It's been a while since I've played straight ahead jazz, but I got to last night at CSULA's Fall Jazz Combos concert. Our combo was led by Cathy Segal-Garcia and included singers Margaret Adegboro, Bill Sinclair (primarily the combo's piano player), and Priscilla Stroud. The rhythm section was David Askren (bass), Omar Chaudhry (drums), myself, and JoAn Kunselman and Sinclair (piano).
The set started with Autumn Leaves played rubato between myself and Segal-Garcia. A nice little vamp in time led to each singer taking part of a chorus with solos by Kunselman and myself. Ending the song were some very nice three part harmonies between the singers.
Next up was a piece very closely associated with Billie Holiday, Lover Man, sung by Stroud. On this one the rhythm section created a slow groove that allowed her to dig in and get into the meat of the song. Bill and myself took solos, with some great rhythmic punctuations by Choudhry. Back to the bridge and out, with Priscilla really driving her point home.
While not usually a singer, Bill Sinclair decided to give it a go and sang When In Rome, styled after the great collaboration between Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. I got to play a solo over the bridge on this one.
Our set ended with a version of Sonny Rollin's St. Thomas, with original lyrics in Nigerian by Adegboro. This had a little bit of a fast bossa feel, with the choruses moving up in half steps. Margaret really sounded great singing in her native language and really brought a feeling of fun to the tune. A nice, upbeat way to end the set!