The Beatles are back with Taylor’s Jazz Ensemble
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The Beatles are back

Taylor’s Jazz Ensemble brings on the 1960s in their upcoming concert

Department chair and professor of music Al Harrison remembers when he first heard the Beatles like it was yesterday. (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

Department chair and professor of music Al Harrison remembers when he first heard the Beatles like it was yesterday. (Photograph by Abigail Roberts)

By Abigail Roberts | Echo

This coming Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Taylor’s jazz ensemble will be presenting a tribute to the legacy of one band: the Beatles.

Inspired by history and motivated by quality, Al Harrison, department chair and professor of music, decided to highlight this year’s 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ album ‘‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’’

Imagine Harrison, 12 years old, leaning in close to a black and white screen, watching the Beatles sing their iconic song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” for the first time on United States television. Outside of the months of band practice, Harrison spent countless hours this summer researching the true impact of the Beatles on modern music.

“They were highly innovative, which is (something) most people don’t remember,” Harrison said. “They pushed the whole (music) technology ahead with what they were doing. . . . I remember like it was yesterday;  it was a wild time.”

Current Taylor students would not remember, but the ’60s were tumultuous times. As America was rocked by the Vietnam War, the feminist movement and the sexual revolution, “Beatlemania,” as it was called, could not have come at a better time. One of the non-Beatles songs, “Theme from New York, New York,” arranged by Roy Phillippe, is attributed to where the Beatles began their American career on the Ed Sullivan show.

The majority of the pieces were arranged by Mike Tomaro, a Pittsburgh native and saxophonist, composer and arranger. Tomaro is also a professor at Duquesne University.

As the last notes of “We Can Work it Out,” from the “My Love” album, featuring senior Gardner Stewart on tenor sax , echo through Rediger Auditorium, audience members will have viewed historic clips of the Beatles, gained greater insight into the wayward “Land of Make Believe” and basked in the rays of “Here Comes the Sun.”

The musicians of the Jazz Ensemble will draw audience members both young and old into the Beatles’ timeless legacy.

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