A Really Cool Concert

Columbus State University and Fort Benning Jazz Bands combine for a number in concert.

I almost got up and walked out of the Columbus State University Jazz Ensembles concert last night. Not because of the music, but because of the cold, drafty Studio Theater.  Actually, the Studio Theater was too small for the audience that showed up. The concert should have been in Legacy Hall, which could have comfortably handled it. Still, I couldn’t leave because the CSU band and the guest Fort Benning jazz band were just too good  to miss, especially when I saw “Jumping at the Woodside” on the program.  

The Count Basie  classic was listed at the end of the CSU Jazz Band’s program, but the band didn’t play it. I was really disappointed, but that was short-lived, because during the intermission when the Army band moved onto the stage, I asked some of the CSU bandsmen, “What happened to ‘Jumping at the Woodside?’ ”   They smiled, looking at one another because they were about give away the surprise ending to the concert, and said, “It’s going to be at the end.” With that information, I put up with the cold theater and stayed.  CSU probably keeps the theater chilly for the band. No doubt playing that high-energy music raises their body temperatures considerably. 

At the end of the concert,  just as I suspected,  the CSU and Army bands joined forces to play “Woodside.”  So instead of a great 18-piece band performance, we got a wonderful almost 30-piece band version that blew us all away. 

Teen Tavern Tooters, about 1947, Columbus, GA

The reason that the song meant so much to me is because we played it when I was a member of the Teen Tavern Tooters in the late forties.  The Teen Tavern Tooters 17-piece band was made up of Columbus, Baker, and Jordan High musicians. I played drums.  No, when we played the piece it certainly didn’t come up to the CSU-Fort Benning combined jazz band’s performance, but the teenage dancers at Teen Tavern, a non-alcoholic teen night club,  loved to jitterbug to it and always gave us a huge hand when we played it.   

The concert last night again illustrated what wonderful musical resources Fort Benning and Columbus State University provide Columbus. It also demonstrated again the value of the positive symbiotic relationship between the post and the Columbus area.  If you like jazz be sure to attend the concert next year…well, if it’s held in Legacy Hall.

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