Rollicking, theatrical Quartet of Happiness to jazz up concert

The Quartet of Happiness will bring its original take on jazz and humor to SUNY Oswego on Wednesday, April 20.

Photo of Quartet of Happiness.Dr. Eric Schmitz, assistant professor of music at the college, will join the quartet—whose website says its mission is “to take jazz out of the ivory tower”—for the 7:30 p.m. concert in Sheldon Hall ballroom. A preconcert talk will take place at 7 p.m.

“(I) went to school and played with Quartet of Happiness member Rick Stone at the University of Northern Iowa, so this is a ‘reunion’ of sorts,” said Schmitz, a music theorist and Oswego Jazz Project drummer.

Schmitz said the Quartet of Happiness focuses much of its repertoire on original music, combining it with theatricality and humor.

“Combining off-kilter jazz improvisation with comedic performance art, this Boston-based ensemble offers up a rollicking pastiche of musical skits and gamelike exercises,” a Jazz Times reviewer noted. “Much of the material probably works better in person: The complex vocal interplay of a scene called ‘The Man From the Music,’ for example, is nearly incomprehensible without visual cues. But the instrumental tracks have a delightfully skewed aesthetic, and the Quartet’s impression of a radio tuning in stations at random is just plain funny.”

Co-founding saxophonists Stone and Kelly Roberge, who started playing together in graduate school at the New England Conservatory of Music, will join drummer Austin McMahon and bassist Sean Faris, replacing longtime member Kendall Eddy.

Tickets priced at $15 ($12 for SUNY Oswego faculty and staff, seniors age 60 and over and non-SUNY Oswego students; $6 for SUNY Oswego students) are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at and by calling 315-312-2141. Parking is free that evening for those attending this event.

PHOTO CAPTION: Fun with jazz—The Boston-based Quartet of Happiness will appear at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, for a preconcert talk, following at 7:30 by its special blend of theatricality, humor and jazz, in SUNY Oswego’s Sheldon Hall ballroom.

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(Posted: Apr 06, 2011)

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