(Sonya Johnson)

By Jessica Nicholson

Melodic jazz tones and smooth rhythms resonated in Brock Auditorium on Friday as Eastern celebrated Jazz Crawl 2010. Dozens of jazz lovers came out to enjoy the Music Industry Organization’s fourth annual Jazz Crawl. The event kicked off with performances by the EKU Jazz Ensemble and special guest Wycliffe Gordon, under the direction of Larry Nelson, who is currently the assistant professor of saxophone and jazz studies at Eastern.

Gordon has enjoyed an extraordinary career as a performer, conductor, composer, arranger and educator, receiving high praise from audiences and critics alike. Gordon tours the world performing hard swinging, straight-ahead jazz for audiences in a thriving solo career. He tours regularly leading the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet and headlining at legendary jazz venues throughout the world. His television appearances have included the Grammy Awards, the Public Broadcast Special documentary “Swingin’ with the Duke” and two live Lincoln Center broadcasts with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

The night of fun and festivities began with a serenade from the EKU Jazz Ensemble and Gordon performing songs from all spectrums of jazz. Blaring trumpets, trombones, saxophones and drums all blended harmoniously to bring the audience selections from “This Could Be the Start of Something” arranged by Quincy Jones, to the foot tapping Caribbean sounds of “Elvin’s Mambo” by Bob Mintzer.

Several more selections from the EKU Jazz Band and Gordon followed before the show segued into Gordon’s solo set for the evening.

Gordon, accompanied by Chris Munson on the drums, Raleigh Dailey on the piano and Danny Cecil on the bass, opened with the familiar jazz tune,”It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing” by Duke Ellington. Jazz crawlers in attendance snapped their fingers and bopped their heads as Gordon treated listeners to his rendition of Ellington’s soulful, raspy voice.

Gordon then began to scat sing, which is using improvised melodies and rhythms to make instrumental sounds with the voice.Under the direction of Gordon, the crowds joined in and all begin to scat in unison.

Gordon didn’t say much throughout his performance; he let the music stand for itself, but that all changed when he introduced an original piece called “Shhh, the Band is Trying to Play.” Gordon shared the experience that gave him the idea for the song.

“I was playing in a venue one time and some people in the audience were talking really loud and must have thought I was just there to play background music for their conversations. So they were my inspiration for this song,” Gordon joked.

Witty lyrics, funky music and the band’s careless chit chatting on cue during the song performance helped to tell the comical story of Gordon’s experience and end the set performance on a high note.

Jaclyn Chadwell, an undeclared student from Corbin, said she greatly enjoyed Gordon’s performance.

“I thought his show was very entertaining and fun. I saw him on T.V. once, so seeing him live in concert gave me a whole new appreciation for jazz music,” Chadwell said.

Following Gordon’s performance, the fun and festivities moved to Creative Arts by Sherri on Third and Water Street. The EKU Jazz Lab Band under the direction of Ricky Spears made their debut performance as well as a funky performance by The Electric Set Jazz Quartet. The bands played upbeat, melodic sounds as guests enjoyed food, wine and good conversation. The more intimate setting allowed guests to “meet and greet” and have a CD signing with Wycliffe Gordon.

The final stop on the crawl was at Club 110 located on Second and Water Street. The amazing sounds of The Sensations, a dance band featuring vocals, brass, drums and bass. The Sensations kept the party going and crawlers were dancing on their feet late into the evening, providing a fantastic finish to an amazing night of jazz.

Britany Lewis, a speech pathology major from London said she enjoyed all three events in the Jazz Crawl.

“I loved the whole night of events this year. I was entertained and had a chance to kick back and relax so I really enjoyed myself,” Lewis said.

The Members of the Music Industry Organization, an organization made up of music industry studies and music marketing degree majors, coordinated the Jazz Crawl. Sponsors for the Jazz Crawl included Eastern’s Student Activities Council, Student Government Association and Don Wilson Music. For more information on Jazz Crawl or any of the music degree programs offered at Eastern, contact April Brumfield, Coordinator of Music Industry Studies and the Music Industry Organization faculty adviser at 622-1428.

Attendees at the fourth annual EKU Jazz Crawl were treated to the musical stylings of renowned jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, who, along with the EKU Jazz Ensemble, performed Friday, April 23 in Brock Auditorium. Gordon also played a set accompanied by (Sonya Johnson)