Kudos to Kent State Jazz
Last Tuesday night, I had the good fortune of seeing the KSU Jazz Ensemble perform at a Kent retirement center. This was a wonderful opportunity to see a big band (I counted 22 instruments) play for an appreciative audience in a small, natural, acoustically perfect environment unencumbered by the usual dual modifiers of amplification and digitization.
A good jazz concert will remind folks of where jazz has been and offer at least a hint of where it is headed. The band provided several old standards including a gently rocking Duke Ellington blues and a couple swinging Count Basie numbers that caused the largely “retiree” crowd to smile at the greatness of a not-so “bygone” era. These were offset by some more modern selections including compositions of Pat Methany and Sergio Mendes. An original “recuerdos,” a la Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, suggested that good jazz emanates from a wellspring of originality knocking on the door of novelty. The Woody Herman finale was proof that the evolution of a jazz person trumps the intelligent design of his/her creative origins.
The musicianship was stellar, especially considering university students are in an incubation period indicating fledgling professionalism. I understand that this band is called Ensemble 1 and consists primarily of freshmen and sophomores. The vocalist exhibited good phrasing and excellent presence, tastefully reminding listeners that a featured performer can retain sotto voce elements, remaining at all times deferential to the diversity of talent on display, which is not exclusively her own. Her vocal skills also suggested that the rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” should be aptly re-titled “Nowhere over her range blow.” The dueling alto saxes were wonderfully featured in a call and response, “cutting contest” mode. Trombones, saxes and trumpets were a-blazin’ in coordinated delivery of solos and obligatos. The rhythm section was superb, highlighted by a “ringer” on the drums and two presto-digitating bassists. And just when one might have thought that the band had no further directions to explore having exhausted all arrows in its quiver, out came an “unsung” lady dressed in purple bellowing beauty in the form of soprano and alto sax solos, as if she had been retained as a well-kept secret.
All in all, a wonderful concert. Professor Chas Baker as bandleader is also to be commended. And good pizza to boot! Thank you for a wonderful show.
Feminists have a right to be angry at Weisburn
Perhaps women need to go back to burning their bras. How else is the point going to be made that women do not have it as good as men? Erika Weisburn said that “feminists need to get over it because absolute equality will never happen.” So let me pose the question: Why on earth should I get over it? Women still make 75 cents to the dollar that men make, and with a recent ruling in South Dakota that risks a woman’s choice all over the country, women certainly do not have it as good as men. Women are not oppressing themselves by getting angry; in fact, they have a right to be. I don’t consider myself a feminist, but arguments that completely dismiss and erase how far women have come in the past 100 years makes me angry. Hopefully, a lot of other women are angry as well. I will never blame men for the fact that my rights are not as good as their rights. However, our society still has a long way to go before we are completely equal, and we should be able to be equal. What is most disgusting about Weisburn’s editorial is that she herself is a woman but does not care enough about herself to fight for equal rights. I urge all women and men to unite and fight for the equal rights of women. The real “pigs” need to be booted out. Weisburn states that women “basically have the same opportunities as men,” but I just don’t see it.
Freshman political science major