Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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David Berkman Jazz Quintet plays captivating songs

Winona State students performed songs alongside the quintet at the event.
Brad Farrell/Winonan

Haley Loeffler/Winonan

The David Berkman Jazz Quintet visited Winona State University campus this past weekend from Nov. 9 through Nov. 10.

The quintet performed three times, all three with students from local high school music programs.

Before the show the quintet sat on stage and went through a sound check for quality and double-checked the acoustics in the theatre. They work as a group, bouncing ideas and suggestions off of each other even minutes before their performance. While the group practiced and perfected their own pieces, the student performers waited in theater seats.

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The group then left the stage and soft jazz began to play from a recording. People start filing into the theater and filling the seats. The student performers begin to bounce knees and twiddle his or her thumbs. Young and old alike were present, some university students and professors, others members of the community ready for a night out.

As the musicians came on stage, the atmosphere changed from that of a college campus theater to a quaint, cozy and exclusive New York City jazz club.

First, David Berkman, an award winning composer and bandleader on piano was introduced.

Then, saxophonist, Tim Armacost, who has “led a life of constant motion” was introduced. He gathered his musical foundations from all around the world.

David Smith is the Canadian-born trumpeter, and he currently lives in New York City. He has a Master of Arts degree in jazz performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York.

Ed Howard plays the base and is “highly sought after.” He lives in New York City and in 1981 was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award, which allowed him to study with bassist Buster Williams.

Gene Jackson is the fifth member of the quintet and plays the drums with his entire body. He is cited as being an incredibly versatile player, able to play several different genres of music. When he is not playing or touring, Jackson teaches others at schools around the world.

After the introductions were made, the quintet began to play. The music was light and fun. The group had confidence as they took turns playing solos. The songs twisted and turned and the audience was captivated by the complexity of the songs and also the ease with which the quintet plays.

The students got on stage and after a brief explanation of what they would be playing, their parts were woven into the quintets.

At one point two of the students, both guitarists, appeared to be “battling” by taking turns playing a solo part, then looking to the other, as if to say “Top that.”

The performance was entertaining as well as awe-inspiring. Albums were available for purchase outside of the theater after the performance and can be found online.

Contact Haley at [email protected]

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