‘All That Jazz’ concert was a smashing success

March 13, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

BY T MICHELE WALKER – The Friends of Boca Grande Community Center hit it out of the ballpark again with their March installment of “All That Jazz,” featuring Brandon Robertson. Robertson, a bassist, composer and music educator originally from Tampa, Florida, is a rising star on the upright and electric bass. 

 A Professor of Jazz Studies and Director of the FGCU Basketball Band at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Meyers, Florida, Robertson’s jazz ensemble consisted of James Suggs on trumpet, Zach Bartholomew on piano and Mark Feinman on drums.

The evening began with Debbie Frank taking the stage, welcoming the many audience members who were live, in the lawn and virtual, as she talked about the ticket presales for next year.  If next year’s season is anything like this season, the tickets should go quickly.

Robertson started off the concert with an original composition called “Janine,” a lovely piece he wrote in his freshman year at Florida State University. Followed by a tribute to Thelonius Monk in the swing style.

The personable Robertson was fascinating as he described the challenges of building his craft as a college student along with the obstacles all musicians have faced this past year with COVID-19 restrictions. 

“I know none of us, no musicians that I know, will ever take playing to people for granted again. Not after playing to blank walls for a year,” he said.  

The joy and enthusiasm in playing to the appreciative crowd was palpable.

The song “Lullaby for Noelle” was a song based on the first three notes that were first whistled by his young daughter, Noelle. This was followed by “Majestic Nights,” a song written on Robertson’s blackberry on a cruise ship in Barcelona. 

Coincidentally, “Majestic Nights” made one feel like they were floating on a cruise ship in Barcelona, as there is nothing that can take you away from your day-to-day quite like an excellent jazz concert.

For more on Brandon Robertson, visit brandonrobertsonmusic.com.