Jazz at the Station: WSU Combo

The Weber State University Jazz Combo had its turn at the spotlight during Wednesday night’s Jazz at the Station performance.

The Jazz Combo is made up five students, with Lex Meldrum on sax, Gordon Greenwood on guitar, Casey Wood on piano and vocals, Spencer Howe on bass, and Bobby Gilgert on drums. WSU’s Jazz at the Station is a series of concerts, happening on the second Wednesday of every month at the Union Station in Ogden, in which university music students or specially invited local musicians come to perform. Performances are free and open to all ages with the majority of the performers coming from the Ogden area.

During Wednesday’s performance, the Combo was joined on stage by Donald Keipp, who leads both the Jazz Combo and the Jazz Ensemble at WSU. Although Keipp does not join in on performances often, he says he likes to play with them from time to time and mostly to fill out the sound. Keipp played the vibraphone, a xylophone-like instrument that gives off a distinct, vibrating sound.

Like the Jazz Ensemble’s performances, many new selections were performed. Keipp said this was so audience members who may have already seen the Combo perform could get a chance to hear new pieces. This was also beneficial to the members of the Combo, so that they didn’t perform the same songs repeatedly.

About 140 people gathered to hear the Jazz Combo perform, and just like the concert series intended, the age range of the audience was varied. When Keipp asked if any WSU students were in attendance, several audience members raised their hands and admitted to being there to complete assignments for classes.

Keipp notes that the audience at the Union Station is distinct from audiences at WSU.

“At the Union Station, we always get a different crowd,” Keipp says. “They love this event because they bring in a variety of musicians. I see some of the same faces coming back.”

Diane Gladwell is one of those familiar faces. Gladwell, who has seen the Jazz Combo as well as the Jazz Ensemble perform, says she enjoys attending the Jazz at the Station concerts.

“I’ve been coming to the concerts for about two to three years,” Gladwell said. “I like that they’re free; that’s one of the best parts.”

When the Jazz Combo performs on campus, it usually gets to do so in the middle of the Jazz Ensemble concert. Keipp says that for those concerts, the audience is there for one specific reason. Casey Wood, who plays the piano and occasionally lends his vocals to songs, agrees with Keipp in noticing that Union Station audiences differ from WSU’s.

“These people come because they want to hear jazz, and the people at Weber State come because they’re our parents,” Wood said.

It’s easy to see how much the Union Station audience enjoys jazz. When nearing the end of the performance, Keipp asked the audience if the Combo could play some more, to which an audience member enthusiastically replied, “Keep going!”

Jazz at the Station concerts are held on the second of Wednesday of every month in the Union Station Grand Lobby. Concerts are free and open to all ages.