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Big Band Caravan

Eric Miyashiro / CNY Jazz Orchestra / No Name Horses / Stockholm Jazz Orchestra / Howard University Jazz Ensemble

By Published: July 7, 2008
> Howard University Jazz Ensemble
HUJE 2007

Under director Fred Irby III, the Howard University Jazz Ensemble has established a tradition of excellence that spans more than three decades and as many splendid recordings, eighteen of which now reside in this reviewer's CD library. As has been the case in recent years, the Jazz Ensemble shares the stage on HUJE 2007 with the fifteen-member a cappella vocal group Afro Blue and six-member HU Jazztet, with each of them heard on three of the album's sixteen selections, the Jazz Ensemble on the remaining ten.

Besides swinging robustly on "Fever," Monk's "In Walked Bud" and Miles Davis' "Freddie the Freeloader" and "Nardis," the ensemble showcases tenor saxophonist Brian Settles (Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing"), alto John Kocur ("Stardust"), trumpeter Rashid Mandela Hughes (Mark Mauldin's shuffling "Blues for Emily") and drummer Carroll V. Dashiell III (Max Roach's virtuosic "Mr. Hi-Hat"). Also pleasing to the ear are David Shire's winsome ballad "With You I'm Born Again" and a medley of songs made popular by Earth, Wind and Fire ("That's the Way of the World," "After the Love Is Gone," "September"), nicely arranged by Eugene Thorne.

Afro Blue, directed by Connaitre Miller, is buttery smooth on Curtis Mayfield's "Keep on Pushin,'" Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" and the traditional hymn, "Oh, Freedom!," the last arranged by HU alum Geri Allen, while the Jazztet is sharp and alert on Ahmad Jamal's lyrical "Acorn" (featuring pianist Jerrol Pennerman) and a pair of enticing originals by guitarist James Rodney Richardson, "Full Count" and "Bud and Violet." Besides soloing with Settles on his own compositions, Richardson is heard with Settles on "Fever," trumpeter Joseph Teachey on "Nardis" and French hornist Ariel Shelton on "Born Again."

In sum, another in a long series of tasteful recordings by one of the country's outstanding college jazz ensembles. High marks all around. I'm already looking forward to HUJE 2008.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Pleiades; River Whale; Frame for the Blues; O Que Sera; Dance to Your Heart; Ole; Close the Deal; Maria; Tommy Medley; Theme from Rocky (Gonna Fly Now).

Personnel: Eric Miyashiro: trumpet, flugelhorn, leader. Koji Nishimura, Isao Sakuma, Masahiro Kobayashi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mitsukuni Kohata: trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar (2, 7, 9); Masaki Akio Suzuki: alto sax, flute; Kazuhiko Kondo: alto, soprano sax, flute; Tatsuya Sato: tenor sax; Atsushi Tsuzurano: tenor sax, flute; Fred Simmons, Satoshi Sano, Yuzo Kataoka (2, 3, 5, 8), Kanade Shishiuchi (1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10): trombone; Junko Yamashiro: bass trombone; Masaki Hayashi: acoustic, electric piano, synthesizers; Kiyoshi Murakama: electric bass; Tappy Iwase: drums.

Then, Now & Again

Tracks: Get Smart; HipNotHop; Eighty One; I Loves You Porgy; All Things Considered; The Midnight Sun Will Never Set; Status Quo; Things Happen; Shimmer; Mister Sandman.

Personnel: Bret Zvacek: composer, arranger, music director, trombone (8); Pat Carney, Jeff Stockham, Rob Robson, Dave Blask: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joe Carello, John Delia, John Rohde, John Jeanneret, Frank Grosso: reeds; Bill Palange, Joe Colombo, Angelo Candela, Mark Anderson: trombone; Rick Montalbano Sr.: keyboards; Pete Chwazik (CD), Darryl Pugh (DVD): bass; Larry Luttinger: drums.

No Name Horses II

Tracks: No Strings Attached; You Always Come Late; Into the Sky; Portrait of Duke; ATFT; Stepping Stone; Cookin' for Hungry Horses; Miyabi; OK, Just One Last Chance!; Reconnection; Someone to Watch Over Me.

Personnel: Makoto Ozone: music director, piano, Hammond B3 organ, leader; Eric Miyashiro, Mitsukuni Kohata, Sho Okumura, Ryuichi Takase (1-4, 8, 11), Masahiko Sugasaka (5, 7-9), Mitsuru Tanaka (6, 10): trumpet, flugelhorn; Kazuhiko Kondo: alto, soprano sax, flute; Atsushi Ikeda: alto sax; Toshio Miki: tenor sax; Masanori Okazaki: tenor sax, clarinet; Yoshihiro Iwamochi: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Eijiro Nakagawa, Yuzo Kataoka: trombone; Junko Yamashiro: bass trombone; Kengo Nakamura: bass; Shinnosuke Takahashi: drums.

Plays Stockholm Jazz Orchestra

Tracks: The Prowlers; Mondeo; Cochise; Sarminer's Waltz; O.D.; Dedication; Just Being; Avenida.

Personnel: Fredrik Noren: trumpet, flugelhorn, leader; Karl Olandersson, Peter Asplund, Magnus Broo (1-3, 8), Gustavo Bergalli (1, 2, 4-7): trumpet, flugelhorn; Johan Horlen: alto, soprano sax, flute; Magnus Blom: alto, soprano sax, clarinet, flute; Karl-Martin Almqvist: tenor sax, flute, alto flute; Robert Nordmark: tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Neta Noren: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Bertil Strandberg, Magnus Wiklund, Peter Dahlgren: trombone; Bjorn Hangsel: bass trombone; Daniel Tilling: piano; Ola Bengtsson: guitar; Martin Sjostedt: bass; Jukkis Uotila: drums.

HUJE 2007

Tracks: Fever; With You I'm Born Again; Keep on Pushin'; A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing; Songs of Earth, Wind and Fire; In Walked Bud; Stolen Moments; Nardis; Stardust; Freddie the Freeloader; Blues for Emily; Oh, Freedom; Mr. Hi-Hat; Acorn; Full Count; Bud and Violet.

Personnel: Jazz Ensemble—Fred Irby III: director; Kieron Irvine, Columbus Wynn III, Joseph Teachey, Norberto Mejicanos, Demarr Woods, Rashid Mandela Hughes, Malcolm Stokes: trumpet, flugelhorn; Brent Birckhead, John Kocur, Samuel King, Randolph Woods Jr.: alto sax; Brian Settles, Joshua Carr, Isaiah Allen: tenor sax; Harry Taylor: baritone sax; Ariel Shelton: French horn; Seth Rees, Herm Hopkins, Paul Phifer, Stephan Naylor, Richard Milburn: trombone; Matthew Caraballo: bass trombone; Milton Pace, Jerrol Pennerman, George Purnell: piano; James Rodney Richardson: electric guitar; William Carlisle, Jarrin Moore: bass; Carroll V. Dashiell III, Gabriel Jones: drums. Afro Blue—Connaitre Miller: director; Danielle Withers, Kelley Pleasant, Sydney Marshall, Rachel Robinson: soprano; Jessica Chambliss: soprano, alto; Christie Dashiell, Brandi Pace, CaShandra Bacon: alto; Kevin Owens, Todd Price, Micah Robinson: tenor; Reginald Bowers, Jason Deering: baritone; Brian Vickers, Greg Watkins: bass. HU Jazztet—Charlie Young: music director; Brian Settles: tenor sax; Jerrol Pennerman: arranger, piano; James Rodney Richardson: composer, guitar; Jarrin Moore: bass; Carroll V. Dashiell III: drums.

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