Purdue jazz concert promises 'Out of This World' experience
“Fly Me to the Moon” and “Stella by Starlight” highlight the Purdue Jazz Bands “Out of This World” concert set for 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center.
Admission is free; no tickets are needed.
Having fun with the concert’s title, jazz band director Dr. M.T. “Mo” Trout says you have to define “world” to truly understand the scope of the show. “You might think your world is just this little space in West Lafayette. We’re definitely going to get out of West Lafayette – to the moon, Saturn, the stars and beyond.”
So besides the more celestial pieces, the concert featuring the Purdue Jazz Band, the Lab Jazz Band and several jazz combos, will travel to “April in Paris,” to the Caribbean with Tito Puente’s “Ran Kan Kan” and to Texas for a “Hoe Down.”
Look for the real celestial pieces to provide sparks as the Lab Band opens with concert with “Fly Me to the Moon.” “It’s is full of technical fireworks. It really takes off. The trumpets get to play high and the saxophones get to play fast – just what they like,” Trout says.
“Saturian Sleighride,”performed later by the Purdue Jazz Band, is a 1960s tune from what Trout refers to as “the west coast cool school of jazz.” “I have no clue what prompted the tune’s name other than when Shorty Rogers wrote it the space race was going on, and a lot of lingo in the jazz world was about being out of this world. I think it’s a tongue-in-cheek title.”
Trout plans to contrast it with a swing arrangement of a more familiar tune about taking a ride, Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”
One of the evening’s hardest hitting pieces in Bob Curnow’s “The Scorpion Dance” performed by the Purdue Jazz Band. Trout describes it as a “rock-based, hard hitting, and very powerful with a lot of intricate lines reminiscent of the funk rock group Tower of Power.”
Other pieces to look for are Bob Brookmeyer’s “Ding Dong Ding,” and “the Thad Jones tune “The Second Race,” both of which features the Purdue Jazz Band’s pianist Ryan Hicks, a junior electrical and computer engineering major from Fort Wayne, in extended piano solos.
“The Freedom Jazz Dance,” performed by the Monday Combo, is another tune Trout advises jazz lovers to take special note of. Written by Eddie Harris in the early 1960s, “it’s a civil rights oriented tune. It’s a complicated melody but the tune is very free in style.” John Coltrane was the first to realize that improvising around one chord, rather than a chord progression, was very liberating, and Harris uses that technique in his piece. “You’d think it would be confining but it’s actually just the opposite,” Trout says.
Two Cole Porter tunes are also featured on the multi-dimensional concert and the Purdue Jazz Band ends the evening with “I Love You.”
The “Out of This World” jazz concert is sponsored by Purdue University Bands. The Purdue Jazz Band’s next appearance will be in conjunction with the American Music Review at the department’s free holiday show “Holiday Cheer & All That Jazz” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in Loeb Playhouse.