ARC’s jazz department hosted a free jazz clinic


The American River College Jazz Collective will perform a tribute to our veterans at the “A Tribute to the War Years” concert on April 27. (File Photo)

Justina Sharp

ARC’s Instrumental Jazz Studies Department hosted a clinic Thursday with jazz drummer Alex Jenkins, facilitated by director of jazz studies, Professor Dyne Eifertsen.

Jenkins specializes in jazz and world music.

“(He is) an amazing percussionist…you’ll see him playing everywhere” said Eifertsen of Jenkins.

Eifertsen and Jenkins, who have worked together extensively as a duo, released a CD in 2013, entitled “Inertia”. They began the clinic by performing a single titled “Facing North”, written by Eifertsen.

Their performance included impromptu solos by both, with Jenkins playing the drums and Eifertson playing the trombone.

Once they concluded their performance, Jenkins addressed the students.

“He and I (Eifertsen) haven’t been able to do that…for a year,” said Jenkins. “I needed that.”

Jenkins then opened up to questions from the audience.

“Was there any point in that, (that) was free time or was there a beat?” asked Noah Flores, a Music major.

“Using words like ‘free time’ and ‘beat’ is a slippery slope,” said Jenkins. “I’m not thinking pulse, but I am thinking melody.”

Dyne gave further insight into performing impromptly as part of a duo or group.

“You have to be really listening..know when it’s your place to play, and when it’s not.” said Dyne.

Jenkins agreed, adding “There really is a skill set to this, it’s not just sitting down and playing.”

Next, Jenkins demonstrated how students can train using a metronome to keep beat, using different tactics to vocalize their counting.

He then invited members of ARC’s Jazz Collective up to perform.

They went through different variations of “Speak No Evil” and  “Stompin’”, with Jenkins critiquing each performance.

Jenkins also demonstrated how the students could adjust the style of the song by changing the beat, changing the performed pieces to swing and latin variations.

“We can start taking it upon ourselves to change the beat.” said Flores, who plays trumpet in the Collective.

There was also a vocal jazz performance by members of Shamen, another ARC collective.

Concluding the clinic, Jenkins asked for any final thoughts from the audience.

“I wish I’d had more time,” Jenkins said. “But other than that, it was cool.”