A slick guitar solo that would have made any musician smile with glee. A beautiful piano that took away the breath of the listeners with every strike of the keys. A dazzling trumpet and flugelhorn that helped to set the tone for each tune played. And to top it all off, there was time for a cello to be introduced that looked slightly like a military drone and a few memorable music jokes!
All of these sights and sounds were taken in at Brad Dawson’s Faculty Artist Recital on Friday, February 8th at the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. Dawson, an Associate Professor of Music who teaches trumpet and jazz ensembles at Fort Hays played the trumpet and flugelhorn at the recital, but he was definitely not alone. Fort Hays’ faculty members, Ben Markley on piano, Luke Johnson on guitar, Benjamin Cline on bass and electric cello, and Dean Kranzler on percussion helped to make this faculty jazz recital an unforgettable and exciting night.
The group played nine rousing jazz pieces that made the hour and twenty minute long performance seem to fly by. The tunes ranged from stirring foot-tapping jazz songs like “This is the Life” and “Bemsha Swing” to the ballad, “Peace.” Dawson and his talented collection of co-workers tackled songs written by Paquito D’Rivera, Thelonious Monk, and even played an original, “Lightly Used,” written by pianist Markley.
The recital was a masterful display of talent from the members of Fort Hays’ faculty. Nearly every song featured a smooth solo from Dawson, Markley, or Johnson and they were nothing short of fantastic. While they didn’t get a chance to show off their solo skills, the magnificent accompaniment from Kranzler and Cline helped to drive the tunes along and lay a solid foundation for the pieces.
The performance ended with D’Rivera tune, “Guataca City,” and the upbeat, fast D’Rivera piece ended the recital on a high note – pun intended. The recital garnered a standing ovation from the crowd full of music majors and overall jazz music fans. Dawson and his group of Fort Hays’ faculty members may be the people that teach our bright minds how to play beautiful music, but trust me when I say this – they can definitely do a little bit of jamming themselves.
The next concert in the 2013 Department of Music & Theatre Concert Series will be the FHSU Percussion Ensemble Concert on Thursday, February 14th at 7:30 in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.