Big sounds, big energy highlight ‘Blowout’ at SBCC Garvin Theatre

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW

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August Lawrence

Band Director Eric Heidner conducts the “Good Times” big band during City College’s Big Band Blowout on April 18, at the Garvin Theater in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Big Band Blowout is City College’s annual production showcasing its three jazz bands, “Good Times,” “Lunch Break” and “New World.”

Sydney Hammer, Staff Writer

The audience experienced musical magic through the sound of big bands on Monday, April 18 in the Garvin Theatre at City College.

Three groups played throughout the night at the Big Band Blowout, each with talented members of all ages.

The “Good Times” big band kicked off the show under the direction of Eric Heidner. The first song was a classic, “I Remember You,” laying down an energetic and cheerful tune that excited the audience for what was to come.

The saxophonists immediately caught my attention with their talent. From the passion they portrayed on stage to the beauty of the music they were playing, I was completely blown away.

Throughout the performance Julio Longcob, one of the alto sax players, received a lot of appreciation from both the audience and the director. The way he captivated all who listened to him play was truly impressive.

Leo Rubio, on the tenor sax, also stood out to me with his expressive feeling shown through his music.

One piece even included a segment with two dueling saxophonists bouncing off each other’s solos. The two band members visibly had a lot of fun with it, dancing around while they were playing and knuckle-bumped one another with pride as they finished and sat down.

Second to the stage was “Lunch Break,” directed by James Mooy. Right off the bat, Mooy arrived on stage with vitality and spirit. He delivered smiles across the theater with humor, all the while gushing his delight to be there.

Like the first band, “Lunch Break” had brilliant saxophone players. Eli Nania, on the tenor sax, performed a solo in one of the band’s four songs that thrilled the audience.

The combination of the saxophone with the piano, guitar, drums, trombone and trumpets was so beautiful and really made me appreciate the makings of the music.

One thing I was hoping for, but never received, was a drum solo from drummer Ethan Fossum. Fossum lit up the stage with his character and rhythm, constantly with a smile on his face. I think a drum solo within one of their songs would’ve really taken the audience’s excitement to another level.

Keeping the crowd on their toes, Mooy announced to the audience that the final band, “Monday Madness” would “set your soul on fire.”

“Monday Madness” first delivered an upbeat, high-volume song which contrasted with the two following slow-paced and more emotional numbers.

“Madness” highlighted their pianist, George Friedenthal, which the other two bands hadn’t done. They also featured Mike Muench, a trumpet player, performing solo segments in two pieces which I really enjoyed. Both stand-out band members were proficient in their instrument.

The night was left on a good note with music in the minds of the audience members.

To find upcoming shows similar to the Big Band Blowout, view the City College music concert schedule.