Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Music department faculty showcase demonstrated talent of music instructors

Music department faculty members and students showcased their talent and penchant for jazz music alongside guest Yamaha artist and jazz pianist, Tamir Hendelman during the 2018 Jazz Showcase held in the Burnight Center Theater on Oct. 18.

The event was coordinated by music department chair, Andrew Maz in partnership with Yamaha music. A masterclass taught by Hendelman was held earlier that day, at 2 p.m.

With faculty Peter Buck on drums, Martin Torres playing bass, Michael Higgins on guitar, Jim Simmons on piano, alongside Hendelman, the group collectively played a total of two sets.

The three piece student jazz band, Mellowmania, played in-between the faculty set with their own set, comprised of popular songs arranged in a jazz style.

Mellowmania’s set was comprised of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” The Beatles’ “Come Together” and Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Though their entire set was well received by the audience, Mellowmania sent the audience into whoops and cheers with their jazz arrangement of “Come Together.” Especially when Buck nonchalantly made his entrance and accompanied the group on drums.

Commercial music major Angelo Acosta said, “I thought it was really good, I like jazz a lot, I guess you can’t get enough of that organic sound with these instruments anymore. I especially like “Come Together,” when the drummer [Buck] came in, it kept building up.”


Maz wanted to showcase the musical prowess with emphasis on jazz music.

Maz stated, “I figured that maybe it was time to see about getting our jazz faculty together and seeing what they can do so it was kind of an experiment.


“I think it was a great show, everyone had a good time and the performers had a good time, which is always really important.”

Sets played by faculty and Hendelman, were comprised predominantly of the Yamaha artist Hendelman’s original compositions.


Hendelman stated, “We talked about it [arrangemnet of the set] back and forth, but I suggested a couple of my originals and a couple arrangements, Dr. Maz suggested that I do a couple of solo numbers and then he told me about the student group and we kind of just took it from there trying to vary the instrumentation a little bit from sound to sound.”

The last song played, “Days of Wine and Roses,” was suggested by pianist and faculty member Jim Simmons.


Hendelman stated, “Jim Simmons had a nice suggestion for a song that I ended up arranging so that was fun, everybody really prepared well for the concert, including the students and it was a nice presentation, I thought.”

Torres, who played bass, explained how he first became interested in music.


Torres stated, “I like music and I started playing the guitar and my teacher basically taught me songs that he was playing in his band and then one day he had me go to a rehearsal with him and he says, ‘why don’t you play this next set?’ So I played the same songs and then the band said, ‘yeah ,he’s good enough.’

“He was auditioning me because he was leaving the group, so that’s when I started playing I didn’t even realize he was auditioning me, and ever since then, I just liked being around musicians. I liked being around the whole creative kind of thing, that’s what brought me into jazz is that it’s totally creative, very spontaneous, very improvised music, but that’s why jazz is my favorite music.”


Torres went on to state what he thought of working with Hendelman, “In terms of like artistic things, Tamir [Hendelman] is very gracious about how he dictates what it is he wants and he leaves room to individuals to basically contribute.”

Hendelman said, “It was a joy to play with the faculty and students, and to bump with all friends that I haven’t seen in a long time, such as Mike Higgins, Peter Buck.


“It’s interesting how sometimes you make a friend with somebody by performing one show with them and then it’s such a nice connection that you feel like your best friends, you may not see each other for 20 more years, but when you see them again, it feels like it was yesterday.

Proceeds from the showcase’s ticket sales will be used to fund the music department.

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Music department faculty showcase demonstrated talent of music instructors