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Gratz jazz band entertains crowd

Monday night’s jazz show featured Reed Gratz, professor of music, and his band of La Verne alumni musicians. Nine jazz compositions featured were all written by Gratz. The Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theater was filled with standing-room-only for the performance./ photo by Jakeh Landrum

Marilyn Mejia
Staff Writer

Jazz was in the air on Monday as Professor of Music Reed Gratz played the piano alongside his bandmates.

An eclectic musical group that he said is not technically a band.

The event, which kicked off the fall concert series, played to a packed house in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theatre.

The group featured players skilled in the violin, keyboard, bass, drums and percussion.

“I really liked how they… can come together and make it work.” said Sta’laina Swayne, a sophomore behavioral science major who attended the Monday concert.

Together the five musicians created a unique sound that had people in the audience bobbing their heads.

“Normally its very rare to see a violin do that in a jazz band,” said Jeralyn Cleveland, a sophomore business management major who attended the event.

The soulful tones were unique compared to the classical approach often seen with violin, she added.

The compositions were playful and musicians added their own flavor to the music.

“It was cool, because they were able to improv and read at the same time,” Cleveland said.

The names of the compositions were out of the ordinary with titles like “Vela por Sagres” and “Bodrum,” both of which are names that have to do with Gratz’s travels in Europe.

“It makes it an easy cheap way to title music,” Gratz said.

The mixture of upbeat, slow and soulful songs had the crowd clapping throughout the performance.

A highlight of the show was when percussionists Steve Biondo and Mike Bennett traded solos.

The night ended with an opportunity for audience members to talk with the band.

Many students stayed and congratulated performers on the exciting performance.

Marilyn Mejia can be reached at

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