Jazz Group Brings Together Classical And Contemporary With ‘007 James bOp!’

Despite a rocky start, the BC bOp! managed to pull off a memorable night on Saturday for the jazz group’s 007 James bOp! show. The show featured a variety of styles and a lovely array of solos. Bop, also known as bebop, is a music style developed in the early 1940s that combines the fast-paced swing elements with the smooth nature of jazz. Bop, like jazz and the blues, was founded and made famous by American musicians. Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis both influenced the development and the popularity of bop. Today, the influences of bop are considered modern jazz. BC bOp! did a great job sticking to the riveting style of bop while choosing classic and current music.

The opening piece, “Fly Me to the Moon,” performed by the band was a bit choppy and uncoordinated, despite a strong solo by David Bonaiuto, A&S ’14, on trombone. Unlike their band counterparts, the vocalists had an incredible first act-a performance of “Crazy,” featuring a voice solo by Adriana Castanos, A&S ’17, was one of the show’s highlights. She had an extraordinarily rich color to her voice, and the background vocals accompanied her perfectly. The solo by James Hooper, A&S ’14, on the tenor sax, fit in quite nicely. The performance was followed by an upbeat swing instrumental piece and then a slow love song in which the vocalists sang a cappella.

The band finally hit its stride with “Cafe Caliente.” As one of the best performances of the night, this piece was fun, upbeat, and expertly executed with incredible solos by Ryan Dusenbury, LSOE ’16, on alto sax and Mattthew Passanante, A&S ’17, on tenor sax. The percussion was spot-on throughout the piece, giving the number a Latin American flare. This was followed by another of the night’s most powerful moments. Adam Murray, A&S ’15, sang “Fever” while the band accompanied him. Murray had a pronounced stage presence- he stayed true to the humorous nature of the song, not to mention  utilizing an extensive range throughout the performance. The band accompaniment complemented his voice well, and it added a level of depth to the overall sound.

The final performance before intermission also contained a number of solos. It began with a low, strumming string base by Austin Wong, A&S ’17, creating an interesting thematic effect. It was a fun performance, and a great way to end the first half.

Following intermission, audiences finally got to hear some Bond. Arranged by Steven Bass, the band played the “Bond Theme” as director Sebastian Bonaiuto introduced the members. The band smoothly transitioned into Adele’s “Skyfall”Castanos once again took lead. It is not an easy feat to cover Adele, but Castanos took on the challenge head on and gave a soulful performance, and the results were incredible. Not only was her voice strong, but she exuded confidence on stage, forcing the audience to take note.

From there, they moved on to all-time jazz legend Duke Ellington-the band performed “Such Sweet Thunder,” a smooth, sly tune. The trumpets took the lead on this number, which was a nice change of pace. Peter Julian, CSOM ’17, had a very strong solo on trumpet. It was great that bOp! included a piece like this one-bop is often best performed on the trumpet because it can give both a jazz and swing aspect. This song was preceded by a solo performance-Amber Glavine, A&S ’17, gave a proper vocal rendition of “Skylark.” Glavine took the audience by surprise: her petite figure housed some remarkably large vocals, and her performance ended the show sweetly. It was an evening of classic jazz merged with contemporary style and flair-genuine bOp!, through and through.