All that jazz


McMullen plays with students and shows them the finer points of improvisation of a song.

Brandon Nelson and Brandon Nelson

Music is all around this campus. Whether it’s the vocal ensemble or the teachers, music is very much a part of the American River College campus. Although it’s hardly ever heard.

On March 25, Professor Dyne Eifertsen hosted a free jazz clinic with jazz musician Mike McMullen.

“Don’t let anybody tell you this is art, it’s not. It’s showbiz,” said McMullen.

McMullen has been performing and teaching for about 40 years and is an adjunct faculty member at ARC. He has traveled the world performing at venues throughout North America and Europe. He has worked with Olivia Newton-John, Tony Orlando, The Moody Blues and The Temptations.

“I’m here because I was invited. I’m an educator so one of the things that I always believe in is my study cycle,” said McMullen. “The way to complete my study cycle is to pass on what we know.”

Students gathered at 3 p.m. to hear McMullen talk about jazz and listen to him play. McMullen had any students that brought instruments take them out at the start of the clinic. Eventually he would have them come down to perform with him for the audience.

The main point McMullen stressed was that every song is a story and whenever you improvise a song it becomes your own take on that story. If you can sing it, you will be able to play it.

In order to get his point across McMullen had each student who had taken an instrument out get on stage and play.

They were performing “All of Me”  and “Autumn Leaves” while also improvising some of the chorus.

Each student performed a solo of “All of Me” or “Autumn Leaves” during the performance of each song. Among the instruments played were the piano, guitar, and drums.

After each performance McMullen would provide a critique to help the students improve their future improvisations.

The clinic was originally slated to run from 3:00 p.m. to 4:20 p.m., but became so in depth, it ran until about 4:45 p.m.

Students like Dal Albalos, a music major, thought the event was success.

“I thought it was outstanding,” said Albalos. “I like the fact that Dyne has brought in high quality musicians who have a really good attitude about music and display it readily. It kind of emanates from them and the fact that they emphasize your ear and what you hear.”