ViCE Jazz Combo I to perform with Vishnu Basement

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Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE) will host its last musical event, a jazz night, of the year on May 2 at 9 p.m. in the Mug. The featured student groups are Vishnu Basement and Combo I. Photo By: Katie de Heras

If music lovers didn’t get their fix at this years spring concert featuring Titus Andronicus and Greedhead, Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE) brings yet another musical event sure to end the semester on a jazzy note. In a culminating show, ViCE will put on their last jazz night of the year with musical groups Combo I and Vishnu Basement on May 2 at 9 p.m. in the Mug.

The Music Department programs housed in Skinner Hall of Music feature many of the College’s most talented performers, but many feel that it is beneficial for the Vassar community to experience even more acts outside of the department’s annual and semester concerts and recitals.

ViCE, to cater to this desire, decided to switch up some of its tactics with its final show, bringing a talented jazz combo from the department to the Mug. Hopefully, this change will spark the continued interest in showcasing the talents that the College helps to produce. It will be the first time a department group will perform at the Mug this year.

“Every two weeks or so we put on a jazz night and we bring a bunch of bands from outside and they play for an hour or an hour and a half. This is our very last show of the year and we decided we wanted to bring some of Vassar’s own musicians to the stage for a chance,” explained Vice Jazz Chair Sean Eads ‘15.

“We brought Combo I which is our best jazz combo at Vassar. It has six instrumentalists along with a vocalist,” he added.

Lead vocalist Alix Masters ’15 of Combo I described her experience with ViCE and the music department as both exciting and challenging in a way that has made her a more perceptive and talented artist.

“The way that Combo I formed is that we auditioned for the jazz department and they broke people up according to ability and who they felt would work best together,” Masters explained.

“Right now, we’re the number one combo and we rehearse once a week for about two hours. I heard about the combos last year and didn’t get to audition, I had a hard time coordinating the audition schedule,” said Masters.

“It was a crazy experience for me because I auditioned this year not knowing what was going to happen and then I ended up making the number 1 combo,” she said.

“Everyone in my group really knows their stuff and have been really supportive throughout our time working together,”  Masters also noted.

In response to why there is such a need to promote jazz at Vassar and make it integral to the community with weekly Jazz nights, Eads expressed how often times many genres are under-appreciated, for which jazz provides the perfect cure.

“Jazz is metonymy for funk band and basically all the rest of the genres that are underrepresented,” Eads said.

“With Jazz nights, its a chance to have more shows than just the spring concert where you only have one band,” he explained. It is also a genre of music that many people can identify with. “I love jazz, my dad listened to it and I grew up with it,” Masters said.

For the event on Friday, there is a lot lined up that will make for an eclectic and unique experience. “We’re going to do some jazz standards as well as some bluesy Ray Charles type songs,” Masters said. “We have some pop influences that we’ll also do, for those who aren’t particularly jazz people,” Masters further explained.

“We’re performing an Amy Winehouse song and some songs that are more modern takes on jazz. They’ll also be some slower tunes and some tunes that you can just dance to,” Masters shared.

The indie funk group, Vishnu Basement, a four piece band comprised of some members from the combo, as well as other Vassar students, will be the opening act for the combo itself.

“They’re a group of four guys who get together, play  and jam together. They’ll be performing all original songs,” explained Eads.  “They are very loud and exciting compared to the jazz combo which is a little more reserved but still exciting,” he added.

The group is also expected to perform some vocal tunes and instrumentals pieces The multi-faceted show is open to all of campus to attend.

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