Jazz Quartet Makes Debut

When three jazz musicians auditioned as part of the hiring process to become jazz faculty at Oakland University in fall 2009, Mark Stone, special instructor of world music, often joined them.

The four of them enjoyed playing together so much they decided to form a jazz quartet. They’ll be making their campus debut Saturday at 8 p.m. in Varner Recital Hall. The concert is free.

Stone, who plays vibraphone and steel drums, will be joined by: Miles Brown, bassist and director of jazz studies; Sean Dobbins, jazz drummer and artist-in residence; and Tad Weed, jazz piano instructor.

The two-hour concert will consist of a Cole Porter tune and some solo Duke Ellington songs performed by Weed.

In addition to those and other jazz standards, the quartet will be playing a few originals composed by Stone.

“One is a ballad dedicated to my fiancé,” Stone said. “Another is a quirky swing tune inspired by crazy night at a Detroit club.  And the third piece is a steel drum tune drawing on Caribbean melodies and African rhythms.”

Miles, originally from New York, also wrote some compositions that Stone described as reflective of the downtown jazz scene there.

One of Brown’s songs, “Phaedrus,” is in 5/4 time with an ostinato bass line, meaning it’s short and repeated throughout.

The group has played off campus before at high schools and other colleges in the area as a way to recruit and promote OU’s jazz and world music programs.

They hope to perform at OU again this spring, but nothing is official as of yet.