It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that Swing

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  • Take Five: Members of the Saltus Jazz Band (left to right) Calum Maule, Eva Frazzoni, Katie Witkowski, Tashae Trott and Alex Fox. They will be playing a host of jazz tunes for an event called ‘Swing’ next week Thursday and Friday. (Photo submitted by Michelle Dismont-Frazzoni)

    Take Five: Members of the Saltus Jazz Band (left to right) Calum Maule, Eva Frazzoni, Katie Witkowski, Tashae Trott and Alex Fox. They will be playing a host of jazz tunes for an event called ‘Swing’ next week Thursday and Friday. (Photo submitted by Michelle Dismont-Frazzoni)


If songs like ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, ‘A Wonderful World’ and ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ evoke images of great years gone by, then this is likely an event for your calendar.

Budding musicians from The Saltus Jazz Band will play swing and jazz music classics at Daylesford Theatre next week.

Swing, will feature “haunting and mesmerising” vocal solos from Saltus alumnus Samantha Tavares and Deborah Raat, Valerie Smith and Jennifer Osmond.

Musical director Lisa Maule said Saltus Grammar School decided to host the event in partnership with BMDS to challenge students to dive into a different musical genre and give the public a chance to see their growth.

“I believe that it’s a good thing for students to experience all types of music from all different eras,” she said. “They often play pop music for events such as Harbour Nights, but I would like them to be able to appreciate jazz music as well. So that is the inspiration behind this event.

“We also wanted them to be able to play as the background band for the vocalists, which is another skill for them to learn about.”

Band students have been taking part in rigorous training sessions two or three times a week.

Some like Eva Frazzoni, a young saxophonist, are a bit nervous about opening night; others like Tashae Trott were looking forward to the big performance.

“We haven’t really performed professionally, but this is a good experience for us,” Tashae said. “Instead of wearing our school polo shirts we are wearing all black which is similar to what a professional orchestra would wear.”

Eva and Tashae are part of the group Sassy Saxes.

Each was drawn to the instrument because they didn’t see many females playing it. There was only one in the band when they joined, now the entire section is made up of girls.

Trumpet player Calum Maule said the upcoming show will be the longest performance they’ve had so far.

“Probably the most challenging part of this is we have had to adapt to the length of music. The longest show we have done is about half the time.

“As a brass player we have to build up your endurance so we can be able to play for longer,” he said.

Calum has also learned to play a mellow sounding instrument called the flugelhorn, specifically for this performance.

He said he liked that jazz was a more “laid-back” style of music and gave him the opportunity to experiment and take different liberties to show off his chops.

Bass guitarist Katie Witkowski told The Royal Gazette she has enjoyed listening to swing music ever since she was a young child but had learned more about it while preparing for this event.

“I definitely found a new appreciation for different songs,” she explained. “When we started rehearsing I didn’t like the song ‘Take Five’, but after playing it more I started to really like it and it’s opened me up to a different kind of music that I might listen to more in the future.

“I think more kids should be open-minded about what they are listening to.”

‘Take Five’ is probably the most challenging song the students had to learn because of its unusual beat.

Originally performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, the song is famous for its catchy saxophone melody, imaginative drum solo and use of quintuple, or 5/4 time.

Drummer Alex Fox said the extra beat was awkward to deal with at first, but the song is one of his favourites to play now because it’s fun and “you can catch people out with it”.

Added Katie: “I think it will be nice for people to see students play music that is actually quite challenging and we hope they will support that we are stepping up to the task of putting ourselves on show in front of an audience and getting in touch with past generations.”

Ms Maule praised the students for their hard work in mastering the swing tunes.

“I think it’s amazing that the students have reached this level at this age, especially considering how much else goes on in their lives and what they are involved in.

“I think they do incredibly well and they typically have just one rehearsal a week, though we have raised that to two or three times a week [to prepare for the event].”

Tickets are $20 for performances next Thursday and Friday. They can be purchased at the BMDS box office between 5.30pm and 6.30pm from Monday through Wednesday. Tickets can also be purchased on performance nights, between 7pm and 8pm.

Tickets may also be purchased at www.bmds.bm until Sunday.

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Published Apr 17, 2013 at 8:54 am (Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 8:53 am)

It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that Swing

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