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Sunday grooves with Latin beats

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Michelle Nunez
Staff Writer

Faculty members and students grooved along with the Latin jazz rhythms from Reed Gratz on piano on Sunday night in Morgan Auditorium.

Accompanying him on stage was fellow music faculty member Steve Alaniz on saxophone and University of La Verne students David Vorobyov playing bass and Phillip Greenwood on drums.

The musicians started the performance with the song titled, “Toca con la Manana,” which is translated to, “Playing for Tomorrow.”

The classical tradition of jazz music vibrated through walls of the Morgan auditorium.

“The music was great, thoroughly enjoyable, my favorite song was “Living on Water,” Debbie Dee, 2003 University of La Verne alumni, said. “That’s when I really started getting into it.”

“I always come to these performances with my husband,” La Verne resident Maria Martinez said.

“The musicians are amazing, the rhythm is never the same.”

The audience members bobbed their heads and tapped their feet to the beat and drums of the music.

“The only downside to tonight’s performance was that there was not enough people in the audience to enjoy the free quality music, it had great dynamics,” Angela Hornaday, La Verne resident said.

“I really enjoyed Reed Gratz playing the 1974 fender; it has an authentic sound to it.”

The Latin jazz that was performed throughout the night was snappy and had a harmonic language of jazz combined with rhythms of Latin America.

“I thought it was different, I like a variety of music,” freshman music major Mirranda O’neal said. “I am in music appreciation classes and I came to check it out.”

The two students that were in the performance were asked to participate by Gratz.

“It was a great show, I was pleased with the performance,” Phillip Green­wood, sophomore music major, said.

“I showed Dr. Gratz a video of me playing the drums and he wanted me to come to the university,” Greenwood said.

“Everybody is talented; piano players, singers, bass plays and many others.”

“I like that the university is small, it allows me to do combo performances, I can get with the professors and perform with them,” sophomore biology major David Vorobyov said.

“Music is a passion that I like to do,” Vorobyov said.

Some songs included “Toca con la Mañana,” “The Humble Climb,” and “Yo Quiero el Pulpito,” all original songs of Gratz.

The hot keyboard and piano stood out from each song played. Each piece was fresh and diverse with up and down tempo beats.

Each musician skillfully handled their instruments completing the Latin Jazz music making the music logical and fun.

The audience graciously applauded after each song.

The next free concert will be this Sunday and will feature Danielle Cummins on violin, Benjamin Coyte on cello and Kevin Mills on piano in Morgan Auditorium.

Michelle Nunez can be reached at

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