Purdue Jazz Band's March 28 'Super Jazz Jam' boasts four
Four jazz bands promise to quadruple the heat at the Purdue Jazz Band’s “Super Jazz Jam” on Friday, March 28, an evening packed with everything from tunes Sammy Nestico created for Count Basie to Duke Ellington classics.
It is set for 8 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center. Admission is free.
Two other Purdue bands – the Concert Jazz Band and Lab Jazz Band – will also be featured along with the Penn High School Jazz Band, directed by Murray Weaver. Penn, whose program includes Duke Ellington’s “Half the Fun,” and Charles Mingus’ “Moanin’,” appears as part of Purdue University Bands “Partners in Education” program.
The jam offers listeners all kinds of ties to jazz history along with contempory tunes by the likes Mingus, Thad Jones, Gordon Goodwin and saxophonist Bob Minzter who recently headlined the Purdue Jazz Festival.
Mintzer’s “The Easy Swing” will be performed by the Concert Jazz Band. “It’s one of the few straight ahead swing things he’s done and it works well for big band,” says M.T. “Mo” Trout, director of all three Purdue bands. Members of the band will have a chance to show off their improvisational skills on Ladd McIntosh’s “Coyote Woman Blues.”
“The Heat’s On,” a tune Sammy Nestico wrote for Count Basie, opens the Lab Band set. Another piece on the set with a tie to jazz history is Mark Taylor’s “Love Beams.’ “Mark wrote it in the early 1970s for North Texas State University, which boasts the foremost jazz program in the country, and it appeared on the first album by a college jazz band to be nominated for a Grammy.”
Composer Steve Spiegl never met Lab Band saxophonist Nikki Sturm, but he wrote a piece titled “Nikki” with an alto saxophone solo which perfectly fits the talents of the freshman liberal arts major from Valparaiso.
Jazz stylings from the 1960s get a salute with “Wide Open.” By Don Ellis. “He’s a progressive big band writer known for his unusual rhythms and rhythmic patterns,” says Trout.
The Purdue Jazz Band opens its set with a Duke Ellington classic “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” and closes with an old-time tune that’s not usually associated with jazz – “The Tennessee Waltz.”
“The tune is very recognizable but it’s presented in a way you’ve never heard it before. This is an incredible arrangement by Bill Holman that’s really hard. This is the first year I’ve thought I had a band who could cut it,” Trout says.
The jazz bands at Purdue will make their final appearance of the school year at Jazz on the Hill, an outdoor concert set for Friday, April 25. Music starts at 5 p.m. at Slayter Center, on the corner of Intramural and Stadium.