Improvised Music Festival Review

Sam Klein, Sports Layout Editor

by Sam Klein

The Brookline High Music Collective came on stage decked out in every color of the rainbow.

The front row of the Music Collective included saxophonists junior Zach Altshuler, freshman Evan Jacobson, seniors Gabriel Mininberg and Jared Shanks, and trumpeters senior Korey Caron and freshmen Jason Altshuler and Eddie Lee. Each of the seven musicians wore a different colored top, ordered according to the rainbow, for the 10th annual Improvised Music Festival.

The Music Collective began the performance Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Roberts-Dubbs Auditorium with Billy Taylor’s upbeat “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” which was arranged by Zach Altshuler. The song highlighted Altshuler himself on saxophone and junior Tristan Geary on guitar.

From there, the Music Collective moved into part 2 of George Duke’s “Black Messiah.” A slower, more exploratory piece, it featured a powerful piano solo by junior Hal Triedman. “Black Messiah” was followed by “Viejo Mundo” (Spanish for “Old World”), a song written by Mininberg. The song began slowly, but soon picked up and included Caron delivering a heartfelt trumpet performance.

After “Viejo Mundo,” Charlie Kohlhase joined the Music Collective on trumpet for “Trondar,” one of his own compositions. Kohlhase is the leader of the Charlie Kohlhase Explorers Club, a group of adult musicians that followed the Music Collective. “Trondar” included juniors Noah Vanderwerf and Neda Morakabati on the vibraphone. The piece was prominently centered on the four saxophonists.

At 7:38, the Music Collective left the stage, and Music Collective director Carolyn Castellano introduced the Charlie Kohlhase Explorers Club. The group consisted of seven musicians. They performed five songs; John Tchicai’s “I Want This and That Too” followed by four of Kohlhase’s originals.

The rest of the Jazz Band joins in for the performance.
The rest of the Jazz Band joins in for the performance.

The trombone player, Jeff Galindo was the highlight of the group’s performance, with strong solos in three of the five songs.

During the final song of the night, “Doom is Mine” (named after Doctor Doom of comic book lore), there was an impressive duet of tuba, played by Josiah Reibstein, and trumpet, played by Daniel Rosenthal.

This duet was followed by a long drum solo by Curt Newton, which included some playing done with one drumstick and his hand instead of a second drumstick. The rest of the instruments came back briefly and then the performance ended with a few final notes from Rosenthal.

The performance had a comfortable and personal atmosphere, with the seats of the auditorium unoccupied; the approximately 50 spectators sat on chairs on the stage only five feet from the performers.
At only 80 minutes long, the Improvised Music Festival was a very intimate performance. The knowledge that the performers were, at times, just as unsure about the notes to come as the people watching, gave the observers a closer connection to the music.

Sam Klein can be contacted at [email protected]