Bakersfield College alumnus Omar Murillo is “very excited” to perform at his old campus at next week’s Panorama Creative Music Summit, because he has a message to deliver.
“I personally feel like it’s a great opportunity to show people you can kind of make things happen with a close musical community,” Murillo said.
Murillo, who finishes his music studies atCal State Bakersfield this semester, will perform original compositions and arrangements with a 13-piece Omar Murillo Action Ensemble on Monday evening, the first day of the now four-day music event.
“(The ensemble) is kind of modeled after Gil Evans’ famous ensemble,” Murillo said, citing the legendary composer, arranger and bandleader who collaborated with trumpeter and composer Miles Davis.
Murillo said his program will include arrangements of music by Kurt Weill and Dr. John, plus original compositions in the style of Evans.
Murillo said he was invited to appear as a featured performer earlier this year during a recording session at BC, where Murillo was able to record his ensemble and some of his work, in an example of that “close musical community.”
“It’s made up of people in the community I’ve gotten to know over the years, and gives me the sounds and colors that I want,” Murillo said. “I chose to have a mix of people my own age (27) and people who have had a long experience playing.”
Those musicians include such stalwarts as pianist and composer Doug Davis, saxophonist Paul Perez, and BC jazz studies professor, composer and trumpeter Kris Tiner.
The Panorama Creative Music Summit is the brainchild of Tiner and commercial music professor Josh Ottum, with the intention of promoting original and improvised music ranging from jazz to pop. Tiner said the summit has been expanded from two days to four.
“In order to make the concerts and interactive workshops more accessible to students and the campus community, we have expanded to a four-day schedule with evening concerts on Monday and Wednesday and morning workshops that overlap with music classes on Tuesday and Thursday,” Tiner wrote in an email.
In addition to Murillo’s ensemble, the summit will feature Tiner and longtime collaborator Mike Baggetta and their duo Tin/Bag; Los Angeles-based composer and performer Emily Sprague, whose music was recently featured in the Beyonce film, “Homecoming”; and Kidi Band, a Los Angeles-based quartet of West African percussion, guitar and voices. The visiting performers will all provide daytime workshops for students.
And, of course, there are the student musicians, performing as members of the BC Jazz Ensemble, jazz combos and other ensembles.
“Most of the original music that will be performed at the summit was written and developed during the spring semester,” Tiner wrote.
“Professor Ottum selects a handful of songwriters in his Commercial Music program to perform,” Tiner wrote.
Tiner said students in the jazz studies program wrote a “ton” of music last semester, and with the new jazz combo class, students will get to perform their own work for the first time at the summit.
For Murillo, just as for other student musicians and longtime professionals, events like the summit both build and maintain that close musical community. This is especially important for musicians just starting out on a professional career.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of music that is older, kind of like passing the traditions down to younger players,” Murillo said.
Murillo said he’s been a beneficiary of such mentoring, especially playing with percussionist Zanne Zarrow’s ensembles over the years. Now it’s his turn.