The Icarus Ensemble returned to the University of Indianapolis for the second year in a row for a performance as part of the Jazz Concert Series. The ensemble performed on Feb. 21 in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center’s Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.
The jazz ensemble is made up of five instrumentalists: Gary Walters on piano, Mark Ortwein on electric bassoon, soprano sax and bass clarinet, Dean Franke on violin, Chris Pile on percussion and Steve Dauchan on bass.
The ensemble plays a wide range of jazz, according to UIndy’s events website, such as classically-inspired
jazz, pop-inspired jazz and original compositions from members of the ensemble.
The set list they performed included “Air,” composed by Walters; “Lunar Love,” composed by Ortwein; an arrangement of The Beatle’s “She’s Leaving Home,” arranged by Walters and an encore piece called “Circle Dance” by Peter Heavan. The group also started off the performance by playing an untitled piece before Walters introduced the group.
Freshman music technology and recording major Spencer Douglas said that he thought the performance was wonderful ensemble’s instrumentation was very unique.
“All [of] their instruments were played their own ways,” Douglas said. “The different types of sounds just worked.”
One of the specific instruments that Douglas said he enjoyed was Ortwein’s electric bassoon. The electric bassoon used electric pedals that when pressed, changed the type of sound the bassoon was producing.
“[The] electric bassoon is something that I was not expecting by any means,” Douglas said.
According to Douglas, who is a guitarist, the pedals are useful for when a musician would want to change from musical idea to another. Douglas said that for this performance the use of pedals was unusual to him.
“To [use pedals] with a bassoon is completely unorthodox but it worked so beautifully,” Douglas said.
The ensemble, which is based in Indianapolis has also performed pieces The Jazz Kitchen in at Indianapolis’ and they have made over twenty-three appearances at the venue, according to The Jazz Kitchen’s website.
For Dauchan and Pile, this was their first time performing as part of the ensemble in public. The ensemble usually performs with percussionist Jon Crabiel and bass player Peter Hansen, according to Walters.
Walters said that Crabiel and Hansen were not able to be at the performance due to scheduling issues because both Crabiel and Hansen are educators and are also are performers with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
“Peter’s [Hansen] commitments at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Jon’s [Crabiel] work at Butler [University] made it difficult for them to perform tonight,” Walters said. “We had to quickly find someone to fill in for them and luckily, I knew Steve [Dauchan] and Chris [Pile], so I called them up and asked if they were willing to help out and they were.”
Walters said that Hansen and Crabiel are both educators and are both involved with the Indianapolis Symphony
Orchestra when they are not performing as part of the ensemble.
The UIndy Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra will be performing on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.