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Playing for grades. . . but mostly for fun

by Archives April 2, 2003

Even if you’re not well-versed in jazz, you’d have to have tried pretty hard not to enjoy the jazz guitar ensemble playing at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall last Friday night. Some very talented students performed there over three days last week to fulfill part of their course requirements, but just because they were being closely watched by their professor didn’t mean they weren’t also having a great time. “Yeah, it’s for grades,” said first year guitarist James Annett, “and it’s for fun.”

The guitar ensemble was made up mostly of first year students and included Annett, Paul Henbury, Fernando Lanz, Yonah Sapir and Olivier St-Pierre on guitar, Sylvain Delisle on bass, Dan Eastcott on piano and Dan Sebastiani on drums. It was clear, as they strummed their way through five songs, that they love what they study. Directed by Alain Turgeon, the group played to a scattered audience of less than 30 people, but they sounded great and their enthusiasm was infectious. And though an appreciative, if a bit subdued, audience cheered them on, no one was having a better time than the guys on stage.

Ever heard five jazz guitars live? A recording is no substitute for the energy these guys let loose, though the audience was slow to respond. The sound was intoxicating and the group performed their way brilliantly through each piece, their tempo increasing with each new song. Highlights included “Man That’s Neat,” “Samba Do, Samba Don’t,” and the finale, “Groovy,” which included a particularly energy-packed solo performance by Paul Henbury.

But the Concordia musicians weren’t the only act that night. Turgeon also teaches at C

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