Cool cats’ gig entertains audience

Ted Edeson and Steve Biondo play bass and drums for the jazz group OrganiZm in Morgan Auditorium. Gayle Serdan (not pictured) completed the trio on Hammond B3 Organ. Edeson, Biondo and Serdan all graduated from the University. / photo by Julian Burrell

Erum Jaffrey
Staff Writer

The sound of bass, drums, and organ reverberated throughout Morgan Auditorium, getting the audience to clap their hands in unison last Friday.

Professors by day, performers by night, jazz trio OrganiZm performed a funk and soul concert consisting of Gale Serdan on the Hammond B3 Organ, Ted Edeson on bass, and Steve Biondo on drums.

The night began with a warm welcome from the audience of about 80 and a “Happy Good Friday everybody” by Edeson.

The trio entertained the audience with ten songs of their choice by covering artists such as Al Green, Slide Hampton and Thelonious Monk all with soul, jazz and funk rhythms.

“Our band is actually only a month and a half old, but our overall cohesion as a unit was better than the last couple of weeks of rehearsing,” Edeson said.

They played original pieces as well, with funky names such as “Spank Tank” and “Alligator Boogaloo.”

“My favorite number was definitely Spank Tank, because it got you up and following the beat,” said Lyndsey Ortega, Etiwanda High School freshman.

Other original pieces were “Time” by Serdan, a more mellow piece, and “Abedon” by Biondo, which had a middle-eastern tone to it.

“Our personal compositions come from a variety of genres,” Edeson said.

The audience was filled with mainly Etiwanda High School students and parents.

“Though I came here for extra credit for my English and piano class, I would totally go to another jazz concert like this because I find this music so entertaining,” said Felisa Monroy, Etiwanda High School freshman.

Many of the songs featured solos, which were initiated as each member of the trio nodded their heads and kept the rhythm going.

“Most of our solos are actually completely improvised,” Edeson said.

“In an effort to do the songs in our own individual way, the beginnings and endings are always different than the recordings.”

The trio had no problem making the audience feel comfortable, virtually placing them in an almost exclusive jazz-club setting.

“Right now we’re just trying to play as many times as we can publicly, add more songs to the set and eventually have recording in mind,” Edeson said.

The trio are all University of La Verne alumni, with Serdan and Biondo as current professors at the University.

Serdan teaches 20th Century American Jazz Culture and Jazz History at the University and Music Appreciation and Piano Lab at Etiwanda High School.

Biondo is the manager of Morgan Auditorium and teaches West African Drumming.

Edeson is an independent musician and has performed award-winning performances in the Reno Jazz Festival.

“Funk and soul has a tendency to rely heavily on 12 bar blues forms and our goal will be to introduce more substitutions and a more varied soul technique outside of just the blues and pentatonic scales,” Edeson said.

Erum Jaffrey can be reached at

Related articles


Campus and community arts events for the week of April 6, 2018.

Zhao tells stories with piano

Sundays at the Morgan this month featured the La Verne Artist-in-Residence Grace Zhao. She performed a solo piano concert with six sets of pieces composed by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and more Friday in Morgan Auditorium.


Campus and community arts events for the week of April 10, 2015.

Recital presents Hispanic heritage

Songs and arias from Spain and Latin America about love, culture, homeland and loss were sung with passion and pride at the Fridays at Noon faculty recital last Friday in Morgan Auditorium in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Exit mobile version