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Musicians explore jazz from Basie to the Village Vanguard
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
The influence of Count Basie, whose big band music electrified audiences in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, continues to shape jazz in a new century. It’s a legacy Purdue’s jazz bands will explore in its “Basie & Beyond” concert on Friday, Nov. 16.
The Purdue Jazz Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble and the Lab Jazz Band will be featured in the 8 p.m. Nov. 16 concert in Loeb Playhouse of Purdue’s Stewart Center. Admission is free.
Count Basie, whose music was characterized by his trademark “jumping” beat and the contrapuntal accents of his piano playing, became a 20th century institution and nurtured many of the greatest jazz musicians of his era.
One of those, trumpeter Thad Jones, went on to play a pivotal role in establishing a triangle-shaped Greenwich Village nightclub - the Village Vanguard - as the place musicians revere as the center of the jazz universe.
Opening its doors to musicians in 1965, “the Village Vanguard started in the middle of the rock and roll era when no one wanted to listen to big bands. They started it for musicians to get together on Monday nights and read through music,” says Purdue jazz director M.T. “Mo” Trout.
The music Thad Jones put before the musicians was challenging, original and stylistically much different from the music he’d played with Basie. Somewhat unexpectedly, audiences gravitated to the progressive jazz showcased there. “The club just took off and has become an institution,” Trout says.
In 2007, the Vanguard’s still known for its cutting edge jazz, and for jazz musicians the cramped basement club is “the place” to make a recording. Numerous stars, including Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Wynton Marsalis, have made live recordings there.
At the “Basie & Beyond” concert, the American Music Repertory Ensemble will present a variety of Basie tunes as audiences would have originally heard them. Among those to be performed are “Basie Boogie” from 1941, “Flight of the Foo Birds” from 1957, “Whirly Bird" from 1958 and “The Queen Bee” from 1954. They will also present a Duke Ellington tune, “In a Mellowtone,” that was arranged for the New York Voices and Count Basie Orchestra in 2005.
Tunes from the Vanguard, performed by the Purdue Jazz Band, include Thad Jones’ “Greeting and Salutations” and “Rhoda Map,” and Bob Brookmeyer’s “Hello and Goodbye” among others.
The Lab Jazz Band opens the evening with tunes by other classic 20th century composers including Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You” and Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale.”
The concert is presented by Purdue Bands & Orchestra as part of its Jazz Series. The department’s next jazz event is “Holiday Cheer & All That Jazz” on Dec. 7.
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