Aebersold Jazz Quartet entertains Bird Hall

By on January 14, 2016

By Madison Thompson–

Monday night, Aebersold Jazz Quartet played in Bird Hall. Members of the quartet include Jamey Aebersold playing saxophone, Jonathan Higgins performing on drums, Tyler Wheeler on bass, and finally Dan Hurley on piano.

Bird Hall is known for its fantastic acoustics that compliment smaller recital groups like the Aebersold quartet, and the quartet put on a fabulous show.

Jamey Aebersold, the unofficial leader of the group, counted down to set the evening into motion. The first piece performed was “Tenderly.” The sound produced was not so much swing, but the main melody of the saxophone was soothing. Hurley soloed while Higgins kept time with the cymbal.

The fourth piece called “Soulmates” was written by Hurley. It started off soft and bouncy. His fingers danced over the keys, keeping within the theme of Jazz. This piece was a complete piano solo. When asked what his inspiration was, Hurley said, “[he] was playing one day and just decided to write it down.”

For Hurley, writing is a “labor of love.” After writing a couple hundred songs and pieces, he really only likes 30 or 40. “Tastes change,” he said.

The company came back together for the rest of the concert. At the end of their fifth piece, their final note was so shocking it made several audience members jump. They continued the concert and at one point, there was a call and response between the piano and the drums.

Then came their final piece. From the look in their eyes and the energy on stage it was evident that they enjoyed playing together.

For Aebersold jazz music is an opportunity to step outside of the boundaries of classical music.

“Classical musicians spend their whole music careers memorizing music and expanding their repertoire. In Jazz, we’ve spent our whole lives practicing these solos for you,” said Aebersold. “We don’t know where it’ll take us. I just try to play what I hear in my head.”

Overall, the entire performance was one to remember. Jazz is about improvisation. Once they looked away from the few notes that had been written down, it was all up to their imaginations.

The performance was definitely worth seeing. For those who are interested, there are several summer Jazz workshops hosted by U of L that will be presented by Aebersold himself. The dates are July 3 – July 8, July 10 and July 15. Students can register at


About Madison Thompson

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