Stevie Wonder wakes up the Dazzle crowd

Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra Plays Stevie

The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra, also known as CJRO, performed new music from their CD recording project of Stevie Wonder favorites called “Overjoyed.” Consisting of Colorado’s premier professional jazz artists and musicians, the show at Dazzle on the night of Sept. 13 was no disappointment. From the trumpets, to the saxes, to the trombones, the piano, guitar, and bass, the CJRO filled the Baur’s Bar with joyous music and applause. The rhythm of such instruments flowed tremendously well together, creating a melody that was so pure and powerful that all the audience wanted to do was dance their hearts away.

The sound of music created throughout the show when all instruments played at the same time was astounding. Yet those weren’t the parts that were most impressive. The solos performed midway through the progression of music deserve a lot of high praise. Members of the orchestra, such as guitarist Mike Abbott, trumpeter Gabe Mervine, trombonist Paul McKee, and pianist Eric Gunnison stole the spotlight at the climax of a song or session of music. For example, Paul McKee had many solo spotlights once a song reached its climax. Mervine performed his solo as the chorus for a session of music because it was the climax, filling the room with the sound of his trumpet. As they began to play, the rest of the instruments synchronized, creating a low and mellow tempo backbeat so that their sound may stand out above the rest.

The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra wails. Photo credit: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

Female vocalist Heidi Schmidt and male vocalist Robert Johnson carried smooth, even vocals throughout the show. Schmidt performed first, and her vocal range was astounding. She sang with such emotion, always with a smile on her face as she swayed her body to the melody. At one moment, it was just her and guitarist Mike Abbott performing; the sound of her voice and the beat of the guitar blended in so well, sounding almost pitch perfect. Johnson came in midway through the show to follow up Heidi with a performance of his own. Robert sang a solo with pianist Eric Gunner, exemplifying a calm and soothing melody to the audience. He then performed with the full might of the orchestra and the deep tones of his vocals brought a nice balance to the light of the music.

The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra played exceptional music and brought head nods, foot tapping, and shoulder swaying to the audience with their mixture of different musical instruments. The way that they merged together, how the musicians played as a synchronized whole, created an atmosphere unlike one that could be felt at a rap or hip hop show. It, instead, presented an inspiring atmosphere, where everyone was stress free, happy, and calm. It was an enjoyable experience to be able to listen to the talented musicians of the CJRO.

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