By Cristin O’Connell
The Music Faculty Concert Series featured pianist Christopher Bakriges and bassist Jeff Fuller on Wednesday, March 14. The event was hosted by Director of Academic Music Programs, Joseph Carter.
M“The concert illustrated how a jazz performer’s life experiences can affect his music. The rhythms of the countries Chris had visited became an integral part of his original compositions and his interpretations of the Jazz standards he played,” said Carter.
According to his website, Bakriges is a pianist, composer and educator who was born in Detroit. Motown inspired him to make music as a way to express emotions, communication and social change. Bakriges attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. and graduated with a degree in world music and a degree in ethnomusicology from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Bakriges recently released an original album, “Clear and Present,” and has performed all over the world. He made his national debut at India’s Jazz Yatra Festival. Bakriges also performed in Turkey, France, Pakistan, England, the Czech Republic, and all throughout North America and Canada. He is an artist-in-residence at two Massachusetts schools, MassArt in Boston and Elms College in Chicopee.
“I could really sense the emotion that the pianist put into his original compositions,” said senior Britta Nordstrom. “His facial expressions showed how much he cares and loves his music and overall it was a really nice event to go to.”
According to his website, Fuller is a bassist who has toured worldwide and recorded with saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Paquito Rivera. In Sept. of 2014, Fuller was awarded the annual Jazz Haven Award.
Fuller also plays a Ken Smith six-string bass guitar and has played with many jazz masters with different styles and eras; including Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, Papa Jones, Gerry Mulligan and Clark Terry. He currently leads his own ensembles in multiple jazz venues.
“I was so baffled by the musicians. The pianist and bass players were phenomenal, and filled a room with sound from just two instruments,” said senior Frankie Scarano. “The solos were also exciting and really kept the viewer entertained. Overall, I loved the event and can’t wait to attend another.”
The concert was held in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The concert was free and open to the public, so the chapel was filled with many Sacred Heart students and members from the outside community to watch the concert.
Bakriges and Fuller played a total of seven songs. They opened up with a Chilean song and ended with a song called “Around Midnight.” They also played a song from the Walt Disney Classic, “Alice in Wonderland.”
Other songs included “A Field of Stars,” “Song for Peace,” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”
At the end of the concert, Bakriges had copies of his CD with him so anyone who attended the concert could go up and get one.
“I really enjoyed the concert, not only because the music was so pretty, but because I enjoyed learning about the background of both of the musicians,” said Nordstrom. “I thought it was really interesting and shocking how they both travelled so much and I never really realized how well known they both were.”