At the Jazz Alive! Show

(Excerpt from article from the Peterborough Transcript August 1, 2002 - Daniel Barlow)

Jazz Reflects Life, Feelings
The audience got a look into the world and sounds of jazz music and how it reflects back to their own lives. "Jazz is like life", Kolodny said, before the duo's first performance. He said his impromptu speech is similar to how he improvises when playing jazz music on his saxophone. "I'm making up the words as I go, just as I also make up the music as I go."

Pierce said, "Collaborating on jazz music is like having a conversation with another person." While Kolodny played his sax, Pierce listened to the tune and then responded by singing a string of nonsense words, while Kolodny put down his instrument and listened to her. The nonsense words, which sound like a human voice imitating an instrument, is a style called scat singing, explained Pierce. The style was created by jazz great Louie Armstrong when he couldn't remember the words to a song.

After their performance of the Gershwin tune, Summertime, Kolodny asked the audience what kind of feeling the music evoked for them. Calming, soothing, mellow, groovy and whimsical were all answers they recieved. "When we play jazz, we let all of our feelings go through the music," Kolodny said.

"Improvising and changing the tune is a large part of jazz music," Pierce said. "Playing jazz is like making a sandwich, with the bread being the tune and all the 'tasty stuff' inside the sandwich being the music that is made up in the moment. Just as a person may eat a different kind of sandwich each day, a jazz musician often changes the music around to reflect his or her mood. We'll change it around to reflect what we are feeling at the moment."


"To my absolute delight, the program was excellent and engaging, participatory throughout! Mike and Laura are accomplished, talented and very personable performers. They immediately connected with the audience and led us gently from conceptualizing (what does that song make you feel?) to keeping time to vocalizing and even drumming along! A confirmed non-singer, I left with the intention of signing up for jazz lessons, which I plan to act on today! I highly recommend this program for all ages."
   Linda Marsella, Director, Mariposa Museum, Peterborough, NH