Trumpeter Bob Lark and four jazz bands at 'Super Jazz Jam'
Chicago trumpeter Bob Lark and four jazz bands fill Loeb Playhouse with a wide spectrum of jazz for Purdue Bands' "Super Jazz Jam" set for 8 p.m. Saturday, March 27, in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center.
Tunes by Lennie Niehaus, Sammy Nestico, Duke Ellington, Clifford Brown, George Gershwin and others highlight the free concert featuring Purdue's Studio Jazz Band, Concert Jazz Band, Lab Jazz Band and the Purdue Jazz Band.
Interest in performing jazz has hit a high note on the Purdue University campus this semester necessitating the creation of a fourth jazz band, the Studio Jazz Band, to accommodate the number of talented students attending auditions.
"Many of them are freshmen and it's a really good learning experience for them." They're doing a very good job," says M.T. "Mo" Trout, who directs all four bands.
The Super Jazz Jam audience will be treated to top soloists from the various bands, several of whom won outstanding soloist awards at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago in early March.
Among them is Matt Iles, a freshman from West Lafayette who graduated from Harrison High School. The tenor sax player will be featured in the Quincy Jones/Sammy Nestico tune "Belly Roll" that he performed with the Lab Jazz Band at the competition.
For the Jam, Trout has purposefully picked a diverse selection of jazz tunes and styles because the make-up of the four bands demand it. "With each band I'll hit a variety of styles," he says. "Big bands tend to take on the personality of the players so I want to make sure I match that personality with music that compliments their talents, but stretches them at the same time."
The evening's guest artist, trumpeter Bob Lark from the DePaul University jazz faculty, has been associated with the Purdue Jazz Festival for many years. Before the concert he will be working with the Purdue Jazz Band to help Trout finesse their sound before going into the studio the following week to record music for an upcoming CD.
One of Lark's solo spotlights comes in a comic tune called "Eat and Run" by Howie Smith. "Everything Howie composes is done tongue in cheek. He will take a nursery rhyme and change it into a serious composition which is what he's done here," Trout says.
Those who listen closely will hear familiar themes from "Three Blind Mice." Performing the tune isn't child's play, however, as it employs "advanced harmonic thing similar to tunes by John Coltrane," Trout adds.
Other concert highlights include a version of the popular Duke Ellington tune "Satin Doll" done in Count Basie style to honor the 100 th anniversary of Basie's birth.
When the Purdue Jazz Band takes the stage as the concert's final band, the spotlight will shift to several student soloists. Alto sax player Jake Noparstak, a junior from Glenview, IL, will be featured in an uptempo version of "Back Home Again in Indiana," while the piano playing of Fort Wayne senior Ryan Hicks will be featured in "Body and Soul" by Bob Florence. Senior drummer Albert Hidalgo, a graduate of Concord High School, is featured in "Leave Us Leap," a tune made famous by the Gene Krupa Orchestra in the mid 1940s.
To honor the arrival of spring, Trout gives the spotlight back to Lark for a rendition of George Gershwin's "Summertime" with the Purdue Jazz Band.