Fredonia Jazz Faculty Collective to present original compositions, arrangements

Fredonia Jazz Faculty Collective

Alyssa Bump
contributing writer

For the final performance of this season’s Chautauqua Chamber Music Resident Artist Series, the Fredonia Jazz Faculty Collective will share original and versatile repertoire. 

“All four of us bring in tunes that we want to perform, (including) arrangements and original compositions,” said bassist Kieran Hanlon. “It’s really a group (effort); it’s not like it’s one person’s band. It is really cool to approach the music that way.” 

The Fredonia Jazz Faculty Collective will perform at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. 

Hanlon is in his third year with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. He and his bandmates — Elliot Scozzaro on saxophone, Nick Weiser on piano and John Bacon on drumset — are all instructors at SUNY Fredonia. Their ensemble has been performing together for over six years.

“Our quartet has a ton of professional gigging experience,” Hanlon said. “The significance of that in the university setting is that … we get to bring these real-world experiences to our students.”

Weiser often considers jazz as “social music,” according to Hanlon. He added the artform is very much a “human experience” that relies on a “deep element of trust.”

“We are very comfortable taking musical risks and knowing that our colleagues are going to have our backs,” Hanlon said. “This music has a life of its own due to the amount of improvisation that’s in it.”

The program for Saturday will include a mix of arrangements and original works. Each member of the ensemble will choose two works to share, totaling eight pieces. 

Some of the works for Saturday’s performance include Hanlon’s “Smile E;” Alan Menken’s “Colors of the Wind,” arranged by Hanlon; Maria Schneider’s “Walking by Flashlight,” translated by Weiser; Cole Porter’s “Use Your Imagination,” translated by Weiser; and Bacon’s “Dedication Samba” and “Blue Heron.”

With these works, Hanlon plans to present “a diversity of styles, tempos, feelings and even messages from tune to tune.”

“Smile E” is a piece Hanlon wrote right after his daughter, Eva, was born. 

“We admittedly had a lot of trouble at the beginning (of her life),” Hanlon said. “She wasn’t sleeping, and she had colic. So when we could get her to smile, it was really great.”

Hanlon experimented with the piano to find “musical sounds that correspond with her name.” 

“(The composition) has a spacey, wandering (feeling), which I’m sure was how she felt having popped into the world for the first time,” he said. 

Porter’s “Use Your Imagination” is a traditional jazz piece that Hanlon believes sounds like “what most people think of when they think jazz music.”

Bacon’s “Dedication Samba” is dedicated to his father, and Hanlon said the work produces a “big Brazilian feeling.”

“Jazz music is probably one the widest palettes of styles and sounds,” Hanlon said. “With this show, there’s going to be (a blend) of traditional and modern jazz.”

Hanlon and the Fredonia Jazz Faculty Collective are looking forward to “bringing jazz music to Chautauqua.” 

For the last Resident Chamber Music Series performance of the sumer, Hanlon is excited to present a “very interesting contrast to the other programs that have happened this summer.”


The author Alyssa Bump

Alyssa Bump is a life-long Western New Yorker, but this is her first season on the grounds of Chautauqua. She is eager to recap the Interfaith Lecture Series while broadening her perspective of the human experience. Alyssa is a senior at SUNY Fredonia, majoring in journalism and public relations with a minor in professional writing. As editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, The Leader, Alyssa focuses on becoming a compelling storyteller and an innovative leader.