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Friends of Chamber Music opens with free jazz concert

Friends of Chamber Music opens with free jazz concert

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Friends of Chamber Music opens with free jazz concert

The Cepeda Jazz Sextet will kick off the 26th season of the free Friends of Chamber Music with a jazz concert at 7 p.m. Friday at The Green at Century Square.

The Friends of Chamber Music, for the first time in its 25-year history, will begin its season with a jazz prelude at 7 p.m. Friday.

The free concert will be presented at The Green at Century Square and is open to the public.

The Friends of Chamber Music’s 26th season officially begins on Oct. 9 when the Axiom Brass Quintet presents Love, Mystery & Despair, a program featuring music infused with Latin-American colors and textures, in A&M United Methodist Church.

The new season continues with:

Dec. 3, A&M United Methodist Church in College Station — The New York Polyphony, one of today’s best a cappella ensembles, will introduce its vocal meditation on Christmas, Sing Thee Nowell, a unique, diverse, and spellbinding musical experience.

Feb. 12, A&M United Methodist Church in College Station — the most unusual instrumental colors will be sparkled by harpist Bridget Kibbey and violinist Alexi Kenney in their program Counterpoint in Motion.

April 1, First Presbyterian Church in Bryan — Described as “cool and classy” by French press, the Paris-based Arod String Quartet will imbibe well-known compositions with their impeccable technique and sharp interpretations.

April 29, Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on the Texas A&M West Campus — The 26th season finale will be a perfect getaway to the subtle and splendid soundscapes of Romantic music with Rachel Cheung, finalist and audience award winner of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Friday’s outdoor concert will feature the Raquel Cepeda Jazz Septet, which includes Barry Sames, piano; Thomas Helton, double bass; Adriano Santos, drums; Cassio Duarte, percussion; Ernesto Vega, saxophone, flute, and clarinet; and Felix de Leon, trumpet.

They will perform a program of jazz classics, American swing, tangos, as well as Afro-Latin, Brazilian and Venezuelan jazz gems.

While the typical Friends’ program of chamber music may seem at odds with a jazz concert, Karen Pilant, a member of the board of the Brazos Valley Jazz Society, said, “Jazz is a uniquely American art form with its own musical language. While not traditionally considered chamber music, jazz has similar characteristics. When Baroque musicians embellished melodies and improvised over bass lines, they used elements which we recognize as jazz techniques.

“Live performances of jazz and chamber music share a natural affinity for individual expression, interaction among musicians, and an intimate connection with listeners in real time.

“An appreciative audience response energizes all musicians, whether they are members of a jazz combo or a chamber music ensemble.”

Raul da Gama, in a review of Cepeda’s album “Passion,” said, “Her uncompromising professionalism and prodigiously gifted artistry shines throughout the hour-or-so of music. It’s simply not a stretch at all for her to traverse the varied cultural topography with disparate music, making this into a journey of a myriad of soundscapes; disparate ones woven into a magical tapestry of sound.”

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