A chilly night with projections of snow did not keep UTD and Collin County jazz enthusiasts from attending the biannual Kelly Durbin & Friends performance on Feb. 13.
The performance turned out to be quite popular, attracting nearly 150 people to the Jonsson Performance Hall. Suffice to say, most of the crowd was significantly older than the average college student. But attendance certainly topped that of the Tom Morrell concert, which peaked at a dismal 30.
Other than teaching classes from jazz ensemble to musical theory, Kelly Durbin, Arts & Humanities professor, is a phenomenally soulful yet low-intensity jazz pianist.
But Durbin’s unusual bunch of friends certainly spiced things up.
Wayne Delano, on tenor saxophone, has performed with artists such as Chaka Kahn and Woody Herman. True to the style of the artists he has accompanied, he was quite a performer, hitting most of his high notes by bending over and putting his head between his knees. It was one of the more bizarre stage antics I have seen.
Karl Lampman, also on tenor saxophone, has performed with Rosemary Clooney and toured with the Barnum & Bailey Circus. His broad musical experience is apparent in his comfortable, easy-going style. His relatively mellow attitude contrasted well with Delano’s energy.
Dennis Durick, an inventive and impressive drummer, was intuitively connected to the grooves of a smooth bass player Carl Hillman.
The second set of the show consisted of love ballads performed by singer Peggy Lauren Lohr, who has performed in film and television. Armed with a saucy demeanor, she sang standards such as “Love For Sale” and “Shadow of Your Smile,” interjecting humorous comments throughout.
All together, they created a deliciously rich jazz sound. Even with the sharp musical stabs and rhythmic discord inherent to jazz, the performance was executed with style and expertise.