Written by Julie Jernigan, Staff Writer
On Tuesday night, Valdosta State held a Jazz Appreciation Month concert in Whitehead Auditorium, featuring the Jazz Ensemble and guest drummer John David. Under the direction of David Springfield, the band performed in front of a fairly packed audience, and a well deserved standing ovation.
John David is the Director of Jazz and Percussion Studies at Berry College. He also directs the Berry Jazz Ensemble, which was featured at the 2015 Georgia Music Educators Conference in Savannah, the Percussion Ensemble, and Viking Drumline. As a renowned drummer of the South East, David has performed throughout the United States and Europe with notable artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Bruce Hornsby, and the Jaco Pastorius Big Band.
David Springfield always sets a comfortable atmosphere for each concert he directs. It’s as if he’s hosting a backyard concert among friends. He stops before every song to say a funny antidote or spill some background information.
Springfield started the night off with an upbeat number titled, “Switch in Time” which set a relaxed, fun environment for numbers to come.
The night’s lineup of songs were filled with diverse favorites like the smooth sounding, “Spring Ain’t Here” by Pat Metheny and arranged by Bob Curnow, which featured senior performance major Nick Johnson, who’s vibrato is eerily reminiscent of Kenny G. The night continued with “Pass It On” by Dave Holland, which showcased John’s talent as he lost himself in his beats and strokes.
The highlight of the night was the last song titled, “All My Life” by the Foo Fighters, and arranged by our very own David Springfield. John called Springfield, who he always calls to make new arrangements with, and asked if it was at all feasible, and Springfield never backs down from a challenge. The piece was new, fun, and exciting. Dave Grohl would be proud. It was an excellent ending to an impressive concert.
Valdosta State’s Department of Music shouldn’t be slept on anymore. There are extraordinary instrumentalists and vocalists, who should be recognized more for their hard work and determination. The Fine Arts are a force to be reckoned with.
VSU will conclude Jazz Appreciation Month with a concert, featuring the Student Jazz Combos on April 27 at 7 p.m.