Acclaimed jazz artist Carol Welsman joins Gabriel Espinosa’s quartet

Carol Welsman answers questions from students about being a professional musician.
Carol Welsman answers questions from students about being a professional musician.
Evan Hein

On Thursday, Feb. 15, internationally renowned vocalist and pianist Carol Welsman joined the jazz quartet of Gabriel Espinosa, director of Grinnell College’s Latin American Jazz Ensemble, for an evening of lively and soothing music. 

Welsman is also a songwriter, and some of her songs have been recorded by Celine Dion and Ray Charles. 

Espinosa said that he is eager to continue inviting professional musicians to campus. According to him, the music department “needs to bring these artists so the students can hear and see how professionals work.” 

Additionally, before the concert, students attended a masterclass with Welsman where they could ask questions about her career.

Espinosa, also an applied music associate and lecturer at the College, has been playing with the quartet in Iowa for the last 25 years. He said that this concert was the first time the group added a guitar — played by Nick Leo — at Welsman’s request. While Espinosa played bass guitar and sang with Welsman, the rest of the quartet was made up of Tim Crumley on drums, Dave Bohl on saxophone and Dave Kobberdahl on trumpet.

“In a quartet, you have more responsibility than playing in a large ensemble,” Espinosa wrote in an email to The S&B. As an example, he wrote that each player has more solos than they would in a full band. 

Espinosa said that students can look forward to the jazz band concert on Tuesday, April 23 and the Latin American Jazz Ensemble concert the following week on Tuesday, April 30

From left: Carol Welsman plays piano and sings along with the jazz quartet made up of Nick Leo, Gabriel Espinosa, Tim Crumley, Dave Bohl and Dave Kobberdash. (Evan Hein)
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