By Susan Bonicillo
The Hepcats are hip cats. That’s jazz lingo for fabulous. They will be performing as part of Gary LeMel Vocal Jazz Concert this Sunday at Crowder Hall at 9 p.m.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 3, 2005
You’ve got to love the one-hit wonders. Those bands that have only had that one shot at fame and have hereby been immortalized by that one lucky song.
If you can, remember way back when to The Darkness, that British band with the lead singer with an unhealthy fixation on Freddie Mercury. The band found success with its infectious pop-rock tune “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”
Though it may have faded back into the abyss from whence it came, anyone from Generation X is sure to get nostalgic when he or she hears that old falsetto layered over a screaming guitar riff.
Save for the random play on the radio, The Darkness may not get that much attention. But Vocal Ease, an all-female, jazz a capella group, isn’t about to let them settle completely into obscurity.
In their performance Sunday for the Gary LeMel Jazz Concert, the ladies of Vocal Ease will end their set with a rousing arrangement by music sophomore Ali Davis.
By performing songs like “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” that are identifiable by a wide range of people, the group hopes to appeal to a more diverse audience, said Tamara Bill, a student co-director of the group.
The group does a wide range of music, choosing from a variety of pop, rock, gospel and jazz standards.
Though music is not her chosen field of study (she is a biology senior), Bill has been involved with the group for five years and credits her love of music for her commitment to Vocal Ease.
In existence for seven years, Vocal Ease shares the bill for Sunday night’s performance with the mixed jazz group the Hepcats. This is the Hepcats’ first semester in existence at the UA. The group comprises two sopranos, two altos, two tenors and one bass. One of the tenors is Thomas McDonald, a music senior.
Though he has wanted to perform in a jazz group before, time constraints and schedule conflicts have prevented McDonald from participating until now.
“I joined the group because I have always been interested in jazz and I love playing it on the piano,” McDonald said. “I enjoy the emotion behind singing and playing jazz. It helps to sing your feelings sometimes. There is nothing like feeling depressed and plunking out a blues tune on the piano or singing it.”
The Hepcats have more than just bluesy, depressing songs to perform. They also do classic Irving Berlin songs like “Steppin’ Out.” McDonald has a solo in Lerner and Loewe’s “On the Street Where You Live,” which he said illustrates the ecstatic feeling you get when you’re around your object of affection.
“How do you say to someone, ‘I like being near you, even if it means just hanging outside your house,’ without sounding a little strange? That’s what jazz is all about — emotional expression,” McDonald said.
The School of Music will present the Gary LeMel Vocal Jazz Concert on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The event is in Crowder Hall in the Music building, 1017 N. Olive Road, and is free and open to the public.