Jazz Musicians storm Schwartz Auditorium


Visiting Artists put on a show in Schwartz.

Lovers of jazz music were in for a treat on October 20, 2017, when Visiting Artist Series featured the trombone sounds of Marshall Gilkes and friends at StFX’s Schwartz Auditorium. The concert started at 7:30pm with an opening act from Five Dollar Combo; a 6-member band featuring Tim Thiesen on piano, John Deal on drums, Aidan Zann-Roland on guitar, Mark Carroll on bass, Hannah Lever on trombone and Viraji Rupasinghe on trumpet. The young musicians from Truro’s Cobequid Educational Center jazzed for a solid half hour; the potential recruits are strong candidates for entry into the Jazz program and StFX scholarships. 

The group director of Five Dollar Combo, StFX alumnus John MacLeod has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours. It was John’s first time hearing a concert in the Gerald Schwartz School of Business, and he was impressed with the acoustics in the auditorium.

The following quote is his StFX Testimonial: “The music education that I received at StFX has shaped the way I teach music. With its focus on creativity and collaboration, I learned how to make meaningful and expressive music. The interaction and dedication that the music faculty has with their students, is something I try to emulate in my own personal practice.”

Marshall, accompanied by Tom Roach on drums, Tom Easley on bass, Kevin Brunkhorst on guitar and Paul Tynan on trumpet and flugelhorn performed for over an hour. After a standing ovation, Marshall and his band closed the set with a double-song encore. Between encore songs, Marshall got talkative and confessed to having a 13-month old “rascal” at home who goes by the oxymoronic “Big Tiny” nickname. The trombonist and composer amusingly dedicated the final song to large babies everywhere.

The trombonist has conducted his music with the WDR Big Band, UMO Jazz Orchestra and Army Blues. Some of his most memorable performances were with Wynton Marsalis, Billy Cobham and Barbra Streisand.

Marshall’s latest album Köln, was double-nominated by the Grammy awards for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album with his single “Vesper” being nominated for Best Instrumental Composition. The accomplished musician graduated from the Juillard School with a Bachelor of Music degree and is now an assistant professor of Music at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

For the latest news on Marshall, follow him on Facebook @marshallgilkesmusic, Twitter @marshallgilkes and YouTube @Marshall Gilkes. While browsing YouTube, search for key words related to Ron Sunshine/Craig Dreyer composition “Coffee and Reefer” with an arrangement by Jon Dryden (not to be confused with 17-century Poet Laureate John Dryden) featuring Marshall Gilkes on trombone in 2008. The song title could be inspired from “Champagne & Reefer” by Muddy Waters released on King Bee in 1981.

The next Visiting Artist Series performance is scheduled for November 17, 2017 at  the Schwartz Auditorium. Port Cities, a trio of Maritime musicians, bring their talent to campus. Tickets cost $25.00 per adult and $15.00 per student, child, and senior.