Sharing Jazz

The Williams Jazz Ensemble Five O’clock Shadow never passes up the opportunity for a jam session—especially when its members can inspire a younger audience and share the spontaneity and excitement of live, improvised music.

Williams Jazz Ensemble Five O'clock Shadow
Photo by Stephanie Owyang '13

“Jazz has gotten a reputation in recent times as being a ‘dying’ art form,” says Robert Pasternak ’11, a music and philosophy double major. “I think the future of jazz lies in how we introduce it to young listeners. I always get a deep satisfaction from showing people who are unfamiliar with jazz just how fascinating and beautiful the music can be.”

Five O’clock Shadow recently played for students at Williamstown Elementary School. “I think the outreach is good for the students, good for the community, and good for exposing the larger world to our program,” says director Andy Jaffe. His jazz ensembles have been reaching out to the community for many years—playing not only at the elementary school, but also at Sweetwood, a nearby independent-living community, and in jazz festivals in the wider region.

Five O'clock Shadow members with WES students
Photo by Stephanie Owyang '13

Biology major Geoffrey Rodriguez ’11, who teaches jazz trumpet to two elementary school students, adds, “My older brother was a professional musician. I remember going to his jazz concerts when I was in elementary school and being really inspired. Through concerts like this, I hope I can play a role in inspiring a new generation of jazz musicians and jazz enthusiasts.”

Five O’clock Shadow members are: Aspen L. Jordan ’11, voice; Jonathan J. Morgenstern ’11, bass; Robert S. Pasternak ’11, piano; Christopher P. Picardo ’13, tenor saxophone; Brad M. Polsky ’12, alto saxophone; Andrew C. Quinn ’13, tenor saxophone; Geoffrey H. Rodriguez ’11, trumpet; Daniel G. Schwartz ’13, guitar; and Charles H. Sellars ’13, drums.