Get ready to “swing” through the holidays with Purdue jazz bands
Monday, December 8, 2008
Expect a swinging big band evening of seasonal standards – “White Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Silver Bells,” “Santa Baby” and lots more - when Purdue’s three jazz bands team up to present “Holiday Cheer & All That Jazz” on Friday, Dec. 12.
The Purdue Jazz Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble and Lab Jazz Band all get spotlights at the free concert set for 8 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center.
Preceding the concert is “Tuba Christmas,” an annual event where tubists and euphonium players offer low brass versions of favorite holiday tunes. It begins at 7 p.m. in the lobby of Stewart Center. Admission is also free.
The whole evening’s designed to be light, upbeat and carefree. “By not charging admission, Purdue Bands has always thought of these concerts as our gift to the community in a season where dollars never go as far as dreams. This year it’s an extra special gift,” says Bands publicist Kathy Matter.
M.T. “Mo” Trout, who directs all three bands, will have his musicians decked out in special holiday attire to add to the spirit of the evening. “This is going to be a holiday swing-along because so many of these tunes have swing rhythms,” he says.
Big band fans will particularly enjoy the “Glenn Miller Yuletide Medley” made famous by the legendary swing-era band leader. The American Music Repertory Ensemble will also perform swing oriented versions of Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and the traditional “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
There’s a different kind of swing with the Purdue Jazz Band performs “Hannukah Swings” and there’s a swinging salute to our 50th state when the American Music Repertory Ensemble and its lei-clad singers present “Mele Kalikimaka.”
“I’ve tried to pick tunes that are familiar, fun holiday favorites but not the same versions people have already grown tired of hearing in the grocery stores,” Trout says. In the spirit of Santa, jazz arrangers sprinkle a few surprises into holiday tunes when they arrange them for big bands. “They’re fun arrangements. Nothing gets too abstract and the spirit of the tune is always there,” Trout adds.
In a new Joe Jackson arrangement of “The Little Drummer Boy,” to be performed by the Lab Jazz Band, “big band aficionados will hear passages that sound a whole lot like the Count Basie tune ‘Cute’,” Trout says. Diana Krall’s new arrangement of “Jingle Bells” will be performed by the Purdue Jazz Band who also treats the audience to tongue-in-cheek versions of “Yo Tannenbaum” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” both cleverly arranged by the Big Phat Band’s Gordon Goodwin and featured on his CD Bah Humduck-A Looney Tunes Christmas.
“ ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” starts with a saxophone choir that’s beautiful and ‘Yo Tannenbaum’ starts with a beautiful brass choir. Then they both go different directions and explore a lot of different versions of those tunes,” Trout says.
“Holiday Cheer” is the last jazz concert of the Purdue Bands & Orchestra fall 2008 season.
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