Jazz, where it was, where it’s going

  • By Dale Burrows For The Enterprise
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2009 7:51pm
  • OpinionLetters

It is an esthetic maxim: save the best for last. At NPAC last Saturday night, the best came first: the Bothell High Jazz Choir.

Don’t get me wrong. Headlining Greta Matassa’s got a mix of solid jazz styles. Blues, torch, swing, pop, be-bop, you name it, this choice for “Northwest Vocalist of the Year,” 2009, projects the voice, the energy, the improv and the mood to grab and hold.

Matassa’s recap was an upbeat slant on jazz of the past. It was comfortable. It was familiar.

But the kids were good for surprises.

Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” has nothing on Bothell Choir member, Tim Nelson’s. Nelson carried the sophisticated wistfulness in a voice, self-assured and smooth as velvet.

Cozying up with intimate lyrics doesn’t get much more up close and personal than Amie Rippetau’s “Since You Been Gone.”

As for Charley Laas’ “I Know What Time It Is Now,” it was maturity beyond her years.

By far the biggest surprise of all was when Chase Golka broke from the pack.

“Your daddy is rich/ And your mama is good-lookin’.” So go the lyrics from Gershwin’s lullaby, “Summertime,” in “Porgy and Bess.” Everyone knows them. Everyone expects them.

Came Golka’s turn to do those lines solo, and he belted out “And your mama is HOT.”

The word HOT brought the house down.

Want to talk about the spirit of improv that Matassa taught the kids in a preparatory session before the concert? The element of uniqueness? Being yourself? Expressing yourself in American’s own indigenous musical form?

I say in that moment of “HOT” in a jazz concert that lasted two hours, the first 25 minutes of which showcased The Bothell High Jazz Choir, I say, in that moment, the essence of where jazz is going was announced. Greta Matassa was part of it. Choir Director and teacher Sheri Erickson was part of it. A kid who went off on his own was it.

Jazz was, is and will always be going with what you feel in the moment musically.

Rock on, Golka.

This was a terrific example of Northshore Performing Arts Center bringing as they promise “World Class Performing Arts Closer to Home.”

Reactions? Comments? E-mail Dale Burrows at entopinion@heraldnet.com or grayghost7@comcast.net.

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