Cole Porter tunes fill Homecoming jazz concert
Experience everything from Cole Porter's smoldering love songs to his rambunctious Broadway hits at the Purdue Jazz Band's free Homecoming concert for the community and alums at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at the Long Center , 111 N. Sixth St. , Lafayette .
Titled "Anything Goes," the concert showcases nine of Porter's most popular tunes and opens with a short set by the Concert Jazz Band. It also includes a special musical tribute to New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz, and donations for Red Cross Hurricane Relief will be accepted.
" New Orleans is my favorite city and the cradle of jazz. We want to do our small part to help them out," says M.T. "Mo" Trout, director of both university jazz bands. The Concert Jazz Band will perform the New Orleans ' unofficial anthem, "When the Saints Go Marching In," and the Purdue Jazz Band will perform "New Orleans Portrait" which captures the emotion and spirit of New Orleans ' famous funeral marches.
"It starts out sad and slow and ends very joyous, which I know will be the case with New Orleans . It will come back," says Trout.
To celebrate the spirit of Homecoming, Trout decided to focus the heart of the concert on Cole Porter, a native of Peru , Indiana , and one of America 's most celebrated song writers.
Known for his sophisticated lyrics, clever rhymes and complex musical forms, Porter was not a jazz musician nor did he write music with jazz musicians in mind. But in Cole Porter, all jazz musicians found a kindred spirit.
"It's been a tradition among jazz musicians since the 1920s to take great American songs and improvise on them. And Cole Porter is, by and large, the favorite of jazz musicians. His melodies are great and his harmonies are great," says Trout.
"Then when you add the words they are just fantastic. We have a really good singer in the band in Courtney Rohen so it's a good time to focus on Cole Porter."
Rohen, a senior from Grand Rapids , MI , has won recognition for her singing at the North Texas Jazz Festival and the Elmhurst (IL) Jazz Festival.
From "Anything Goes," the theme song of Porter's much-revived Broadway musical, to "I Love Paris" and "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," the Purdue jazz concert covers the whole range of Porter's writing.
Rohen's performance of Porter's "Love For Sale," a tune banned by ABC in 1956 when Billie Holiday sang it, is "absolutely smoldering," says Trout. "Courtney plays it to the hilt."
Many pieces show off Porter's clever writing, full of similes and metaphors. Some are very celebratory songs like "From This Moment On" while others feature "long, sinuous melodies that just flow on and on like 'Night and Day'," Trout says.
In the concert's opening section, the Concert Jazz Band treats the audience to some modern jazz including themes taken from the recent movie "The Incredibles" and Tito Puente's rhythmic Latin piece "Ran Kan Kan."
Purdue's next jazz concert will be held Friday, Oct. 21 when the American Music Review big band and singers, directed by Bill Kisinger, and the Lab Jazz Band, directed by Mo Trout, perform together at 8 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center.