By Sophia Kinne ’20
“Coast Week” is what members of the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble affectionately call the week leading up to the concert [Friday, February 10]. We rehearse everyday, playing music over and over until we get it right. If you play the trumpet like me, it also means three to four hours on your feet, but even for those who can sit while they play, these are long hours. No time for sleep; homework gets done in the wee hours of the morning, if at all. I mean–of course we do our homework…
But this long and tiring week is worth it. I don’t think any of us would do it if it we didn’t think that.
The week is so intense and packed to the jazz brim because it is our only time to work with the guest artists before the concert. Each term, our director, Don Glasgo, brings in one or more guest artists, and we play their music, with the artists either leading the band or playing with us, or a combination of both. Last term the Coast was fortunate enough to have Nicole Mitchell and Peter Applebaum. This term we are working with Joe Bowie, Steven Bernstein, Bahnamous Bowie and JT Lewis. This is four times the Coast’s usual number of guest artists per concert, but since it’s our director Don’s last year, he has been pulling a few strings to have extra talent in the mix.
So much is new and so much more changes during Coast Week.
With two of the guest artists adding to the already robust rhythm section–JT Lewis on drums and Bahnamous Bowie on keyboard–Monday was the first night we played with a full band. Although we have been rehearsing all term, some pieces are added this week. Our opening number is a piece that we looked at for the first time on Monday. I spoke to my sister on the phone on Wednesday and she asked me if I had a solo. Of course, it’s jazz, so I did not know yet, but she seemed flummoxed at the idea of not knowing this information when the concert was two days away.
The week is really very exciting. We get to hear the music we have been preparing for over a month in its full orchestration–all the parts finally coming together. The guest artists, having never worked together before, take solos on each others charts, and literally blow us away with their improvisational skills and talents. And of course, I am always blown away by the skills and talents of my fellow Coast members.
Coast Week is crazy, but it’s worth it. I hope you come out for the show and think so, too.
I am a ’20 from Syracuse, New York. I am a proud member of the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, specifically the trumpet section, and in an unrelated twist, the Woodsmen’s team. If you see me around campus, feel free to smile or wave. Either is welcome.