WWU Faculty Jazz Collective: May 23 at The Blue Horse Gallery

On Wednesday, May 23, I went to the Blue Horse Gallery to watch the WWU Faculty Jazz Collective. I would highly encourage any fan of jazz to swing by the BHG at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays to check out this group of highly talented musicians. The band features Mike Allen on saxophone, Miles Black on piano and guitar, Adam Thomas on cass and voice, and Julian MacDonough on the drums. The combination of jazz, beautiful art on the walls, and dimmed lighting creates a relaxing and classy atmosphere.

The WWU Faculty Jazz Collective played a lot of traditional jazz that for the most part had a very gentle quality as opposed to the upbeat jive commonly associated with the genre. The crowd was large and diverse consisting of all ages. Heads bopped to the beat of the music and responded with applause after impressive solos. They seemed to be really excited for the music and most people stayed for the entire show which ran until 10 p.m. The musicians took frequent turns taking solos. There were times when I got weary of all the solos, but eventually all or one of them would play something beautiful causing me to get back on the pro-solo train, and for that I have to commend them.

There were moments in the night where the audience lost focus and began to talk over the music, the song seemed to drag on, or where the musicians didn’t seem quite as in tune with each other as they had been earlier, but those were not common.

The moment in the show that made this reviewer stop and say “wow” was when they played “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.” Adam Thomas sang, his voice is rich and haunting, and the band proceeded to play beautiful solos as well as accompaniment. I wish he would have sang more than twice that night. The soft chatter amongst the audience instantly fell silent as we were all held captivated by the classic standard.

Overall the WWU Faculty Jazz Collective consists of very talented individuals and is definitely worth the time to sit down and listen to their music.