Jazz standards and tunes with a rock flavor make for easy listening at Jazz on the Hill on Friday, April 20. As itís done for decades, the traditional outdoor concert ushers in Gala Weekend on campus.
Four bands, highlighted by the Purdue Jazz Band and the Purdue Alumni Jazz Band, are featured at the informal event which runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 20 at Slayter Center. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring picnics and lawn chairs to Slayterís grassy hill. Admission is free.
For the student musicians as well as the audience, the concertís a chance to kick back and enjoy being outside, according to M.T. "Mo" Trout, director of jazz studies at Purdue University. "We try to play tunes where a lot of people get a chance to solo, and hit different styles of jazz. We do things that are fun to play," he says.
Purdueís future in jazz performance, as well as its past, gets a salute during the evening. Rebecca Hodson, a public relations major from Lafayette who landed a position in the Purdue Jazz Band as a freshman, gets an extended saxophone solo in Horace Silverís "Nicaís Dream."
Twenty jazz band alumni, returning to campus for the weekend, get another chance to entertain campus audiences under Troutís direction. The group includes a father and son combination, Greg and Devin Johnson of Indianapolis, both former saxophone players in the Purdue Jazz Band. In other eras, the jazz band had regular singers, and two of them will also be featured. Carleton Mitchell, of LaCrosse, Wis., will sing "Orange Colored Sky" while Linda Deloso, of Tigard, Ore., will perform "The Nearness of You."
Duke Ellingtonís "C Jam Blues" and the Count Basie version of "April in Paris" are also on the Alumni Band line-up.
The Purdue Jazz Band features a contemporary jazz fusion tune written in the style of the Brecker Brothers called "Brecker-Brac." It will also perform an arrangement obtained from the Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra, the Australian ensemble the band toured Europe with in the summer of 2000. Titled "Introducing The Band," the unique piece offers every member of the band a short solo spot.
Purdueís Concert Jazz Band, directed by Alan Landers, and Lab Jazz Band, directed by Trout, fill out the program. The Lab Bandís numbers include a rock-based tune "Are We There Yet" along with Cole Porterís "Youíd Be So Nice to Come Home Too."
Order of performance for the concert begins with the Concert Jazz Band followed by the Lab Jazz Band, Alumni Jazz Band and topped by Purdue Bandsí premier ensemble the Purdue Jazz Band.