For someone who listens to almost exclusively electronic and rock music, surprisingly, I very much enjoyed the Brooklyn College Big Band’s performance of Latin Jazz. One aspect of this music that particularly intrigued me was the synchronization of all of the instruments. Throughout the entire performance, each and every one of the instruments seemed to me to perform as one. Even during the solo improvisations it seemed that everyone was in impeccable harmony. While one player improvised their piece, the other instruments would back him/her up with a smooth undertone, adapting to the intricacies of the improvisation.
I could not help but watch the audience’s reaction throughout the performance. Every time I looked around I would see people dancing in their seats, snapping their fingers, or humming to the beat. Jazz seems to have an extraordinary emotional effect on people. I found myself smiling throughout the entirety of the performance.
Arturo O’Farril’s passionate and talented performance was amazing. He was constantly trying to get his musicians motivated and excited (and it worked extremely well!). I thought it was generous of Mr. O’Farril to let one of his friends conduct a piece that he composed. Furthermore, I was astonished by the new conductor’s ability to coordinate the group with no practice beforehand. Not only were the musicians improvising, but so was the conductor himself!
One final aspect of the performance that grabbed my attention was the setting. I enjoyed having a smaller audience seated close to musicians, as opposed to the other performances, such as the ballet, where we were a part of a huge audience seated very far from the performers. This up close and personal experience really allowed me to see the difficulty of playing such complex musical pieces as well as the dedication and fervor that the musicians played with.