An Evening of Jazz – The Best Way to Spend a January Night


Derek Wu

The Junior Jazz Ensemble begins their performance.

What better way is there to spend a cold and rainy January night, than settling in for a cozy, relaxing jazz concert?

On the night of Friday, January 18th, the St. George’s Music Department presented its annual January concert, An Evening of Jazz.

Led by Dr. Markel and Mr. Murray, the jazz ensembles at St. George’s have long been a highlight of the frequent performances put on by the Music Department. No doubt, the wide variety of blues, Latin, and other styles of music, as well as the chance to leave the chilly Vancouver winds, was an enticing opportunity for the audience.

Featuring three St. George’s student jazz ensembles, and headlined by the John Stetch Quartet, the concert was kicked off by the Senior Jazz Combo and their rendition of popular jazz standards by Herbie Hancock and Paul Desmond. Featuring a single member of each section, the Senior Combo wowed audiences with solos in Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” before stunning the crowd with a flawless performance of “Take Five” and its unusual 5/4-time signature.

Next, the Junior Jazz Ensemble, led by Dr. Markel, showcased a wide variety of music, allowing each section – from the trombones to the baritone saxophone – to shine through brilliantly. From Latin-inspired tunes to the classic blues, the next generation of jazz musicians at Saints showed much potential throughout the performance.

Moving on, the Senior Jazz Ensemble, headed by Mr. Murray, showed off their musicality, with both soothing and thrilling solos from the trumpet and saxophone sections, to the masterful precision of the rhythm section. Despite Mr. Murray’s claims that the piece was an “experiment,” the group pulled off a complex piece arranged by local composers, as well as a blues tune inspired by famed jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.

“It was really impressive to see the growth in the boys’ musicality,” one audience member remarked.

“Every time there is a concert, they always seem to get better,” they added.

After a short intermission, the main event of the night, the John Stetch Quartet began their performance.

Derek Wu
The John Stetch Quartet

The group made a classy entrance, with each member of the quartet walking on stage and comfortably easing into the blues tune started by the previous member.

With John Stetch on piano, and the other members of the quartet on saxophone, drums, and double bass, the Quartet provided a relaxing end to the night. Beginning with an exciting yet calming blues, the group continued to amaze the audience with “Urakawa,” a tranquil, sometimes sombre piece inspired by Stetch’s time in Northern Japan.

Music and jazz lovers who chose to spend their cold January night elsewhere will have the opportunity to enjoy more concerts put on by the St. George’s Music Department in the future, most notably the annual Spring Concert, featuring both the school’s concert bands and jazz ensembles, on the 2nd of May.