Acclaimed composer joins Lunch Break band for latest virtual show

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW

Composer+and+band+leader+Elliot+Deutsch+of+the+%22Pandemonium+Big+Band%22+played+alongside+City+College+musicians+on+a+YouTube+livestream+on+Monday+April%2C+12+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Deutsch+was+calling+in+from+Los+Angeles%2C+with+students+participating+from+across+the+state.

Rodrigo Hernandez

Composer and band leader Elliot Deutsch of the “Pandemonium Big Band” played alongside City College musicians on a YouTube livestream on Monday April, 12 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Deutsch was calling in from Los Angeles, with students participating from across the state.

Rodrigo Hernandez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Lunch Break Big Band hosted a virtual concert this past Monday featuring acclaimed jazz composer Elliot Deutsch.

Deutsch is the leader of the Elliot Deutsch Big Band, which was renamed the Pandemonium Big Band on his YouTube channel, where the group has been uploading split screen music videos and performances. The Lunch Break played a collection of Deutsch’s songs along with compositions from City College students.

“This is really, truly my first time playing live since more than a year ago,” said Deutsch. “When Jim [Mooy] asked if I wanted to do this I said “yes” very quickly.”

The band kicked off the show with the tune “Welcome to Deutschland” and transitioned directly into “The Push,” both of which are Deutsch originals. Solos from guitarist Grant Grech, bassist Rob Moreno, and drummer Tyler Herzog were sprinkled throughout.

A piece composed by Grech was played as well, with the guitarist saying, “This song is written for the lead alto man in the band, Owen Richards. Great guy, great player. And this is a song called “Ninna Nanna D’amore” which means “lullaby of love” in the great language of Italian.”

The rest of the songs featured throughout the evening were composed by Deutsch. Highlights were his take on the American Songbook standard “Just Friends,” which has been humorously renamed “Yeah, We’re Sleeping Together,” and the closer “Sorry For Last Night.” 

The latter was written as a “professional apology” to Cal Poly Pomona band director David Kopplin after a night that featured one of Deutsch’s not-so-best performances.

The concert as a whole went relatively smooth, with some echo and weak connections affecting the sound quality at the beginning. Lunch Break director Jim Mooy said that the internet connection usually “settles” after 6 p.m.

This concert was also the most distanced the band has been. Students used the software Jamulus to participate from as far as San Carlos and Summit, spanning around 400 miles across California. 

Mooy said that this would be potentially one of the last Jamulus concerts of the semester.

The band has been using the free software since last fall, enabling them to play in real-time from wherever they may be. The program allows users to join channels with artists around the world for open jam sessions, and musicians can create their own private room to play in, a feature that the City College bands have been taking advantage of. 

Although the Music Department has been able to hold virtual concerts for the local community, the desire to be back in person for live music still lingers as a glimmer of hope after an unprecedented year.

The next concert from the department features the Monday Madness Jazz Orchestra, which will be livestreamed on Sunday, April 18 at 5.pm. on YouTube.