Anecdotes of all kinds about bandleader Woody Herman-- whose centennial is celebrated this year--circulate among musicians and fans to this day. From them, we deduce that The Chopper" had a straight-razor tongue, wry humor, and less-than-zero patience for disingenuous fan-fawning over himself or his band's celebrity. Even as road-weary big bands faded from the scene and Herman's unfortunate financial straits overwhelmed him, with Woody it was always about the music. All ways. With Salutes Woody Herman, The DePaul University Jazz Ensemble with Jeff Hamilton and other guests holds eminently true to Herman's music-centric philosophy. It is a very ...read more
Were he still with us, bandleader Woody Herman would have turned one hundred years young on May 16, 2013. What better way, then, to mark the occasion than by doing something that made the Chopper" happier than anything else: swinging hard and often. Chicago's DePaul University Jazz Ensemble does precisely that on this superb album comprised of eleven memorable themes associated with Herman and his Herds from the 1940s and '50s, thanks in part to the towering presence of a special guest, drummer Jeff Hamilton, a Herman alumnus who drives the band ever onward with passion and power.read more
One of the premier college jazz bands in the country joins forces with one of the most significant big band drummers alive today for Time Passes On, as the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble invites Grammy Award-winning drummer Jeff Hamilton for a live recording at Chicago's legendary Jazz Showcase. Under the leadership of Bob Lark, a renowned trumpeter and Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University, DePaul's jazz ensemble has often performed with jazz icons contributing to their curriculum. Hamilton is now part of that history and provides two compositions for this date, of which the emotional remembrance ballad title track ...read more
Not your average university jazz band or your typical recording of oft-heard standards, Swingchronicity represents a musical collaboration between one of the finest university jazz bands in the country and a jazz legend. Under the direction of Bob Lark, trumpeter and Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble is heard live at Chicago's Jazz Showcase with special guest, world-renowned alto great Phil Woods.
Producing an unbelievable sound for a college level group, one gets the sense that you've just heard from the up-and-coming jazz starts of the future. Woods' brilliance is ...read more
Nothing is perfect, so the saying goes, and thus it follows that one can, in theory, always find something to disparage or take issue with in any work of art or piece of music. While that may be true, on a scale of one to ten, Swingchronicity warrants at least an eleven. This is, after all, Phil Woods, one of the world's greatest living jazz musicians, weaving his incomparable magic in a breathtaking concert performance at Chicago's Jazz Showcase with one of the country's most honored undergraduate groups, the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, a tasteful and dynamic recital that is ...read more
DePaul University’s Jazz Studies program, always a good one, has really hit its stride in the past couple of years with a number of superlative albums by the Jazz Ensemble under director Bob Lark, the most recent of which is this invigorating concert with the renowned composer / valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer taped in May ‘01 at Joe Segal’s venerable Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Four of the seven compositions are Brookmeyer’s, three of them written for and previously recorded by his German–based New Art Orchestra. The exception is “American Express,” written in 1979–80 for the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis ...read more
Having taken a short trip across town to Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase to record its last album in concert, the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble returns to the studio for Legacy, where it is joined (on the last four tracks) by an honored guest, big–band drummer extraordinaire Louie Bellson. Louie wrote (and presents drum clinics on) all of those tunes starting with the aptly named and coolly swinging “Brush Taps” and including “Boston Express,” “LOROELMA” and “Legacy.” Bellson, one of the most lyrical of big–band timekeepers, knows when to use the whip and when to let an ensemble run freely, which ...read more