COM jazz ensemble hosts Tommy Igoe’s Big Band

By R.J. Heckelman

A saxophonist in Tommy Igoe’s Big Band, who played at COM earlier this month.

A saxophonist in Tommy Igoe’s Big Band, who played at COM earlier this month.

The College of Marin jazz ensemble played their final show of the semester on December 5, in the James Dunn Theatre. The concert was opened by some little guests from Mill Valley Middle School, directed by COM Jazz instructor Cayce Carnahan.

The Jazz Band was backed by the Tommy Igoe Big Band, a nationally revered ensemble which included special guests like the former guitarist for Steely Dan, Drew Zingg.

The College band portion of the concert started with the slower jazz tune, “Lester Leaps In,” followed by a trumpet solo-led song, “Boy Meets Horn,” which featured COM jazz student Phil Lieb on trumpet.

“The event was a big opportunity to showcase the newly redone theatre, showcase the College of Marin Jazz ensemble, and showcase the Tommy Igoe Big Band,” said Carnahan.

The concert featured music ranging from neo-funk, to classic swingin’ big band, as well as a few songs personal to the featured guests. Marc Russo, a sax player who played with The Doobie Brothers, was also present. Igoe himself has played with Art Garfunkel, Blood Sweat and Tears, and many other great performers. He has been drumming since he was two, and currently has two regular gigs. The band plays on Tuesday nights at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, and on Friday nights at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York, where he travels to every week.

“We are very excited to be able to play alongside the Tommy Igoe band. It is really great that Cayce has bridged the strata of musicians, and musicianship,” said trumpet player Kaleo Larson. Bridging the gap between levels of musical skill seemed to be the theme of the night as the progression of music played, starting with a middle school jazz band, and ended with one of the best big bands in the country.

The performance rocked the theatre, with a nearly two hour-long set. Members of the audience were surprised by the immense sound the band created.

One audience member who wished to remain anonymous said, “I could not believe the power that the band had, they created a wall of sound that nearly blew you away.”

The event would not have been possible had it not been for the hardworking staff of the music department, Boyd Jarrell, David White, Trevor Bjorklund, and Joanna Pinckney. Bjorklund, who is chair of the music department at College of Marin said, “This was an amazing opportunity.  First of all they got the chance to work side-by-side with professionals, a band that is chock full of the best players in the area.  Also it is a huge opportunity for the College of Marin music department to bring a show like this in.”

The show was a great success, leaving audience members very impressed by the talent of the Tommy Igoe Big Band. The audience got to choose the final song the band played, and gave a standing ovation at the end of the show. This marks the last music concert of the semester, and a benchmark for the group and its future.



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