Bob Marley tribute gets Berklee jammin’

Bob Marley tribute gets Berklee jammin’

By Brendan Gupta

As part of Black History Month’s Music Celebration 2006, Berklee College of Music presented its annual Bob Marley Ensemble under the direction of assistant professor and musician Matt Jenson. The event took place Monday at 8:15 p.m., drawing its largest crowd, 550 people since its first tribute presentation in 2002.

The ensemble consisted of 14 Berklee students enrolled in the performance study class, “The Music and Life of Bob Marley.” The teachings focus on Marley’s values and the study of his music.

“Bob Marley’s music wasn’t romantic,” Jenson said. “It’s a real reality.”

Marley’s music represents a powerful movement with a powerful message, Jenson said.

The band began with a rendition of “Trenchtown Rock” followed by others like “Lively Up Yourself” and “Jammin’.”

While the music played, the audience danced and the only people who remained seated were those playing instruments.

Intermissions broke up the musical presentation to show pictures of Jenson’s recent trips to Ghana, where he was involved with the Africa Unite 2006 campaign alongside Marley’s wife, Rita, and many of his sons.

Jenson reflected on the power of Black History Month and the overwhelming effect of the African slave trade.

He said he began directing the Marley performance-study class in fall 2002 and is the first teacher of Marley music at the school.

The ensemble stays true to Bob Marley’s revolutionary style of reggae.

The band consisted of one lead singer, three back-up singers, three horn players, two guitarists, two keyboardists, one bassist, one drum set player and one hand percussionist.

Guitarist Marcos Rodriguez Ema said his experience with the class has been great.

“Where I come from we play reggae,” the Puerto Rican born musician said. “But Matt taught us all about Bob Marley’s life and politics and opened us up to a lot of new things.”

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