166

University of Colorado Jazz Ensemble 1: CU Over the Rainbow

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
University of Colorado Jazz Ensemble 1: CU Over the Rainbow Over the past five years the University of Colorado's Jazz Studies program has earned no less than 13 Student Music Awards from Down Beat magazine. I say "earned because (a) the competition is gaining strength each year; and (b) this is one close-knit and hardworking group of undergrads, as one can readily verify on CU Over the Rainbow.

Of course, any disc that opens with Porter and closes with Gershwin merits extra credit from this impartial observer, especially when played with the kind of warmth and understanding that the UC ensemble brings to the table. The band eagerly devours Porter's "It's All Right with Me and the Gershwin brothers' "Nice Work If You Can Get It, ably abetted by trumpeter Kevin Woods, co-winner of this year's Down Beat award for Best Instrumental Jazz Soloist. Tenor saxophonist Serafin Sanchez constructs a second persuasive solo on "Nice Work. Eric Richards arranged the Porter, Jim McNeely the Gershwin.

Sandwiched between them are a trio of original compositions: Bob Brookmeyer's playful "Fun House, McNeely's cheerful mambo "305 and Maria Schneider's multi-colored "Last Season, each of which the ensemble aces more handily than a mid-term exam. On the Arlen/Harburg classic from which the album takes its name, director John Davis introduces the program's newest faculty member, tenor saxophonist John Gunther, who quickly validates his credentials with a moving rendition that includes the seldom-heard verse.

Besides Woods (who's also heard on "Fun House ) and Sanchez, the ensemble boasts a number of consistently impressive improvisers including tenor Danny Meyer ("Fun House ), Kurtis Adams (alto sax on "305, soprano on "Last Season ), trombonist Dave Wiske ("305 ) and flugel Gabe Mervins ("Last Season ). Drummers Ryan Hayden (tracks 1-3) and Tyler Hornby (4-6) anchor the muscular rhythm sections, while lead trumpeter Dave Rajewski makes certain the brass are wide-awake and on the same page.

A word about the album's title: by reversing the University of Colorado's initials, Davis is able to piece together any number of clever names (to date, CU 'Round Midnight, CU Over the Rainbow). My suggestion for the next one: I'll CU in My Dreams. As for the ensemble, it's a safe bet we'll CU winning even more honors in future Down Beat student music awards competitions.


Track Listing: It

Personnel: John Davis: director. Tracks 1-3: Dave Rajewski, Jason Johnson, Andrew Flockhart, Romund Anderson, Kevin Woods: trumpet; Matt Pitts, Damani Phillips, Danny Meyer, Darren Mueller, James Mann: reeds; Neal Bushaw, Lindy Vanlandingham, Johanna Rubsam, Mike Woodard: trombone; Justin Pfeifer: piano; Gonzalo Teppa: bass; Ryan Hayden: drums. Tracks 4-6 : Rajewski, Woods (6), Dan Isbell, Gabe Mervine (4, 5), Erinn Bone, Brian Margrave: trumpet; Mueller, Mann, Kurtis Adams, Andy Rosenberg, Serafin Sanchez: reeds; Rubsam, Dave Wiske, John Nuerohr, Scott Olson: trombone; Andy Nevala: piano; Teppa: bass; Tyler Hornby: drums.

Title: CU Over the Rainbow | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: UCO


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Code Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Mount Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Mount Meander
by John Sharpe
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties" CD/LP/Track Review The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.