Kicking off its big trip to New York City, Boston College bOp! hosted a concert in Vanderslice Hall’s Cabaret Room on Wednesday night.
The instrumental and vocal jazz ensemble, conducted by BC Band Director Sebastian Bonaiuto, played six lively and smooth songs, starting with “Bemsha Swing.” With a couple snazzy saxophone solos, a sparkling piano melody, and a skipping drum rhythm, the song allowed bOp! to display its ability to blend distinct but complementary voices harmoniously.
“Such Sweet Thunder” and “Fly Me to the Moon” were the two other exclusively instrumental pieces the group performed. The first was playful and mysterious while the second was skipping and bright, but both resounded beautifully with the shining sounds of its brass section.
bOp!’s strongest songs, however, were those featuring its vocalists. Amber Glavin, A&S ’16, scatted back and forth with Matthew Hewett, A&S ’16, to “Muddy Water.” The tone of her wispy voice with his rich, full one created an elegant and soulful vibe that defined the rest of the show.
Despite a number of notable songs, the ensemble’s rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s hit “Crazy” was the highlight of the night. Adriana Cassanos, A&S ’17, owned her solo with her sultry, controlled voice, singing “I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind.” Cassanos harmonized with the seven other vocalists skillfully, building the song’s energy up until the group sharply ended and proclaimed together, “I think you’re crazy.”
The evening closed with the clattering and clashing of cymbals-bOp! went out with a bang to “Sing, Sing, Sing.” At the show’s conclusion, the audience applauded but was surprised it was over so quickly-it ran for less than 45 minutes.
Although brief, the concert was a nice preview to the larger and longer performances that were scheduled for bOp! throughout the weekend. The group played at Hall High School in Connecticut on its way to Manhattan on Friday, the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn on Saturday, and the Lincoln Center on Sunday, doing a clinic with members of its Jazz Ensemble. While bOp! has played in a number of different places over the years, including Disney World and even Moscow, there’s really no better place to stop and explore a passion for jazz than in New York City.