Lee Hall swings during ‘Late Night Show’

Vocalist Ciamara Smith singing “Almost Like Being In Love.” Photo courtesy Mikiyah Everett

Technical difficulties occurred at Thursday’s “Late Night Show” concert, staged by the Florida A&M University Jazz Ensemble & Guests. However, that didn’t stop the show from continuing. There were saxophones, bass guitars, trumpets, and more filling all of Lee Hall.

The Jazz Ensemble came on stage and before the concert began the director, Robert Griffin, told the audience that participation would be necessary. The concert’s theme was a late-night show, so there were cue cards for the audience to laugh, cheer, applaud and snap.

Anthony Hayes, assistant show director, said the idea behind the cue cards and how there were issues with the microphones at sound check.

“The cue cards were used to emulate a studio environment like ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,’ to mimic a studio audience,” Hayes said. “Yes, there were difficulties at sound check as well, but I’m not sure what was going on, it was working beforehand.”

Though some of the microphones were defective, the FAMU Jazz Ensemble sounded amazing. The first vocalist was Siana Hayden singing “A Foggy Day” by George Gershwin. Her loud voice carried throughout the auditorium and set the tone for the rest of the concert.

Each vocalist had a mini-interview with the host, Fred Lee, before they performed their song. Lee would ask a few questions about their background in singing and have them introduce the song they were performing. It definitely felt like an actual late-night show.

The ensemble executed different selections such as “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” by Herbie Hancock and “I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder. A special treat for the audience was when the FAMU Jazz Faculty joined the rest of the ensemble and performed “Moanin’” by Charles Mingus.

The auditorium could have had more seats filled but the crowd that came seemed happy to be there. They were cheering and applauding even without the cue cards. There were students there showing support to friends while others went to gain the experience for the first time.

A FAMU student new to the jazz world, Alana Masslieno, said she would have liked the concert a bit more if she could hear the vocalists better due to their microphones being lower than the band.

“I don’t really listen to jazz music but for my first time I enjoyed it and they were really good,” Masslieno said. “I wish the microphones were louder because the band was so loud it overpowered some of the vocalists and we could barely hear them.”

DaVinaye Flowers, a FAMU nursing student, said she was there to support a friend in the jazz ensemble.

“I love jazz music,” Flowers said. “It’s always a plus to be able to support my friends too, it makes me proud.”

Toward the end of the “Late Night Show,” Griffin spoke about the FAMU Jazz Ensemble’s upcoming trip to New Orleans and encouraged audience members to donate to fund their trip.

“If you like what you heard, help us out,” Griffin said. “Text FAMUJAZZ to 41444 to donate and help.”

The FAMU Jazz Ensemble ended its Late Night Show with a song by Dizzy Gillespie and some of the band members got a chance to do a mini solo with their instrument.