Sunday, November 7, 2010

The UConn Jazz Ensemble performs... "the Blues & the Abstract Truth, take 2"



I am really looking forward to the UConn Jazz Ensemble concert this coming Tuesday evening in the von der Mehden Recital Hall. The charts are truly fantastic! I was thrilled when Bill Cunliffe agreed to send me the music from his acclaimed "the Blues and the Abstract Truth, take 2" CD.  I absolutely love what he did with Oliver Nelson's classic compositions.  Bill's subtle modifications are incredibly tasteful.

I have seen so much progress and development in my students' playing this semester.  We have spent a substantial amount of rehearsal time working on improvisation, and I think it shows.  Each student transcribed, learned and analyzed a minimum of two recorded solos.  We discussed and applied a variety of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic approaches to the solo forms.  At various points we spent time listening to rehearsal recordings of ourselves, and then discussed what worked and what didn't.  I believe all of this hard work has really paid off.

The Jazz Ensemble will also perform in Hartford on Friday, November 19th at 7 p.m. in the Aetna Theater of the Wadsworth Atheneum.  They will be the opening act for The Curtis Brothers, with trumpeter Ray Vega.  For ticket information call the Hartford Jazz Society office at 860-242-6688. Sadly, for bassist Alexandra Eckhardt and trombonist, Jon Shelly, this will be their last performance with the UConn Jazz Ensemble.  Both will be out student teaching next semester before graduating in May.  They have been valuable contributors to the ensemble and will be missed.  I take solace in knowing that they will both be excellent, well-prepared school music teachers who will share their passion for jazz with yet another generation of students.

We will wrap up the current semester by going into the recording studio on November 30th.  We'll be preparing a recording to enter in the Downbeat Student Music Awards competition.  Wish us luck!

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