The U.S. Navy’s Commodores jazz ensemble performs “Cry Me A River,” with Musician 1st Class Casey Elliott on voice. Ilissa Gilmore Photo
The U.S. Navy’s Commodores jazz ensemble delivered a spirited performance showcase Friday night at Pearson Auditorium.
With a count of “1, 2 — 1, 2, 3, 4!” the band launched into lively renditions of swing and big band standards, including works by jazz legends Stan Kenton and Count Basie, as well as original compositions.
The pieces featured solo performances from each member of the 17-piece ensemble, which included trumpets, trombones, saxophones, drums, guitar, piano and bass.
Musician 1st Class Casey Elliott also performed with the band, lending her powerful voice to classics such as “Cry Me A River.”
For more than 40 years, the Commodores have entertained audiences at home and abroad and have worked with artists such as Ray Charles, James Moody and Branford Marsalis.
The group embarks on a national tour every year. This was their first year coming to New Mexico and Roswell was the second city visited, both in the state and on tour.
Capt. Bill Lamb, NMMI regimental bandmaster, said the Institute was fortunate to have been selected as one of the venues after a year-long application process.
He said he wanted to bring the band to Roswell because it’s “a very patriotic area.”
“Military bands are ambassadors for their service,” he said. “It’s important to support them.
“These guys are world-class; they’re outstanding. They’re some of the finest musicians in the world.”
The performance was well received by the audience, who applauded and cheered often. As attendees passed Lamb after the show, they stopped to thank him.
“It was amazing to have something of this caliber come to Roswell,” said Susan Moore, NMMI instructor. “I love that it shows our cadets opportunities that they can have. They’re up there doing what they love.”
After the performance, the band stayed behind to talk with cadets. Freshman Stanley Kioko used the opportunity to get some pointers on upright bass playing.
As a bass player of three years, Kioko said he enjoyed hearing the instrument featured prominently. For him, the night was special because it was the first time he’d seen a band perform live in concert.
“They all sound like one band, one instrument,” he said.