Hispanic Heritage Month: a night filled with jazz and tacos

Courtesy of Whitney Ervin

Whitney Ervin, Features Editor

If you happened to be in Jacksonville on September 27, then you must have noticed the jazz music echoing through the square. The source of this music was JSU’s own Jazz Combos performing at Heirloom Taco. It was a beautiful night filled with good energy all around. Who would’ve guessed that jazz and tacos would make such a delightful pairing?

Each of the performers seemed to be having a very good time, and many people came out to support the Combos. Both the outside patio and the inside dining area of Heirloom Taco boasted plenty of smiling faces and friendly conversation as music filled the air. It’s difficult to pass up the chance to go to Heirloom Taco anyway considering how delicious their food is. So if the Combos were seeking an audience, then Heirloom Taco was certainly the right place to find one. 

Heirloom Taco has easily become a staple of the Jacksonville community since its opening in 2019. While it might not have seemed like the most obvious choice for a Jazz performance at first glance, the pairing of Heirloom Taco and the Jazz Combos seemed to be a match made in heaven. The laid back atmosphere of Heirloom Taco provided the perfect stage for the entertainment provided by the Jazz Combos. 

The Jazz Combos played in two separate sections. Each section played three songs. The first set kicked off as the sun was going down over Jacksonville at 6 p.m.  The Jazz Combos opened the performance with “Sandu” by Clifford Brown, followed by “Yesterdays” by Jerome Kern, before ending their set with “Speak Low” by Kurt Weil. The first set was composed of many beginners, but you wouldn’t have guessed by the passion they put into their performance.

The second set opened with “Nardis” by Miles Davis, and then finished off with two original compositions by Johanna Mahmud titled “Lauren’s Breath” and “Efficacious.” 

 For many of the performers, last night was their first-ever performance in front of a crowd. Dr. Andy Nevala is the Director of Jazz Studies at Jacksonville State University and the sponsor for the event. After the performance, he told The Chanticleer that part of the reason he decided to pursue performing at Heirloom Taco was to give the newcomers a chance to play in front of a crowd. 

“We wanted them to have a chance to play in front of a more laid back audience so they don’t freeze up during a concert,” Nevala said. 

The Jazz Combos will be performing every Monday night at Heirloom Taco until October 15, which will see them observing Hispanic Heritage Month at Heirloom Taco. Being able to support a locally owned business and one of JSU’s bands at the same time is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. 

“Next week will be fun because we’re bringing a big band,” Nevala said. “We’ll be piled out onto the street most likely.” 

That will certainly be a sight to behold for everyone who decides to come out and see them perform Monday night. 

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