“Turquoise,” an original composition by Reed Gratz, filled Founders Auditorium Thursday night as the Reed Gratz band took the stage. Guitarist Michael O’Neill and bassist Baba Elefante accompanied Gratz on the piano along with Bobby Dominguez on drums. More than 50 people attended the concert.
The Reed Gratz Trio transformed Founders Auditorium into a jazz club with a hip vibe on Tuesday night.
Gratz, a music professor at University of La Verne, is the mastermind behind the compositions performed by the band. Gratz puts on these concerts annually as a way to entertain students, faculty and La Verne residents. He also has been teaching music at ULV since 1977.
The show had a relatively good turnout of more than 50 people.
The audience clearly enjoyed the performance and showed their enthusiasm by clapping after a spectacular composition in each song as well as after the songs.
“As much as I hate to steal, it seems to work well if I just patch different compositions together,” Gratz said.
The Reed Gratz Trio consisted of Reed Gratz on piano, Baba Elefante on bass, Bobby Dominguez on drums and Michael O’Neill on guitar.
Although O’Neill was not expected to play with the group on Tuesday, he was fortunate enough to be able to make it to the show.
“Since he was here, we just allowed him to play,” Gratz said.
Gratz shared with the audience that there was a Webcam set up on stage with a view of the whole band so that his wife, who is currently in Amsterdam with their five-year-old son, could see the performance live.
The band played a set of eight songs that were each about five minutes long. The songs performed in the concert were compositions pieced together by Gratz.
One song was taken from sections of a song by an Austrian pop singer, while other songs were taken from several other composed pieces from famous artists.
“I was overwhelmed by the power of Reed’s compositions and I loved Bobby Dominguez on the drums,” Al Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs and professor of humanities, said.
Clark said that he had been watching Gratz play for over 20 years and that it is always a treat to watch his bands perform at the University.
The Trio performed songs entitled “Turquoise” and “Staying Alive,” and Gratz shared a story behind each title relating to different experiences he has had with his wife and son.
“It is always difficult to put busy musicians together,” Gratz said.
The musicians were able to practice and ready themselves for the performance separately, since it was too difficult for them to meet together.
Gratz sent the four band members sheet music through PDF files in e-mails. Gratz joked about Dominguez using e-mail.
“We actually got Bobby to use the computer,” Gratz said. “Now we’ve got him up to the 1980s.”
Their individual practices seemed unnoticeable since they performed so well together. Each member smiled at each other as they were playing and they clearly enjoyed each other’s company on stage.
O’Neill’s love for music was definitely apparent through his talent. He grooved along with the guitar and played with enthusiasm. You could see his passion for playing guitar.
“This show was very well put together,” Brian Jones, a concert attendee said.
After the show was over, many audience members swarmed Gratz to acknowledge his performance.
The Reed Gratz Band will play in Founders Auditorium again at 8 p.m. on April 17 and April 24. However, special guest Mike Bennet, a former ULV student, will be playing drums with the band on April 17.
Admission for the concert is $5, but is free for seniors over the age 65 and students.
The Reed Gratz band also played at Gali’s Piano Bar in Rancho Cucamonga Wednesday night.
For updates on when the band is playing, go to www.lajazz.com.
Jaclyn Mittman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.