The Kearney High School Band room at 7 pm on Saturday evening was quiet. The equipment load-in for the semester's KHS Jazz Band recording was peaceful and uneventful. As the microphones, cables and recording equipment began to emerge, some voices started to echo down the halls. The rhythmic scrape and tap of shoes sounded closer, excitedly walking. And then arrived the explosive sound of the band room doors and students' laughter as the jazz ensemble members entered to begin tracking.
The entire weekend Tone Tree Audio spent recording the Bearcats' incredible jazz performances embodied this energy and spontaneity. KHS band director Nathan LeFeber navigated his student group through jazz greats like 'The Girl from Ipanema', 'Sing Sing Sing' and even classic Nintendo soundtrack noodlings with ease. All pieces were complex, passionate and filled with excellent performances and solos.
Most notable was the tracking for 'Old Black Magic' when Kearney-area jazz legend Wes Hird entered the band room to standing applause. Hird joined the group to record vocals on the song, which he last recorded in the 1950s. With ease and grace only a seasoned performer can muster, he laid down an incredible one-take performance before gently waving good-bye to the group and strolling out the door to even louder applause.
Along with recordings completed earlier in the year by Tone Tree Audio, the jazz performances will be featured on a two-disc set collecting most student ensembles from the 2014-2015 school year. Check back to www.tonetreeaudio.com for more on the release.