By: Gina Bocchetta
Fans of the Great American Songbook gathered in the Gallagher Student Center Theatre to watch the renowned Rebecca Kilgore Quartet for Xavier Music Department’s “Swing Series.”
The audience waited in anticipation of experiencing live music from, as vocalist Rebecca Kilgore said, “The olden days.” The members of the Rebecca Kilgore Quartet each have exceptional individual accolades for their music.
Kilgore, 63, holds the record for most recorded jazz albums and in 2010 was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon’s Hall of Fame.
Trombonist Dan Barrett, 57, has performed with Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band on a three-week European tour.
Pianist Rossano Sportiello, 39, won the Prix du Jazz Classique de l’Academie du Jazz de France for his solo CD, “Piano on My Mind.”
Bass player Joel Forbes, 57, has been a veteran of the New York jazz scene for 30 years and has recently released a CD titled “I Walk with Music: the Hoagy Charmichael Songbook.”
Kilgore filled the air with her elegant melodies, paying compliments to the Cincinnati- Northern Kentucky area by singing several songs by Kentucky native Rosemary Clooney.
Like some audience members who jived in their seats, Kilgore stepped away from the microphone during each song, snapping her fingers to band members’ solos.
Barrett used a buzz-wah and a plunger, a muting device, as sound effects similar to Charlie Brown’s schoolteacher in the classic “Peanuts” series. Kilgore rolled her eyes in amusement several times and jokingly pointed her finger at him in “accusation” and said, “Don’t you ‘wah-wah’ at me.”
Never missing a beat, Sportiello laughed with the audience at the scene from his piano. When Barrett gave the cue, Sportiello seized the limelight, flying his fingers across piano keys in effortless arpeggios, immersing the crowd in floods of perfectly improvised harmonies.
Forbes followed, passionately showcasing his bass talent unaccompanied by other instruments. “What we do has to happen in time,” Forbes said, commenting on members’ and his time in the spotlight.
“What we do has to happen in time; it has to stay in rhythmic frame.” Towards the end of the show, Sportiello performed a solo medley consisting of “A Time for Love” and “A Handful of Keys,” both beautiful, fast-paced songs.
After uproarious applause and cheers, Barrett returned to the stage. “You can tell by my gray hair I’ve been around for a while,” he said. Although members of the quartet hail from all over the world, their chemistry and combined talent were outstanding.
For more information about the Rebecca Kilgore Quartet and about Kilgore herself, visit www. rebeccakilgore.com.