell and Eli Nania, the song was smooth, upbeat and fully showcased the talent of the saxophone lineup. 

To end the night “Monday Madness,” led by adjunct faculty Andrew Martinez, amped the crowd with a variety of unique sounds and instruments.

Their numbers were vibrant in their own ways, featuring shakers subtly in the background of the music and the cohesive layers of the other instruments fully immersed in the sound.

Their songs didn’t fall short, providing the space with loud beats coming from the drums or solos by Justin Claveria on saxophone and Mike Meunch on trumpet.

Overall, the Jazz Ensemble Concert showcased the talent that walks the City College halls and the appreciation the audience has for the music that was brought tonight.

To experience the thrill of watching the bands, upcoming shows can be seen at SBCC Music Concerts.