From the first beat of the congas to the final chord of the evening, 360ᵒ Jazz Initiative‘s “Distracted Society” album release concert was an incredible start to a week of performances at the 2015 UNC Summer Jazz Workshop.

 

At 7 p.m. on Monday June 15, 2015, an audience filled the rehearsal hall of UNC’s Kenan Music Building for the release concert of 360ᵒ Jazz Initiative’s newest album “Distracted Society.” A few minutes after the hour, the ensemble opened with the album’s title piece “Distracted Society.” Soon after the downbeat, there was a trumpet/tenor saxophone duet between John Parker and Dave Finucane, a common occurrence throughout the program.

 

For the next piece, “60 Seconds,” percussionist Juan Alamo moved from the congas to the vibraphone. Here he gave the audience some intricate high-speed runs on his turn to solo in this and the following piece, “Bent”.

 

Up until the fourth piece, everything was at a quick tempo with a driving bass line. Here, “No Answer” responded, alternating a soft slow-moving piano section with a slightly faster full ensemble part to provide contrast.

 

The next few pieces returned to a faster tempo. At this point some of the audience members started trickling out of the rehearsal hall, possibly to rest up for another full day of the workshop.

 

The 15 to 20 percent of the audience who left missed the most captivating moment of the evening. During “Grey Blue,” all the performers left the stage except Dave Finucane and Stephen Anderson, the saxophonist and pianist. This duet brought chills all the way to the back row multiple times. At the end of the piece there were several seconds of silence before the applause while the audience sat in awe.

 

The ensemble played a couple more pieces; ending with “Fish Wars,” a piece about tolerance, originating from bumper stickers of fish representing various ideas.

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