The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Guests visit NE for educational lecture, performance on jazz

By Jon Minsloff/reporter

Jazz fans packed the NE Campus Center Corner Feb. 3 to witness the Reiny and Tom Show with jazz history, live music, punch and cookies.

Reinhold Wagnleitner, a professor at the University of Salzburg, Austria, noted distinguished artists of the genre while the guest pianist, classically trained Tom McDermott, took his turn busting out some jazz favorites like “Magnetic Rag” and “Alligator Crawl.”

African-American and Creole musicians of the Mississippi Delta gave birth to jazz, an improvisational style of blending blues and ragtime, Wagnleitner said.

The audience included students, professors and some friends of the guests. Photography major Dave King said he went to Center Corner to hear some good music and walked away with a deeper knowledge on the subject.

Rusty Miller, who also attended, said he switched to an international studies major after spending a week at the Salzburg Seminar with Wagnleitner and others in what he called “an amazing, eye-opening experience.”

Wagnleitner stressed the importance of jazz as a music that not only entertains but also shares a story of oppression with the same people who created the unique style. Paralleling these two struggles, jazz prevailed “by playing it by ear,” he said.

As jazz spread around the world and found acceptance in most countries outside the U.S., artists did not always receive the same welcome in the U.S. Trumpeter Louis Armstrong, or Satchmo to fans, faced racism in his own hometown of New Orleans.

Wagnleitner explained the negative attitude toward jazz, citing an earlier essay by critic Anne Faulkner who argued jazz put the “sin in syncopation.” Russia even outlawed the simple use of the word jazz in the early 20th century.

Near the end of the show, as Wagnleitner brought the audience up to beat with contemporary jazz, he introduced the next piano piece as original material by the guest. McDermott played one of his own tunes from 1996, appropriately dubbed “Heavy Henry,” with funky bass notes marching in response to the light-foot dance going on at the other end of the piano.

During this song especially, listeners moved their heads along — even Wagnleitner swayed a little behind the podium.

As the echo of the last chord faded out of the room, McDermott smiled toward the crowd and nodded. The audience praised the two guests with a standing ovation.

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