All that Jazz


Flutist Rafael Luna plays with the San Joaquin Delta College Jazz Ensemble during the group’s performance at the Jazz on the Mile event on Tuxedo Court and Pacific Avenue on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 200)

When I shot the Jazz on the Mile event in Stockton, I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Delta College Jazz Ensemble. They were good, really good.


Delta College Jazz band director Brian Kendrick, left, leads the San Joaquin Delta College Jazz Ensemble at the Jazz on the Mile event on Tuxedo Court and Pacific Avenue on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/5. ISO: 200)


Trombonist Grady Gardenhire plays a solo with the San Joaquin Delta College Jazz Ensemble during the group’s performance at the Jazz on the Mile event on Tuxedo Court and Pacific Avenue on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4.5. ISO: 200)

I had shot them several times in the past, but I as I listen to them, it dawned on me that I only heard them during rehearsals, usually in advance of an upcoming concert. At the practices I would hear portions of songs that they had only had played a few times before, or even for the first time. Inevitably there would be wrong notes here and there and band director Brian Kendrick would start and stop them as they learned the material. I never heard them sound like a cohesive unit.


Audience members applaud the performance of the San Joaquin Delta College Jazz Ensemble during at the Jazz on the Mile event on Tuxedo Court and Pacific Avenue on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 82mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 200)

The band was hot during their set at the Jazz on the Mile concert. They played as tight as any big band you might hear on public radio jazz stations KXJZ and KUOP. I was impressed by the band’s quality, particularly trombone soloist Grady Gardenhire and flutist Rafael Luna. And I wasn’t the only one. At the end of the band’s rousing and all-too-short set, the appreciative audience gave them a standing ovation.

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