Lewis & Clark College
Is That Jazz?
Michael Severson Piano Recital
Sunday 3 April | 7:30 pm
Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Portland, Oregon


First Published on Apr 11, 2016

"The Place That We Call Home" is a tune that I started humming to myself while studying abroad in London two years ago. It's based off a rising melodic line that is split in two different registers, which I always heard as some kind of two-voice duet. The initial idea remained dormant until this year. After playing with two great horn players – Stan and Dylan – I was reinspired to bring the tune to life.

Hank Mobley was a hard bop tenor saxophone player. His tune "The Feelin's Good" was written in 1963 for the album of the same name, which featured Donald Byrd on trumpet and Herbie Hancock on piano. It's a bit of a quirky minor blues but is a very fun tune to play with a quintet. It alternates back and forth between a spacious melodic line and a hard swinging groove.

Michael Severson is from Orinda, California in the East Bay area. He began exploring music in high school, playing guitar and singing in choir. Since coming to Lewis & Clark, he has pursued many musical paths. He has studied composition, guitar, voice, and conducting, all of which greatly influence his playing. He currently studies jazz piano with Randy Porter and classical piano with Susan Smith, and he will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, with a focus on performance. Michael also remains dedicated to singing in multiple choirs and a cappella groups and continues to pursue his passion for teaching music. He is especially grateful for the travel experiences he has had while at Lewis & Clark, from singing in Egypt and Hawaii with the Cappella Nova choir to his studies abroad in London, England.

Firstly, I would like to thank my trio and quintet for being such great collaborators and helping bring this music to life. I also want to express unending gratitude to my piano teachers Randy Porter and Susan Smith, for being huge inspirations and guiding forces in my study of music. Thanks to Dan Balmer, Jeff Leonard, and other members of the LC Jazz program, for always pushing me to explore and improve my playing. I owe a big thanks to Katherine FitzGibbon, who has been an amazing advisor, conductor, and life-coach during my time at Lewis & Clark. Thanks to Susan Nunes, who has helped pull all the logistics together. A huge thanks goes out to all my supportive friends – Adriana, Louis, Ted, Michael, Bailey, and Coco, to name a few. I also want to include the entire music faculty, all my fellow music majors, singers in Cappella Nova, and members of Section Line Drive. And of course I am incredibly grateful to my loving family, who has always supported me wholeheartedly.

Michael Severson, piano; Stan Fonseca, trumpet; Dylan Stringer, alto saxophone; Jonah Svihus, bass; Steven Skolnik, drums

Eight channels of audio were recorded in this two camera shoot Sunday, April 3, 2016 in Agnes Flanagan Chapel on the Lewis and Clark campus, Portland Oregon.

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