IN TUNE: You imagine auditoriums and school concerts when you think of the Bergen Catholic Jazz Ensemble, but blowing the roof off a nightclub?
Nemo was bearing down on New Jersey, but you wouldn’t have known it from the size of the audience pressed into Trumpets in Montclair for what became a blast of a different kind.
The Peter Furlan Project headlined, led by the amazing saxophonist from Clarkstown, who is also an adjunct music professor at Bergen Community College and the jazz ensemble director and ProTools instructor for Bergen Catholic.
After his sextet’s set, the young men in black took their turn, opening with “Funk-O-Matic, “Boogie Stop Shuffle” (a standout) and “In A Sentimental Mood,” featuring senior Ryan Romanos on tenor sax.
You could tell they were being deliberate out of the box, but it took only a couple of selections before the boys let go. The thrill of gigging was clear.
So was their grasp of jazz’s various stylings.
The ensemble slid easily from one to the next, tapping arrangements made popular by Ellington, Mingus, Miles, and Coltrane.
They also got a boost from various pros – such as trumpeter Vinnie Cutro – who took turns sitting in.
“Europa” was a treat, with Luke Barnard on guitar, along with “Ladybird” and “Blue Train,” featuring Munyuong Kim on trumpet. The set closer was “Red Clay,” led by the enthusiastic – and talented – pianist Joe Canlas.
Chris Brendel stood out on clarinet – then again, it isn’t really fair to mention only some of the musicians when they all brought such distinctive ingredients to the bitchin’ brew.
Furlan has been with the ensemble for 16 years after starting out with a few boys. With the support of the Bergen Catholic administration, the program has flourished.
Believing they benefit from playing out, Furlan has taken his young charges to Jazz at Lincoln Center and BergenPAC performances.
Then there are the half-dozen or so club dates.
“It’s great for the kids to get this kind of experience,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT during Thursday night’s show.
“Trumpets is a place where they get to come out and gig with professionals and get to see a professional band play at the same time,” he said.
Fulan laughed, recalling playing near the counter at a local McDonalds when he was a kid “while people were buying their Big Macs.”
He said he wants to make sure young musicians have more opportunities than he did.
The Bergen Catholic Jazz Ensemble is:
Francisco Andrade (sophomore): Piano
Luke Barnard (sophomore): Guitar
Chris Brendel (senior): Clarinet
Joe Canlas (senior): Piano
Sean Fernandez (junior): Piano
Anthony Finocchiaro (freshman): Piano
Alec Garino (freshman): Tenor sax
Lance Gibson (junior): Alto sax
Sebastian Gracia (sophomore): Baritone sax
Amechi Iloabanafor (senior): Alto sax
Anayo Iloabanafor (junior): Alto sax
Munyoung Kim (junior): Trumpet
Steven Kim (sophomore): Drums
Jack Meloro (freshman): Trumpet
Adam Radowski (sophomore): Piano
Ryan Romanos (senior): Tenor sax
NIck Ruso (junior): Trumpet
Patrick Ryan (sophomore): Tenor sax
John Vaccaro (sophomore): Piano
Peter Yoon (freshman): Tenor sax
Peter Furlan: http://www.peterfurlan.com/peterfurlan/Welcome.html
Bergen Catholic Jazz Ensemble: https://www.bergencatholic.org/page.aspx?pid=311