By Chuck Obuchowski, Special To The Courant
(Page 2 of 2)
The UConn Jazz 10tet, directed by Earl MacDonald, began the evening with an exciting, all-too-brief "sneak preview" of material that will be officially premiered August 2 in Hartford's Bushnell Park.
That occasion will mark the debut of the HJS New Directions Ensemble, with MacDonald as pianist and composer in residence. Friday's performance succeeded on its own terms, however, displaying the ample talents of ten University of Connecticut student improvisers.
[Photo courtesy of Maurice Robertson. Click to enlarge.]
Most of the material was written or arranged by MacDonald, but the students executed the scores brilliantly, offering a sophisticated update of "Birth of the Cool" instrumentation and concepts. Also included was a fascinating arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Nutty" by Jon Shelly, the group's trombonist.
The UConn Jazz 10tet, under Earl MacDonald's direction, will perform Tuesday, April 13, 8 p.m. at the University of Connecticut's Von Der Mehden Recital Hall, 875 Coventry Rd., Storrs. Details at www.sfa.uconn.edu/vdm and 860-486-4226.