May 21, 2024

The bar was packed; excited chatter and booming laughter could be heard from people of all ages. With a few short taps of his foot, Tom Zinninger’s Jazz Ensemble quickly stole the crowd’s attention.
Starting the show with a quick swing piece entitled “Lullaby of Broadway,” Wittenberg’s Jazz Ensemble put on one heck of a show on Nov. 3 in Founders Pub.
Despite the large crowd, the ensemble showed no fear and no hesitation. Dressed in black from head to toe, the soloists in “On Green Dolphin Street,” including Zinninger himself, displayed great showmanship. Closing their eyes and swaying to the beat, the musicians were fully engulfed by the music.
Before the start of the fourth piece entitled, “Footprints,” Zinninger described it as “blues with a twist” and that couldn’t be more accurate. Crunching notes from the vibraphone and piano accompanied a trombone duet and an alto saxophone solo.
With a quick set change, Zinninger took the opportunity to talk up this talented group of students.
“We have been given the opportunity to participate in a joint concert with the Dayton Jazz Orchestra in a few weeks” he said. “This will be the first time the ensemble will perform off campus and we would love it if you all could come and support us.”
In Zinninger’s own words, “Jazz is a type of music that has to be seen live. It’s music being created right in front of you.” The concert will be held at Dog’s Breath Tavern on Nov. 15.
The next “swing shuffle” piece is normally, as described by Zinninger, a “rock, Latin, bugaloo piece” but with a new Wittenberg twist, the ensemble made the piece all their own.
With a few more taps and an encouraging “Bring the heat” from their director, the band took off. The piece was loud and energetic. The “Princess and The Frog” vibe made the piece intriguing and the audience happily clapped along.
The next couple arrangements showcased the ensemble’s musicianship. The slow melodic tones of “Round Midnight” to the quick and bright “Spain;” this ensemble has it all.
The final piece had every audience member on the edge of their seats, eager to see what the talented group of students had in store for the finale.
The band didn’t disappoint. “Night Flight,” arranged by Sammy Nestico, was the perfect combination of incredible improv and catchy melodies. Everyone in the audience could see how much work this ensemble put into this piece and how much fun they were having with it. Tapping their feet and bobbing their heads to the beat, the ensemble ended the night with smiling faces all around.

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