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Purdue Super Jazz Jam explores many eras of jazz on March 30
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Just like spring weather, which can change on a whim, Purdue's Super Jazz Jam concert on Friday, March 30, changes directions numerous times as four bands cruise through old standards by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington as well as contemporary classics by Pat Metheny, Thelonious Monk and others.
The Purdue Jazz Band, Lab Jazz Band, Concert Jazz Band and American Music Repertory Ensemble will cover multiple eras and styles of jazz in the annual event set for 8 p.m. March 30 in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center.
"We're going to keep the music going and cover a lot of styles with a lot of tunes people will recognize," says M.T. "Mo" Trout, who directs all four bands. Each of the four bands has a "mini program designed to fit their strengths."
That means jazz lovers will hear tunes that emphasize trumpets - with Maynard Ferguson's "Coconut Champagne " and Mark Taylor's "Brass Machine" - in the Concert Jazz Band's set along with bebop. Dizzy Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" "is the quintessential bebop tune" being performed, says Trout.
He expects the Lab Jazz Band to command the stage with John Williams' "Swing, Swing, Swing." Considered a virtuoso work demanding the best of good players, "it's very challenging and a great opener," Trout says.
Purdue sophomore and Harrison High School graduate Marissa Kokini, will make her debut as a jazz singer with the Lab Jazz Band on Cole Porter's classic, "Love For Sale." Drummer Tyler Fox, a senior from Waterloo , IN , will get the spotlight in Pat Metheny's "Minuano," and the Lab Band's entire sax section will be featured in Don Menza's "Groovin' Hard." The set also includes an arrangement of Irving Berlin's classic "Blue Skies" that slides back and forth between Latin and swing.
Typically, the American Music Repertory Ensemble focuses on works by one composer in its performances but Trout decided to sample a variety of big band hits from the swing era for the Super Jazz Jam. There's "Jump for Joy," as performed by Duke Ellington; Count Basie's "Aces and Faces;" and "Don't Sit under the Apple Tree," as played by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, for starters. Another Glen Miller tune, "Tuxedo Junction," will be performed the way Gene Krupa interpreted it, "slower and bluesier," Trout says.
The Super Jazz Jam's final set features the Purdue Jazz Band performing two tunes that recently brought it "outstanding band" honors at the 2007 Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago - "Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk and "It Might As Well Be Spring." Cole Porter's music makes another appearance with a Gordon Goodwin arrangement "It's All Right With Me" in a straight-ahead swing style.
In the concert filled with familiar tunes, Trout feels Goodwin's "Hunting Wabbits" will surprise a few. "It's a tribute to cartoons from the 1950s and 60s and it's absolutely nuts," he says. "'Hunting Wabbits' doesn't start out sounding like jazz at all but it gets there. It's very fun and very unusual."
Purdue's jazz bands will perform together one final time in the 2006-07 season in "Jazz on the Hill," an outdoor concert at Slayter Center set for April 20.
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