Monday Madness stuns audience with a captivating performance

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW

The Monday Madness Jazz Band played at the SOhO Restaurant and Music Club in Santa Barbara, Calif on Sept. 26. The band has been around since 1988.

Ella Todd, Staff Writer

As candles flicker and a buzzing audience quiets, City College’s own Monday Madness Jazz Orchestra takes the stage. 

At SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, Monday Madness played an energetic show led by director and saxophonist Andrew Martinez. Filled with jazz lovers in search of a great dinner and a drink or two, Monday night at SOhO did not disappoint. The band, which is composed of local professionals and educators, seemed ecstatic to be back on the stage. 

Their setlist kept the audience on their toes, featuring music by Thad Jones, Billy Byers, and Alan Baylock. Fast and upbeat pieces were mellowed by calm, slow ballads and Italian folk songs. Between songs, Andrew Martinez spoke casually to audience members, previewing the upcoming song and introducing soloists. He kept it lighthearted, engaging in friendly banter with bandmates and playing familiar songs like a rearrangement of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” called “Knuckleball,” and the “Super Mario Brothers” theme song. 

Their rendition of “Super Mario Brothers” was optimistic and fun, with Mark Maynard and Stephen Hughes jumping in with their trombones and saxophone solos by Simon Blondell and Martinez.

Saxophonists were arguably the stars of the show, with Justin Claveria and lead alto John Soldo captivating the audience with their solos. 

One song, “Stella By Starlight,” prominently featured Soldo as the rest of the band played in support. It was a beautiful showcase of Soldo’s talent and my favorite piece from set one.

Kevin Winard received many words of admiration from Martinez as he played fiery drum solos and kept the rest of the band on track throughout the night. “Nutville” was a stand-out from the setlist, featuring a trumpet solo by Mike Muench and a drum solo by Winard that was met with cheers from both the audience and band members. 

Towards the end of the show, Justin Claveria played a great solo during the ballad “For Lena & Lenny,” and trombonist Trevor Long was featured in “Oh, Soul Mio,” his bandmates often looking in awe as he played.

The atmosphere was very supportive and many band members got a chance to showcase their talents. I could tell that everyone was happy to be there playing for an appreciative crowd. 

Throughout the first set, Monday Madness played for an attentive and awe-struck audience. During the second set the audience thinned after finishing their dinners but many stayed to quietly chat and catch the end of the show. Band members were cheerful and Martinez made sure to thank the remaining audience for “sticking it out.” 

Although rightfully tired at the end, they finished strong with “Rabble Rouser” by Billy Byers, a song that received endless praise from Martinez. He went on to thank everyone for a great night, and for supporting the band. At the end of a long evening of jazz, I was surprised to find myself wishing it could go on.