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Jazz, Notes, and Lunch

February 10, 2012

Galen Article  
   

Along with dinner and dessert, a full dining hall of Rose-Hulman students and faculty was treated Friday, February 10 to the music of Jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq. Playing with nimble keyboardist Steve Jones, who covered the bass lines with one hand while playing lead with the other, and drummer Richard "Sleepy" Floyd, Galen and his trio introduced the audience to jazz greats like John Coltrane ("Lazy Bird" with Galen on piccolo), McCoy Tyner ("Three Flowers"), Hubert Laws ("Shades of Light"), and Antonio Carlos Jobim ("The Wave").

The program was sponsored by the Rose-Hulman Center for Diversity in celebration of Black History Month. With jazz smooth delivery, Galen took time between songs to whet curiosity about great black musicians and early jazz history with his quiz-question approach.

"What Black female had the first TV show?" "Who was the first African American guy to have his own TV show?"

Using humor, often involving obscure hints ("s/he was from Arkansas," or "Birmingham" or "Chattanooga"), Galen would also foster the learning experience, suggesting, "I'm not kidding; go back and look it up."

Galen in Concert Rose-Hulman  
   

One such question was "Who was the first hip-hop artist?" Few of the names mentioned pre-dated the 70's. "1959," Galen announced. "Louis Jordan, Saturday Night Fish Fry." Galen's quiz questions also served as a reminder that media has not always duly celebrated the achievements of black artists as compared to their white contemporaries.

"Who can name the four Beatles?" Galen asked the crowd, followed by, "Who can name the original five Temptations?"  

There were some obvious jazz aficionados in the crowd, notably Michael Kukral and John Gardner, who sat in front of the trio and scored a good number of correct answers.

Galen's flute solos sparked when he brought out his style of twitters and tongue clucking, and both Floyd and Jones offered up entertaining solos, amusing references and nice syncopation. The trio plays again Friday night from 7 - 8 p.m. at The Worx.