This past week on Tuesday October 1, Rollins College held its Jazz Series: Moving Forward concert. The program featured original pieces by Rollins Alum Chris Rottmayer. The concert was a result of Rollins College Hamilton Holt School’s Student-Faculty Collaboration Grant Program. The collaboration was a joint effort of faculty professor Dr. Daniel Crozier, Professor of Music, and Rottmayer. The compositions were officially described as “long form original jazz pieces written using concert music forms.”
As far as professional musical framework goes, Rottmayer has been an Adjunct Faculty member at USF since ’07, and currently is a Graduate Assistant in the Jazz Studies Department while working towards his MM in Jazz Composition with Professor Chuck Owen. Since 1998, Rottmayer has been an active musician in the Central Florida area performing with the Bach Festival Orchestra of Winter Park, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and Walt Disney World, as well freelancing in both Orlando and Tampa.
Rottmayer’s pieces were of stellar and stirring magnitude with the performance done by masterly endowed musicians Rottmayer (piano), Rollins College professor Chuck Archard (electric bass), Keith Wilson (drums), John DePaola (trumpet/flugelhorn), and Dan Jordan (saxophone/flute). Each and every single piece that was performed that night elicited whistles and cheers from the prodigious audience in attendance. Rottamayer’s music took you on a ride through a harmonic garden that cascaded through your veins and pulsed resonance in your blood. His second piece that was performed, “Chaconne,” opened up with an airy ambience as the melody led in eerily smooth and precise.
Overall, the piece has the feeling of gliding as if swinging you back and forth alongside the equator where the ocean and sky meet. The performers were drenched in class and cascaded the stage with their presence. A bass, piano, drum moment in the piece elicited a “woo-ed” reaction from the audience. The musicians communicated with one another and were engaging with not only each other but the audience and gave light to one another during solos.
Rottmayer’s “Jazz Tune # 1” immediately set an unparalled precedent for entrances with the drumming rattling greatness within ear drums and the tenor sax solo evolving the piece to a awe sounding creation. “Fade In,” another piece of Rottmayer’s, was just as beautiful and alluring as the others and written in a rounded binary form. “Waltz for Julia” reflected just as much refinement as whom the piece was written for, ending with his piece “Sonata” reassured Rottmayer’s elegance and charm as a musician and composer and this concert a treat of delicacy. A great composer of Rollins very own and an equally talented set of musicians added up to a memorable and tremendous concert.