Musicians with a wide range of ages and musical experience performed a program of American roots music—including folk, blues, R &B and jazz—at Healy’s Westside in Forest Park, IL on Friday, January 24, 2014. All the performers study music with professional musicians and teachers at Kagan & Gaines Music in Forest Park.
Singer-songwriter Lena Fjortoft, who opened the program, played acoustic guitar and sang her original folk-rock songs. She has a lovely, plaintive voice. Her teacher, James Goelitz, with over thirty-years of professional experience as a musician and teacher, also teaches the students in Blue Groove.
The jazz ensemble Generations played jazz standards by such musicians as Bobby Timmons, Pepper Adams, Larry Carlton, and Jamey Aebersold. The group included Logan Curry, alto & baritone sax; Adam Peoples, trombone; Mike Estelle, tenor sax & vocals, Jim Poznak, piano; Noah Goins, bass & guitar; Chris Dixon, drums, Mary Sullivan, vocals; Bob Sullivan, blues harp & vocals. John Connolly directed the ensemble and played keyboards. Mr. Connolly has taught music (brass and keyboards) for over thirty years and has been a professional musician for much longer.
Mr. Connolly said of Generations, “Our band wants to share its love of all things jazz. In class, we learn about improvisation; this performance allows the band to share what they’ve learned with an audience.”
To complete the program, Blue Groove played a lively set of blues, R & B and jazz songs by such musicians as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, Carlos Santana, The Temptations, Herbie Hancock, Bill Withers, and Grand Funk Railroad. The band included Mike Estelle, vocals and tenor sax; Billy Smith, vocals; Alex Scaramuzza, guitar; Byron Leonard, guitar; Vera Beilinson, keyboards and Lawrence Brown, bass and vocals. Percussionist and teacher John Marella was the ensemble’s guest drummer. Jim Goelitz, the band director, also played guitar and bass with the group.
Every time I perform with Blue Groove, it feels like a dream come true. When I first started taking lessons in 2008, it seemed like a remote fantasy to perform in public in a group like this. I would love to have more opportunities to perform.