Alumnus Featured in December Jazz Performance

Alumnus Featured in December Jazz Performance

Kevin Fong, Staff Writer

The Jazz band and guest saxophonist Geoffrey Countryman performed in the CPAC on December 8th at the “All That Jazz” concert.

The concert, directed by music teacher Harvey Benstein, consisted of 3 groups of around eight musicians, and for the finale, the entire ensemble. They played a variety of songs, from Duke Ellington to Dave Brubeck.

Concert attendee Luther Kuefnersaid, “It was really good. The acoustics of the auditorium really made the individuals stand out.”

Countryman, a 2001 Campo alumnus, composed several of the songs performed. These compositions, like Gold Leader and Blue Leader were presented to the band at the beginning of the week. During the concert the saxophonist soloed alongside Jazz Band members. Countryman has been working with all the ensembles this week. He announced at the end of the concert of how proud he was of the jazz band’s improvement.

Junior Annie Guo said, “I am really excited to be performing with Geoffrey Countryman. It’s exciting we’re having a jazz concert because we didn’t have one last year.”

“Last year we started groups,” she said. The groups rehearse separately and perform different songs. Guo said that it’s a “combined effort for finding the songs.” Bentsein said that the student combo leaders decided on the pieces played for diversity of style. A few of the songs well known, like Take the A-Train and Take 5.

Bentsein saw the concert as “the opportunity for young jazz musicians to demonstrate their growth and musicianship.”  He said that his upcoming retirement didn’t affect the way he directed the performances as his “program is about the students and student achievement. Whether I’m here next year or not, I still want to help students play at their personal best.” He said that the jazz concert “sets the stage for their big dinner dance on March 3rd.”