Professor encorages dancing at downtown performance

Any student who has had the chance to be in a class with music professor Brian Hanegan won’t forget this anytime soon. Whether it is his jazzy vocabulary or his love for The Beatles, he leaves a lasting impression on any student.

This brilliance was once again put on display at a gig Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Levitt Shell.

Hanegan, who is the leading saxophone player for the Brian Hanegan Quartet, was invited to warm up the stage for the LowDown Brass Band from Chicago. This final concert of the 2021 Levitt season was something to look forward to for the Augustana professor. The quartet is completed by Bryce Job on the drums, Reuben Rodriguez on the bass, and AU class of ‘94 graduate Jeremy Hegg on keyboard.

The quartet started their 30 minute jazz exhibition with a blast. The quartet played a swinging tune, which already got a fair amount of visitors on their feet. After this first song, Hanegan said hello to the crowd and welcomed everybody on this pretty late-summer evening. There was a huge smile on the band’s faces, and they declared the next song would be a “love tune!”

Hanegan started the swing with his saxophone and within a few seconds couples stood up to find each other and dance. His high notes were followed by a groovy rhythm from the drums and bass and some sweet notes from the keyboard.

Among the dancing visitors were more AU faculty such as President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and her husband. She seemingly enjoyed the swinging jazz and had a lovely time dancing with her partner.

The crowd was also complemented by multiple groups of AU students.

The last song the jazz quartet played was from their debut album “Constellation.” The song was called Canguelo and started off with a mesmerizing freestyle solo. Later the rest of the band joined in, and it became a spectacular piece of music with yet another solo and introduction for every one of the band members.

The quartet left the stage with huge applause from the audience.

If you like jazz music even the slightest bit, I can highly recommend you check out the Brian Hanegan Quartet. Their swing and feel for jazz music is unique and makes you want to dance the night away.