• As the first strains of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Tanga” drifted out over a series of al fresco dinner tables at Neighborhood Music School, Brian Wallace inched toward the front of the stage, his trumpet pressed to his lips with some urgency. A trilling rang out, followed by that loping Gillespie strain that is so overwhelmingly pleasant, then impossible to tear your ears away from.

    Audience members shimmied — hesitantly first, then not hesitantly at all — and shook just a little from their chairs, sinking into a sensual jazz rhythm that felt at once deeply familiar and refreshing. It really was summer, several members of the audience seemed to agree with their in-chair dance steps. Even the aural landscape had gotten on board.

    As pundits several states away declared the words twilight and sparkle to wiggle out of a certain episode of plagiarism, the New Haven-based Goza Latin Jazz Band was making magic of an entirely different kind Tuesday night, kicking off the Neighborhood Music School‘s first Twilight Tuesdays concert of the season.

  • Back for its 16th year in a row with new acts, NMS’ summer twilight concert series aspires to build on the organization’s robust history of engaging with the community by opening up its Audubon Street doors and taking the musical party outside. Whatever the fervent, fluttering mad pace of the world — and let’s face it, it’s kind of insane right now — the concerts are a sort of musical hiding place. They wrap themselves around the notion that they, or the music they conjure up from the ground and onto the NMS’ cheery outdoor stage, are responsible for the one thing that they can control: a joy that roots itself firmly in music making and the conversation that it spurs.

    Goza personified the joy from which the group draws its name. Playing under a pale blue sky, with just the hint of a breeze, members were in full form, delving deep into pieces before coming up for applause.

  • A view of Goza from the crowd's vantage point.

    The Gillespie number had New Haven’s own jazz legend Jesse Hameen closing his eyes and grinning as he joined the group. Dean Martin’s sway, performed with equal parts soul and sauciness from a guest vocalist, had Wallace and sax player Jeff Taylor making sultry moves between parts, while percussionist Asher Delerme whooped in the back. An indefatigable Matt Dwonszyk was totally one with his bass while band leader Dave Giardina saved his broadest, most soulful smiles for an original composition, performed to head-bobbing audience members early in the evening.

    It was more than the fact that they couldn’t not have a good time. They seemed determined to have an exceptionally fun one, that they could share with a crowd already feeling the workweek’s toll. Dancing, though few in the audience partook, was explicitly encouraged. Smiles were too, and they spread quickly through a wine-warmed crowd as 7 p.m. turned into 8 p.m., and then 9. Goza’s practiced musicians displayed how to move and clap along with the beat, keeping time, and responded when audience members did. No wonder, then, that almost everyone went home smiling long after twilight had turned to dark, and the concert’s magic, still palpable, had ended for the night.

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    SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2018

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    Waterbury, CT 06708

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  • GOZA IN THE NEWS

    GOZA MAKES MAGIC AT TWILIGHT

    As the first strains of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Tanga” drifted out over a series of al fresco dinner tables at Neighborhood Music School, Brian Wallace inched toward the front of the stage, his trumpet pressed to his lips with some urgency. A trilling rang out, followed by that loping [...]

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