Junior Creative Editor
Four-piece gypsy-jazz jive group C.C.Vagabonds surprised the audience with an enjoyable style at the BTC auditorium last Thursday.
C.C Vagabonds incorporates difficult improvisation between their pieces. “We’re really into the more spontaneous thing,” violinist Colin McCoy said.
As soon as C.C. Vagabonds started their performance, I felt a feeling of joy throughout the auditorium. Their performance was divided between songs with vocals, and instrumental pieces. The crowd favorites were those that consisted of vocals, especially their cover of Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing, if it Ain’t Got That Swing.” McCoy and bassist Mike Jenkins had a back-and-forth scat battle during the song, making this a high point of the performance.
The band finds space during their songs to incorporate frequent improvisational solos for the violin, guitar, and bass. “Like jamming between [guitarist Zack Cohen] and me, the various instruments and just sort of improvising on the spot,“ McCoy said.
The highlight of C.C Vagabonds performance was without a doubt when McCoy played a surprise instrument for the audience. “I carry tools in my violin case,” said McCoy, as he pulled a hand saw out of his case. McCoy then took the bow from his violin, and proceeded to make hauntingly beautiful sounds from the saw. The hand saw, which in music is called a musical saw, can be used as an instrument that sounds similar to a theremin.
Of the musicians, the best physical performer was Jenkins, who had consistent facial expression throughout the entire set. He had a clear emotional connection while performing, and it showed as he played his double bass.
One of the biggest problems with their performance was Jenkins’s vocal diction (the use of exaggeration on vowels to make your words clearer). During their performance of “Dina”, Jenkins, who did vocals for the piece, used little to no vocal diction. This led to nearly every word of the song being hard to understand.
Stylistically, the band have a very intriguing sound. Despite occasional prominent tempo issues during songs, the show was still easily enjoyable.
What makes C.C. Vagabonds special as a group is how well they blend together. Unless someone is doing a solo, you don’t hear a single instrument overpowering the rest of the group. Musical blend can be difficult to achieve the less musicians you have because it is easy to for a single instrument to overpower the group, but, the band maintains a constant blend with no instrument overpowering another.
The interesting sound of C.C. Vagabonds left the auditorium with overwhelming good vibes and a feel-good energy.