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Faculty member, jazz group performs

Posted on 11.20.2013

The Art Reiner Trio performed jazz tunes by artists such as Herbie Hancock and Oscar Hammerstein on Nov. 6 in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.
The band is composed of adjunct professor of music Art Reiner, who is also a professional percussionist, drummer and director of the University of Indianapolis African Drum Ensemble, bass player Jonathan Wood and pianist Kevin Anker. Reiner has been playing with Anker for 18 years and with Wood since the 1980s. The complete trio has been performing for about eight years.
Reiner said he was impressed with the audience’s attention to the music, since there are some venues where they are not as attentive.
“It was nice to look out at the audience and see that they were digging it,” he said.
The concert itself is the practice. The band usually plays on Friday nights and is always prepared,  sometimes even deciding songs to play during the concert.
“We’ve played together a long time and we just know what to do,” Reiner said.
Reiner is a fan of creativity in music and when a song is going well, he said he cannot help but break out into a grin.
“When you hear things that are working well in a group, someone might add something to the music that’s creative, and you smile because it makes you feel good,” Reiner said. “It’s like when your car is running well.”
According to Reiner, every song the trio performs contains some improvisation, but it is still based on the song’s structure, called a form, which is repeated throughout the song. However, sometimes a musician may add a drum solo.
“Sometimes they’ll take the structure, then improvise a new melody on top of the structure,” Reiner said.
Freshman nursing major Komla Bokor was thoroughly impressed by the performance.
“I was baffled by the level of difficulty of the songs and the level of harmony between the players,” he said.
According to Reiner, that idea of working together is what makes jazz so great.
“The best thing,  I think, is the teamwork  of  it,”  Reiner said. “When the teamwork is working and when you trust each other.  There’s trust because you count on the other guy to play something and it’s a pretty cool feeling when it works.”
Bokor agreed with Reiner that there is something special about the skill within the teamwork.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Bokor. “It requires the right attitude and endurance to perform at that high a level of intensity. They were the coolest cats I had ever seen.”


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