Friday, October 28, 2011

UConn Jazz Ensemble Concert - Tuesday, Nov. 1st

If you're in the Storrs / Mansfield, CT area, I hope you will consider attending the UConn Jazz Ensemble concert this coming Tuesday, Nov. 1st at 7:30 p.m. in von der Mehden Recital Hall.  The group will be performing seven pieces by the NYC-based, award-winning composer, Nathan Parker Smith.

The instrumentation of the group is 2 trumpets, French horn, trombone, alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, piano, bass and drums.  This is the same instrumentation I chose for my professional 10tet, "the New Directions Ensemble".  Both Nathan and I are clearly influenced by Jim McNeely, who first used this instrumentation on his 2002 Grammy-nominated recording, "Group Therapy".

My students have worked diligently in preparing this challenging, fun music, and I am very proud of the progress they have made --- both as an ensemble and as soloists.

Nathan will work directly with the students, in rehearsal, on the afternoon of the 1st.  What a great opportunity!  I'm sure my students will have many questions for him.  I certainly do.

Nathan Parker Smith's work was recommended to me by composer Dave Rivello, for whom I have tremendous respect.  I haven't yet met Nathan, except through our e-mail exchanges.  I heard / saw him conduct the BMI / NY Jazz Orchestra at the Summer Showcase concert of the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop two years ago, when he won the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize.

I highly recommend this concert.  We've worked on this music for the past two months, and it would be fantastic to have a full house.  Please join us and bring your family and friends.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

UConn Jazz Combo Concert

The UConn jazz combos perform this Tuesday night, Oct. 25th at 7:30 p.m. on the von der Mehden stage.

Experience the excitement of jazz being improvised “in the moment” by skilled student musicians, on a quest to find their artistic voices and make their marks. Gregg August, Earl MacDonald and John Mastroianni, directors.

All of the UConn Jazz combos will perform.

Under the guidance and direction of faculty members, students work together within assigned combos to develop proficiency in the art of jazz improvisation and small-group jazz ensemble playing. Groups are organized according to themes, where the repertoire of a specific jazz composer or genre is addressed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

UConn basketball (and piano)

Basketball isn't the only thing we do well.

Each year one outstanding jazz studies student is selected to perform with the UConn Jazz Faculty. This year, undergraduate pianist, Mike Verselli will play dueling duo pianos with his teacher, Earl MacDonald. 2 Steinways, 4 hands, 176 notes. Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, Oct. 11th at 7:30 p.m. in von der Mehden Recital Hall.